Members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are dedicated to helping the poor and disadvantaged in our area. Members visit Neighbours-in-Need in their homes and help with food and clothing vouchers. We also request beds and furniture from our warehouse which are delivered free of charge. From time to time, we are able to assist people to pay ultility bills. Most imporantly we listen to people when we visit.
We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6:30 pm in the Decker room (or the parish hall if it is free). Members go out on visits in pairs Monday to Friday.
In order to volunteer, there is an application process to become a member, which includes an application form asking for the name and address of three references. In addition, there is a criminal record check which the conference pays for. Lastly, there is an interview and a covenant form. All paperwork is then sent to the Central office and then the member is invited to an Orientation session, after which he/she gets a pin and a certificate.
Barbara Bobb is the contact person and may be reached through the Parish Office by email or 416-926-7110. St. Vincent de Paul also has a direct line at 416-926- 3100 ext. 3468.
The following are composites of some of the life experiences of our Neighbours-in-Need (NIN). We have obscured their identities to protect their dignity and to observe strict confidentiality. They are offered as insights in to the people that we serve and support through your generosity.
Sally is fragile. A lifetime of bad luck and tough circumstances caught up with her when her latest partner started to beat her shortly after they hooked up. She escaped twice only to be tracked down and cornered in a situation that left her totally vulnerable. She suffered more abuse only to escape once more, this time to a protective woman’s shelter. Albeit bare bones and very basic, the accommodation behind triple locked doors means that she can finally sleep at night. She has no luxuries. She can barely get necessities. Nonetheless, she expresses enormous gratitude for the little help that we are able to provide. “Without Saint Vincent de Paul, I don’t know what I’d do….”
A $ 50 food voucher goes a long way.
Nick has health problems. Diagnosed with diabetes four years ago, and buffeted by several unrelated ailments, Nick’s sight has deteriorated, and his physical abilities have declined to the point where he can barely hold down a pencil, much less a job. He lives in community housing where he gets shelter for nominal rent but there is little leftover for the drugs and food that he needs. He has no family. He struggles to get by. He knows that his prospects are limited. He is ever so grateful for the little bit of solace that we are able to provide.
Sometimes a chat and a food voucher go a long way.
Loxley is a recovering drug addict. His dependency led him to a life of petty crime and jail time with just enough time in between to father a now 4-year-old daughter. Now determined to get his life going in a better direction, he is trying to hold down 3 part-time and contract jobs, 2 of which he had to do for free to prove that he was trustworthy. He is barely scraping by, and trying his best to save up enough money to see his daughter who lives outside the city with her mother. He has hope and is determined to do better. The little that we are able to offer him helps him to believe that someone cares.
A $ 50 food voucher goes a long way.
When I first arrived at St. Basil’s, I had the impression I imagine most people have: that St. Basil’s exists in an affluent part of the city. In many ways this is true, but I have been shocked at the level of poverty which exists alongside such wealth.
The members of SVDP are unsung heroes who live out the Gospel with great courage and compassion. They go out in twos and threes to meet people where they are at; and their efforts are tireless! I realize not everyone can do what they do; but we all have a responsibility to help our neighbours in need.
If you are not able to volunteer, then I want to encourage you to offer some financial assistance. Donations are made directly to SVDP at the same address as the parish. As you can tell by these testimonials, even a small amount brings a great deal of comfort.
Last year, because of your generosity, the St. Basil’s Conference of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society made 1301 individual visits to NIN homes, distributing $ 69,292 in food, beds, furniture and clothing aid, and extraordinary help such as emergency dental work and prescription drug support. Conversations are free, engaging and often provide real reciprocal value. Within our parish boundaries, in a parish as wealthy as ours, the need is all around us. We have nearly no administrative costs, except postage to pay our suppliers and to issue tax receipts. 99.5% of every dollar donated is distributed. We are all volunteers and we can’t thank you enough for your support.