By MARINELLA LENTIS
For The Catholic Week
MONTGOMERY — When it comes to putting into action the corporal works of mercy, the St. Vincent de Paul Society is on the forefront of serving our brothers and sisters in need.
Members of the Holy Spirit Conference of the SVDP Society in Montgomery have been helping the less fortunate for more than three years. They hope to continue to do that in the years to come as membership increases and they work together with other parishes and churches.
Members of the SVDP do many different things and serve all of Montgomery, independently of where clients live or of the religion they practice. They help pay bills, provide furniture items, heaters or fans, take people to the doctor, cook for them or drive them to the food bank to shop.
Additionally, they take food to about 30 families every Thursday and visit just as many once a month. In 2017, they received 25 names from the Department of Human Resources in addition to the families they serve year-round. In 2018 they received names from Montgomery Community Action, DHR and Family Promise.
In the last three years, the SVDP has given Thanksgiving baskets to more than 140 families in need and has filled them with canned good collected by students from all Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School campuses and turkeys donated by parishioners. Homeschool children, teens preparing for confirmation and Catholic Young Adults have all helped in packing and delivering the boxes.
The society has between 30 to 40 people. A few are in charge of the food bank and ensure it’s always stocked, while others go out and make the visits. Once a month, they also go to Seton Haven, a retirement/assisted living facility and provide cake and punch for birthday parties. Sometimes they are able to help clients while other times they make referrals to other agencies who might be better able to serve them. No matter what the scenario is, members of the society always go to the people in need and pray with them.
For Gloria Worthington being able to serve others has been the most rewarding aspect of SVDP.
“Being able to help people and provide for them, knowing that we can find somebody and that we can help them, that you can serve, that’s the blessing for me,” she stated.
Also, she finds great encouragement in seeing the joy in people’s faces and in their responses when she asks if they can pray together.
“When I asked the lady in the family I help, she responded ‘Absolutely! And I pray for you all the time as well.’ It’s just a joy, it’s a joy to be able to serve,” she added.
SVDP depends on the generosity of people and has received both monetary donations and donations of specific items such as food, blankets, sleeping bags, through a call for help in churches’ bulletins and through the collection boxes located in most churches.
In an effort to grow membership, SVDP will host an orientation and information meeting from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 in the parish hall at Holy Spirit Parish. A light lunch will be provided.