Written by Sunnie Lain, Vincentian Support Specialist
One morning recently, we were just getting ready to close the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, which is located in our Thrift Store building on Edwin C. Moses Boulevard. It had been a busy morning. Volunteers had distributed food to over 400 families that day and we were cleaning up and shutting down our computers for the day. I received a text message from our Thrift Store Office Manager asking me if there was any way that we could help one more person, because she had run into a woman in need of help. I told her to go ahead and send her in to me.
When the young woman came in and we sat down together to talk, she told me her story. She was in her late twenties and the mother of two young girls. Her relationship with the girls’ father, which had been stable for many years, had recently deteriorated and he had become abusive. She had fled with the girls and was now staying with family. She had left with nothing, and she didn’t know what to do. Her most pressing needs were clothing and food.
As I spoke with this young lady, it became evident that she had never experienced anything like this before. She didn’t know what services were available in the community or where to turn. I asked her how she knew to come to the pantry, and she replied, “I didn’t even know you had a pantry. I just knew that this was a St. Vincent de Paul store and that St. Vincent de Paul helps people”.
I just knew that St. Vincent de Paul helps people.
We went on to talk about her specific needs. When I mentioned that I could give her a clothing voucher so that she and her children could replace what they had left behind, she hesitated. “How much does that cost?” she asked. “Nothing—it’s free,” I replied.
At this point she broke down in tears.
I asked her what was upsetting her and she explained that the events of the past few weeks– the abusive situation she had fled and the fear that she had been feeling—had left her doubting that anyone cared for her. To her, this voucher represented more than just clothing. It represented hope that others do care for her and that there are good people who will assist her as she rebuilds her life.
What a blessing it is for those of us who work and volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul to be part of this mission that helps people. It is an amazing gift to be part of an organization that people know that they can come to in their most broken moments, because they “just know that St. Vincent de Paul helps people.”
Become a blessing to our community and support St. Vincent de Paul today.