You Were the Light
William, North County resident, had injured his arm and was unable to work. Without the use of his arm, cooking was a difficult task for him, too. This new confined way of life sent William into a deep depression and eventually he had to be hospitalized for emotional care. Unaware that his situation had become so dire, his extended family stepped in to help and reached out to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
What makes the help SVdP provides different? The home visit. Vincentian volunteers visited William at his apartment and saw that he needed food, furniture, a new mattress and air conditioning. “All he had was a broken couch and loveseat . . . and a hole in the wall where his air conditioning once was,” said the visiting volunteers.
The Vincentian volunteers made several visits and was sure William was provided with what he needed to get back on track – including a new air conditioning unit. And, they believe their visits made a difference, too. Once withdrawn and non-responsive, William is now happier and even gives hugs.
Who made this all happen? You did! You gave help and hope. Your support makes a life-changing difference to our Neighbors in Need.
Another Chance… Because of You
Karen is a devoted mother of three children, one of which suffers from brain injuries. She lost her job last year when need to take care of one of the pneumonia-stricken children who required surgery for other issues, too. Then, Karen needed hip surgery. And so, the family suffered setbacks paying bills and maintaining the family car which was in dire need of repairs. Without a working car, Karen was unable to get to the supermarket or to doctor appointments.
Thank you for your donations on behalf of Karen and her family . . . Karen’s bills are now current, and she has a repaired and working car. You made a real difference to this family in need!
Your support is a “life jacket” for those who need it
Here’s a beautiful thank you letter from one of the Neighbors you helped:
“I just want to first of all thank God for all the blessings in my life.
I’m quite sure these last few weeks of my life have been the hardest I’ve had as yet, however I have learned the lesson of how important it is to be thankful. I think I sometimes forget how great my life actually is. I want to thank Jesus Christ for bringing Saint Vincent De Paul into my family’s life and showing more compassion to us than I thought imaginable. I do not have a single person to rely on other than my husband and when things get tough in my life, I can only ask God for help and guidance. He brought you all into my family’s life and literally threw us a life jacket because we were sinking, I’m a strong swimmer but my strength is not infinite.
I prayed for help and got it!
Thank you and all the people who have assisted my family in my time of need. I will never forget your help and how much God must love me.”
A New Start…Thanks to You
Imagine losing your job for visiting a loved one in the hospital. That is what happened to Beau when his wife Anna was in a horrible accident. Anna was thrown from her car, went through her windshield, and hit a tree. She has already had multiple surgeries but unfortunately still has several more to go. With the loss of Beau’s income, and hospital bills on top of their rent and utilities, Anna and her husband could not see a way out of their predicament. Because of you, Anna and Beau were able to start over and catch up on payments. Beau got a job with MODOT and they can now get back to focusing on the important things in life, like Anna’s health.
YOU WERE THERE IN A TIME OF NEED
Caroline is a young, single mother of a three-year-old. Though the father helps when he can, she does not receive legally derived child support. Caroline lost her job a few months ago and has since found employment with a gas station as well as a winery where she waits tables. While she was out of work, she fell behind on her rent and electric bills. Even with her new jobs she was still struggling to make payment-until she received help from you. You ensured that Caroline got herself back on track to care for her child.
A BRIGHTER FUTURE THANKS TO YOU
A much-needed surgery disrupted the life and work of a Neighbor in Need, Leon. But with physical therapy, he was able to increase his days of work to three a week. Leon’s wife is working, but without two full incomes and a significant car repair bill, there wasn’t enough money to pay rent. Because of you, this couple can rest easy knowing their rent was paid. With the car repair bill behind them and current on their rent, the future looks much brighter. Leon is confident he will return to full time again shortly. You helped them out in a crisis.
YOU PROVIDED DISASTER RELIEF RIGHT HERE AT HOME
After fleeing hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico, Angela and her two children relocated to Troy, Missouri, finding respite in the care of a loving friend. After finding a secure job, Angela and her family were eager to step out on their own but needed help to secure an apartment deposit and first-month’s rent to get their feet on the ground. Your support meant security and well-being! Angela and her children had lost everything but gained a fresh start in a new home. Thank you!
You Came To The Rescue
A hard-working family found themselves in a bind when their only working car broke down. To save money, they tried fixing the car themselves but to no avail . . . and the money needed for the expert car repair exceeded their income. We often need the assistance of others. And with your help, this couple’s car is once again dependable, and they can now get to-and-from to work to support themselves and their small child.
Your compassion brought hope and a safe place to live
Kathleen and her grown son suffer from mental issues for which they are on disability and getting counseling. Their current living situation, unfortunately, only added to their life challenges. The apartment they lived in was in a dangerous neighborhood . . . and to top it off, the landlord was unable to fix needed repairs. Kathleen found a good, new place in which she and her son could live – a private home in a quiet and safe neighborhood. All she needed was the deposit to secure their new home. Your gift granted this mother and son the stability they need to face life’s challenges with hope.
Your kindness made the difference...
All it takes is a couple of bad life decisions and negative surroundings to get life off track. Sheila realized this, and three years ago she bravely moved her family to a better place, got a job and turned her life around. She and her four children were surviving, but one unexpected financial “surprise” would make it challenging for them. Then, the unexpected did happen: a broken water heater and needed car repairs. Your kindness helped this good and loving mother continue to provide for her growing family.
Can you envision not being able to repair your car?
Imagine dealing with your very own health issues and still responsible for the oversight and attention to your 101-year-old grandmother . . . in addition to the care of a grandson who lives with you four-days a week while his parents work odd hours to keep their heads above water. A non-working car makes it impossible to get treatments for your own medical needs and to continue the care of the family who depends on you. But your generosity made it possible for this family. Through the Saint Vincent de Paul Car Repair Program, a repaired and now-working vehicle made all the difference in their daily lives.
Being A Parent Can Be Tough
Jason is on disability because of a work related back injury. After resolving a custody issue regarding his 12-year-old son, he fell behind on his rent and his electric bill. Jason now has permanent custody of his son and, because of you, two months of back rent has been paid and he is caught up on his utility bill. Because of a very reasonable rent on his trailer in Foley, his disability payment will allow him to adequately provide for him and his son going forward.
IT’S HARD TO ASK FOR HELP, ISN’T IT?
Can you imagine the cost of an unexpected power surge?
Turning a House Into a Home
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.
Do You Believe in Miracles?
Hard Work Recognized
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.
Can you imagine your child living out of your car?
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.
Homelessness has Been Averted
Thank you for your gift of faith
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...
Brandi and her daughters are safe
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.”
Phyllis said simply and powerfully, “Thank you!”
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.
Life Saving Assistance
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.
A Bright Future
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.
Reliable Transportation Again
Can you imagine Christmas after losing your home?
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.
A Good Start
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.
Time to Recover
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.
Electricity Restored, Kindness Extended
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.
Your help continues to make a difference
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.
"I feel like I am 16 again"
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.
Back to Work
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
To serve the poor is to go to God.
– St. Vincent de Paul