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Helping Neighbors Starts at Home

Success Stories

IT’S HARD TO ASK FOR HELP, ISN’T IT?

October 2017

Margie has never received help before. But the single mother of a teenager broke her ankle last month and has had to stay off it, which means she could not work.

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Can you imagine the cost of an unexpected power surge?

September 2017

The Murrays can.

When there was a power surge in their trailer, they lost several appliances, two air conditioner units and an electric 40-gallon hot water heater. 

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Turning a House Into a Home

August 2017

Simone, her husband, and 3 young children were living in a homeless shelter until they began working with St. Patrick’s Center, a Catholic Charities organization that helps with homelessness. St. Patrick Center placed the family in a small home in Breckenridge Hills, but the family had no furniture.

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Do You Believe in Miracles?

July 2017

Linda Gerber has seen a lot over her 30 years as a landlord. But she’s never seen the kind of generosity you have shown her tenant, Nikki.

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Hard Work Recognized

July 2017 

Ralph had worked at a local aluminum company for nearly two decades. But melting aluminum caused him to lose lung capacity. When the symptoms became too much to bear, he saw a doctor who told him he could no longer work at his job if he wanted to survive.  

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Can you imagine your child living out of your car?

June 2017

That’s what happened to Grace. Her parents had been married for 15 years. One day, her mother wanted out of the marriage and told her and her father they were no longer allowed to live in the home they rented. Grace’s father found a trailer to rent, but needed first and last month’s rent. Until your gift, they were living in her dad’s truck.

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Homelessness has Been Averted

May 2017

Imagine living in a home with 4 children and no running water. That was Jerry and Denise’s reality. Because of an unexpected expense, they fell behind on their water bill. 

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Thank you for your gift of faith

April 2017

This month, we received a note from Dan, who lives in Dittmer:

Friday, March 10th, 2017, I drove home a 2007 Honda Fit which was provided for me by the Grace of God through the love of all of you...

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Brandi and her daughters are safe

March 2017

Brandi has two of the cutest little girls you will ever meet: three-year-old Danielle and two-year-old Sarah. Last year, Brandi and the girls were living in an apartment that became infested with rats and mice, and the landlord stopped paying for the utilities. “I had to protect my children,” Brandi remembers. “We had to get out of there.”

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Phyllis said simply and powerfully, “Thank you!”

March 2017 

On a January night 46 years ago, Phyllis walked into a bar in the Central West End and met a guy named Bob. He told her that night that he would marry her. Phyllis had a feeling he was right. Five months later, they were engaged.

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Life Saving Assistance

February 2017

Can you imagine living in a house on the largest hill overlooking Laguna Beach, California and waking up to the sounds of the ocean? How about loving your fast-paced job and enjoying the perks of your hard work over the years, while helping others? Scott Strack did just that until he ended up in the middle of a five-car pileup on the freeway.

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A Bright Future

January 2017 

Dale never asked for anything, including help after a series of car accidents. But she mentioned her pain after Mass one day and a parishioner directed her to the pharmacy program at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

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Reliable Transportation Again

December 2016

Recently, we received this thank you note from an older woman who was helped by Vincentian volunteers at St. Richard in Creve Coeur.

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Can you imagine Christmas after losing your home?

December 2016

Charlotte and her husband, Ed, had lost hope.They are both amputees from separate accidents earlier in their lives, and they both had worked hard to earn enough money to buy a home and they were proud that they had never asked for help.

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A Good Start

November 2016

When Virginia reached out to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the electricity had been turned off in her home. She was starting a new job the next week and the young mother said she needed a little help to get over the hump.

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Time to Recover

October 2016

Natalie is a hardworking mother who is dedicated to helping her children succeed. After experiencing tough times in her life, she earned her GED and found a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Striving to provide more for her children, Natalie decided to pursue certification to be an EKG Technician and Phlebotomist. She was proud of the life she was able to provide for her children.

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Electricity Restored, Kindness Extended

September 2016 

We received a handwritten note this month from a neighbor who had worked for the post office for 20 years. She left to start her own business and put her heart, soul and retirement money into making it work. Her business failed and now, as one who had never asked for help, Rhonda needed your help.

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Your help continues to make a difference

August 2016

Back in 1937, Nancy was just a year old. She was the fifth of sixth children. Her father worked for the railroad and her mother raised their children. That year, her father died of cancer at age 42. There was no social security or railroad pension then, and Nancy’s mother had to find help quickly to keep food on the table. She reached out to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at St. Luke’s parish in Richmond Heights. 

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"I feel like I am 16 again"

July 2016 

Chelsea is a single mother who works as a restaurant in rural St. Genevieve County. She and her seven-year-old daughter live six miles down a gravel road from the main road. When Chelsea’s car broke down, she couldn’t take her daughter to school, go to the grocery store or get to work without asking family and friends for a ride. She also couldn’t take on extra shifts at the restaurant, so her employer stopped offering them to her and eventually cut her hours.

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Back to Work

June 2016 

Martin ran a successful window washing business until he fell ill. He had to put work on hold as medical bills piled up. Without income from his business, he could barely afford to stay in his home and put food on the table, let alone pay for the doctor visits. Thinking he would never work again, Martin sold his truck to make ends meet.

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Crisis Averted

April 2, 2016

After divorcing her abusive husband, it took Elle a little while to get back on her feet. Thankfully, she had a good job and soon found a decent apartment for her and her two sons (ages three and nine). 

All that changed when Elle stopped receiving child support. Soon she fell behind on rent and utility bills and came home to an eviction notice on her door. 

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Comforts of Home Restored

February 22, 2016

When Pam’s home was condemned, she and her six-year-old daughter had to flee quickly. They stayed with Pam’s mother for several days while Pam found a new apartment for her and her daughter.

Pam returned to their old home to find that their landlord had thrown all of their furniture and belongings on the street, and their mattresses had been stolen. Having used up her savings to pay the first and last month’s rent for the new apartment, Pan could not afford new beds for her and her daughter. 

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A Safe Home

January 21, 2016

At 87, Joe had saved up for years to put his wife Betty, who suffers from dementia, into a nursing home where she could live safely while receiving the medical care she needed.

When Joe finally got Betty settled into the memory care facility, the weight of caring for her was off his shoulders, but soon another heavy burden came down on him. 

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After Floodwaters Recede, Vincentians Stay

January 21, 2016

Last month, hundreds of St. Louisans in Valley Park, Fenton, Eureka, Arnold, St. Charles, and Jefferson and Franklin County were suddenly forced from their homes by floods, returning to find everything--their homes, their possessions, their memories--washed away.

Thankfully, Vincentian volunteers are there--and will continue to be there--to help them rebuild.

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A Concerned Principal Calls for Help

December 2, 2015

One day, Tara’s principal overheard Tara talking to a classmate about how there were no beds in her aunt’s home, and it was hard for her to focus in class because she got little sleep at night on the floor. Moved with pity, the principal contacted the family’s local SVDP conference at Our Lady of the Rosary parish. 

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Safe and Warm

November 10, 2015

Vincentians from St. Stephen Protomartyr conference first visited disabled veteran Jeff to deliver some food. When they entered Jeff’s small home, they found out Jeff lived exclusively in his living room—in fact, he had hung up area rugs to cover the doorways leading out of the room. Jeff explained that since he only lived on disability payments, he couldn’t afford to run his heater or air conditioner, and the area rugs kept the room warm in the winter and cool in the summer. He rarely, if ever, could use the other rooms in his home.

As temperatures drop this time of year, people in need like Jeff are struggling to remain safe and comfortable in their homes. No one should have to suffer through the winter—or any season, for that matter—without a dignified place to live.

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Relief and Recovery

October 23, 2016

When 72-year-old Julia’s daughter died, Julia’s life turned upside down. She ached after the loss of her daughter, but she ached even more for her four young grandchildren, who suddenly had nowhere to go. 

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Off to a Great Start

September 6, 2015

Imagine finishing up your first day of school without a home to return to: No kitchen table to sit around with your family, no place to get ready for bed, nowhere to rest up before the next school day.

Eight-year-old Jill was at risk of experiencing this as her first day of second grade approached. 

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A Neighbor Says, "I Am Thankful."

August 2, 2015

Last month, Vincentian volunteers from North County received the following heart-felt thank you note from seven-year-old Jessica, who was blessed with a bed of her own through the Society’s Beds for Our Neighbors in Need program.

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A Neighbor in Need Beats the Heat

July 14, 2015

Months after losing her husband to cancer, Jenni suffered another major blow: Her air conditioner broke down and needed major repairs. Without her husband’s income, Jenni barely had enough to make ends meet, let alone pay $2,000 to have her air conditioner fixed.

As summer—and Jenni’s tiny apartment—began to heat up, Jenni’s life was at risk. 

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Family in Need Moves from Despair to Hope

 

June 1, 2015

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. 

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.”

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A Good Prognosis for a Neighbor in Need

May 11, 2015

When Cindy was diagnosed with glaucoma, she and her husband Bill knew they could never afford the eye drops she needed. Both in their seventies, their only income came from social security and disability benefits. They could barely afford Bill’s medications for seizures, chronic pain and hypertension, and Cindy had stopped taking some of her other medications to save on costs months ago.

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On the Up and Up

May 4, 2015

Single mother Dana of Festus wanted more than anything to provide a better life for her children, ages six and eight, but her lack of transportation kept her trapped in a cycle of poverty.

If she only had a car she could take a second job so she could afford to pay rent and provide for her children. She could take her daughter, who was born with a heart condition, to her doctor appointments in St. Louis. She could spend more time with her children in the evenings instead of coming home at night exhausted from making the three mile trek from work.

When she came home to an eviction notice on the front door, she knew it was time to reach out for help and called her local SVDP conference.

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Healing and Hope for Ferguson Neighbors

April 23, 2015

For the Keys family, the trouble started when Jason got sick.

“I just couldn’t work my usual schedule, so they let me go.”

Jason, 26, and Erin had been raising their three little girls (ages 8, 6, and 2) in a quiet middle-class neighborhood in their hometown of Ferguson, Missouri. Jason’s job at FedEx was dependable with good benefits—until he fell ill in a year and a half ago and they laid him off.

“I just couldn’t land another solid job, and the bills started to pile up," Jason said. "Christmas was coming. It was a real rough patch.”

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A Bright Future for a Neighbor in Need

April 8, 2015

With her bills piling up, single mother Maggie could not afford the anti-seizure medications she needed to maintain a high quality of life. She dreamt of a better life for her and her 6-year-old daughter, but without her medications she couldn’t hold down a job or attend school. Maggie applied for Medicaid, but the longer she waited to hear if she’d be approved, the more she worried she became about whether she’d be able to get the medicines she needed to stay healthy.

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A Family Staves Off The Cold

March 31, 2015

When you are cold—very cold—you will do just about anything to get warm. When a local family was desperate one blustery day, Vincentian John from St. Anthony Parish in High Ridge came to the rescue.

John originally called on the family to respond to their request for help with an electric bill. He learned the family was heating their home with their oven because their furnace needed repairs. There was also mildew on the walls—a result of the family venting their dryer inside for additional heat.

Unfortunately, this family’s story is not uncommon. If a family or individual is past due on utility bills when the weather turns cold, they may take drastic measures—keeping the heat dangerously low or improvising another heat source—to save money. This can quickly become a life or death situation.

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)

February 26, 2015

When single mother Amelia lost her home last winter, she could not take anything with her—not even her family’s beds. Because Amelia’s two sons—one with sickle cell anemia and one with autism—require special care, she can only work part time and has trouble making ends meet. She sleeps on the cold floor, and her sons sleep on floor mats.

Getting a good night’s sleep became increasingly difficult for her and her boys as temperatures began to drop. She noticed her older would get out of bed still exhausted after each restless night, and she was having trouble keeping up with her duties at her job as a receptionist. When her son came home from school with a note from his teacher saying he'd fallen asleep in class twice that day, she knew she and her family needed help--now. 

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To serve the poor is to go to God.

– St. Vincent de Paul