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Helping Neighbors Starts at Home

Family in Need Moves from Despair to Hope

June 1, 2015

For Vincentian volunteers, helping neighbors starts at home. This includes rural settings, where Vincentians cover a wider area. For SVDP conferences like Sacred Heart in Troy, Mo., the food pantry is where Vincentians first come into contact with those in need from all over the county.

“In Lincoln County, it’s not always obvious where people are living in poverty, said Susan Kallash-Bailey, Sacred Heart’s Conference President. “In a rural community, you don’t always see the need.”

The pantry serves 300 people per month who are not only in need of food, but also utility assistance, help with transportation and prescription medications, and more.

The food pantry is where Susan first met Heather and Chris, whose family was one of the first to benefit from SVDP’s Bridges Fund.

Heather and Chris had big plans when they moved to Troy with their two children, including making needed renovations to their home and raising goats to sell goat milk products. But within months of moving in, they faced a major setback: their well pump stopped working. They had no water until they could get it replaced, which would cost $2,000.

To make matters worse, they had been struggling to book events for their part-time karaoke business, their only other source of income. They simply could not afford a new pump. For four months, the family got water from friends’ homes and collected rainwater but hesitated to get help.

“We used to be able to do things on our own,” Chris said. “We’d rather help other people than ask for help for ourselves.”

Photo by Sid Hastings.

A friend convinced the couple to visit Sacred Heart’s food pantry. Heather shed tears of joy when Susan told her that SVDP’s Bridges Fund could help cover half the cost.

“I was stunned when I first found out they could help us,” Heather said. “I couldn’t even talk for five minutes or so.”

The Bridges Fund empowers Vincentians to create solutions that address extenuating emergency cases. The direct assistance provided by the fund helps recipients likeHeather and Chris avoid becoming trapped in a cycle of poverty. Without water, the couple faced a potentially life-threatening situation, and could not sustain their goat milk business for a steady stream of income.

Heather and Chris now have a bright future ahead of them. Their new business means they’ll have a reliable source of income to build a good life for their children.

To learn more about contributing to the Bridges Fund, contact Anne Kirwan, Development Officer, at 314.881.6024, or

Editor’s Note: The Society respects our neighbors’ confidentiality. If you would like information about Heather and Chris' karaoke business, contact Emily Becherer, Development and Marketing Coordinator, at (314) 881-6035. 

Photos by Sid Hastings. 

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