Sandwiches and shoes; these two things are often associated with The Basilica’s St. Vincent de Paul ministries. And indeed, these are two important aspects of our daily outreach that meet the immediate needs of those struggling in our community. A donation of $1.00 to our St. Vincent de Paul pays for a sandwich and a cup of coffee handed out at the rectory door to someone that might otherwise go without a meal.
I know this comparison is probably overused but as someone that indulges in her fair share of lattes, $1.00 for a sandwich and a cup of coffee is pretty powerful when you consider that it is difficult to leave Starbucks without spending at least $5.00.
And if sandwiches and shoes were all that St. Vincent de Paul did, it would be an inspiring program. But what continues to amaze me about this ministry is that it is so much more than sandwiches and shoes. Not only is St. Vincent de Paul providing emergency assistance, it is building bridges, providing dignified support to our brothers and sisters in need, and creating a common good.
This past year the St. Vincent de Paul mentoring program had 21 mentors that provided more than 800 hours of 1-on-1 mentoring to students at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). This partnership helps students who struggle with homelessness by expanding networks for career development, improving opportunities for success, and providing scholarships upon completion of the program.
This past month a refugee family arrived in Minneapolis. St. Vincent de Paul is providing safe housing and everyday supplies for a family of six, as they emigrate from a refugee camp in Kenya.
This past week, and almost every week, StreetSong-MN, a choir comprised of people currently or formerly homeless and those who care about them, come together to unite voices and create community.
And every so often I am reminded first hand of the power St. Vincent de Paul has when someone comes to the Cowley Center looking for an ID or bus voucher. I can see the relief in their eyes that the answer is not “no we can’t help,” but simply they have arrived at the wrong building.
These are just a few ways that St. Vincent de Paul responded to more than 30,000 of our brothers and sisters in need in 2015.
This Lent, we ask you to consider a pledge to support our life-changing St. Vincent de Paul ministries. One hundred percent of your donation goes directly to support those in need.
Together, we can work to change the culture of poverty in our community. Please consider filling out a St. Vincent de Paul pledge form and mailing it in, dropping it in the collection basket, or you can also pledge online at mary.org/donate.