Society of St. Vincent de Paul
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Society of St. Vincent de Paul www.ssvpedmonton.ca
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP) is a charitable organization run entirely by volunteers who provide assistance to those in need by distributing items donated by the public. Each month we respond to 1200 SSVP Hotline calls for help in the Edmonton area. We go out in pairs to visit these people in need, in their home or their motel, or even a drop-in centre.
At the visit, we listen carefully to their story, and listen in a non-judgmental way. Often these are tough stories of mental or physical illness, injury, addictions, family breakdown, or just bad decisions. We give a hand up to people in need, allowing them to retain their dignity and pride as they struggle in difficult situations. In the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, we try to live by the words of our Lord in Matthew 25: “… I was hungry and you gave me to eat…., just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me….”
Once the needs have been assessed to the best of our limited abilities, we do our best to provide basic necessities. This may include furniture and household goods (delivered at no cost), clothing, emergency groceries, and limited financial assistance. We may provide bus tickets to get to work or to appointments. We offer Information on community resources. If appropriate, we make referrals to other agencies and government services for counselling and other forms of assistance. We advocate for our friends-in-need and offer moral support.
St. Vincent de Paul operates a clothing room where those in need can obtain free clothing five days a week. Currently, an average of 30 to 40 people come each day, and can access this outlet once a month. At this time of year there is a huge demand for winter coats, boots, mitts, and other winter wear. Many who come are new immigrants or those struggling to make ends meet. Some are homeless people who may be living outdoors, or sleep at shelters overnight. They come to the clothing room needing warm/dry clothing, socks and footwear. We also give them small toiletry kits.
All of the SSVP operations are run out of a small warehouse in the downtown area. This small distribution centre serves the whole city, and here donations of used furniture and clothing are inventoried for redistribution to those needing the basics. An ever-increasing need for assistance to new immigrants, the homeless, and those who have fallen on hard times means that we require more space for intake, sorting, repurposing and storage of donations.
The Society has been searching for new space the last few years. Ideally, a facility of up to 10,000 sq. ft., heated and largely open would work well. A north of the river location, outside the downtown core, is most central for volunteers and clients coming for clothing needs, but any location would be considered that is not too distant for efficient travel. Our challenge in finding a place is that the price has to be affordable. As an entirely non-profit group, we are calling on those who might have ideas or resources to help us find a larger place where we can continue to assist those in need.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a registered charity and will provide tax receipts. If you have any questions, please call us at 780 471 -5577, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For assistance or if you wish to donate furniture or household goods, call us at 780 471-5577. Our Edmonton website is www.ssvpedmonton.ca.