Using our Blessings: The Society of Saint Vincent DePaul
Dear Parish Family,
As we again approach the Thanksgiving Holiday, my thoughts turn to a quote from W.T. Purkiser (a noted 20th Century writer, scholar and Christian Evangelist) who asserted “Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” Never have these words rung so true to me as they do right now as we all continue to battle the overwhelming challenges associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic.
To this end, on behalf of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul ministry here at Saint John the Evangelist, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and Catholic stewardship, I am asking each of you to “use your blessings” by providing financial support to those in need right here in Naples.
Throughout 2020, COVID-19 has been an obstacle that effects everyone. Families in our community that would not normally need our help have found themselves facing unimaginable financial challenges due to an invisible enemy. In fact, over the past year our ministry has directly served over 110 families made up of 271 of our neighbors (including 133 children) by providing more than $68,000 in rent and utility assistance along with another $21,000 in gift cards used for gasoline, food and necessary consumer goods. $14,000 in assistance was used to help fund the St. Vincent DePaul Naples Food Pantry while another $14,000 was sent to help less fortunate conferences (such as St. Elizabeth) within our Naples St. Vincent DePaul Council Area. In total, our cash disbursements were $119,433.87 with donations totaling $130,267.96. In addition, our St John’s SVdP 2019 Thanksgiving Food Drive and various food collections during Covid-19 provided the Food Pantry with another $15,000. Once again, our conference incurred extremely low operating expenses of $250 for the entire fiscal year.
2020 is nearing its end, but our challenges continue as government stimulus and eviction moratoriums have already ended for many of our neighbors. However, without your support our ministry cannot exist. Please give as generously as you can to help provide food, keep our neighbors in their homes, and provide limited counseling to help these families both preserve dignity and start moving on a path towards financial security. Beyond financial support, we also have a need for volunteers to join us as front-line Vincentians directly serving our neighbors in need. Please seek me out at email@example.com to inquire how you can be a part of this exciting and critical effort.
As always, I extend gratitude for all you have done in the past to support our ministry. Please do your best to ensure that our work within the Naples Community continues by generously contributing to the Special Thanksgiving/St. Vincent de Paul collection and envelope/online giving.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas,
President -St. John the Evangelist Conference
The Society of St. Vincent DePaul, Naples