St. Vincent de Paul - August 2018

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With the skyrocketing cost of rent in Sacramento County, many families are forced to cut corners in order to afford to keep a roof over their heads. Vincentians, or members, from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) make home visits to local families to learn what individuals need and how the organization can help. Sometimes they find that children are sleeping in sleeping bags on the floor because mattresses are expensive. That’s why SVdP is proud to offer vouchers for new mattresses from the SVdP Thrift Store & Resource Center.

When Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) opened Refugee Resettlement Services (RRS) they reached out to SVdP and the thrift store about providing beds to refugee families. SVdP was excited to participate and has offered a very generous gift of mattress vouchers since the opening of RRS in 2015. This year, SVdP gave SFBFS $8,000 in mattress vouchers for refugee families! When asked why they feel it’s important to help newcomer families, Judy Dietlein, president of the Sacramento Diocesan Council of SVdP, said “The partnership is a natural fit…Any organization where your purpose is to help the poor or those in need doesn’t work alone.”

In actuality, SVdP does much more than just provide beds to local families in need. The SVdP Thrift Store & Resource Center employs community members who may not otherwise have access to employment, helping workers grow and get even better jobs. After a home visit, Vincentians often provide a range of food, financial assistance for rent or utilities, clothing and furniture to help families meet their basic needs. With a mission to grow in faith and holiness of members, Vincentians say they see the face of Christ in the poor and find purpose in helping those in need. In answering why it’s important to help refugee families in Sacramento, Judy said, “When a need arises, if we can fill it, then we’re there.”

SFBFS resettled 151 individuals last year. Most of these newcomers are Special Immigrant Visa holders from Afghanistan. This means they typically worked as interpreters helping American troops overseas and were put in grave danger because of their association with the US. Refugee Resettlement Services finds an apartment and works to furnish it before picking the family up at the airport. The mattress vouchers donated by St. Vincent de Paul ensure that each family SFBFS resettles will have a cozy place to sleep as they become Sacramentans.

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