January is poverty awareness month. Poverty is not a catch phrase. It is a serious thing that many are living. Over 40 million people live below the poverty line in the United States. Everyone is invited to respond to the needs of those who are most vulnerable. "Whatever you did for one of these least of my brothers of mine, you did for me," (Matthew 25:40).
Every day there are people who are praying for a miracle – just an everyday miracle – like a hot meal, a prescription filled, a warm bed or a decent pair of shoes. You can help.
Dining Room Volunteers– Help with our meal service at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room.
Pharmacy Volunteers– We have a volunteer job for you helping us with our Fill A Prescription for the Needy effort.
Manna Givers- We need individuals or groups who can bring in a purchased or prepared supper once a month for our homeless guests.
Book and Collectible Volunteers– Help us sort and organize donated books and antiques. In addition, we need help organizing clothing/shoe donations for needy families at St. Vincent de Paul Stores throughout our community!
Many Other Volunteer Opportunities–Waiting Just for YOU-Visit us at svdpbr.org and sign-up for one of many heavenly volunteer experiences at St. Vincent de Paul.
Visit us on Facebook at Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Baton Rouge (@svdpbatonrouge).
You can have a life with purpose by sharing the Gospel — Get involved with St. Vincent de Paul!
On the day before Thanksgiving, St. Vincent de Paul celebrated its ninth annual turkey carving contest. Community leaders that participated included: LSU Gymnastics Coach DD Breaux, Constable Reginald Brown, LSU Baseball Coach Paul Mainieri, Our Lady of the Late Vice-President Coletta Barrett, EBR Coroner Beau Clark, EBR District Attorney Hillar Moore, Council woman Tara Wicker, Olinde’s President Tom Olinde, CAUW President George Bell, Manship Media CFO Ralph Bender, EBR Chief Administrative Assistant Officer Rowdy Gaudet and EBR Parish Prison Warden Dennis Grimes. We are so thankful to all of these community leaders who came together to give of their time and talent and share the true spirit of Thanksgiving. All the contestants had a blast carving the turkeys, which are so important to our annual Thanksgiving Day meals served at our St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room and the Raising Cane’s River Center. This event is a way to get our turkeys carved, create community awareness about poverty and homelessness, and have some great fun at the same time.
The contest began with a few words from St. Vincent de Paul President & CEO Michael Acaldo. Then the carving and the fun began. DD Breaux, District Attorney Hillar Moore, and Coroner Beau Clark, all past carving champions, were ready and got off to a quick start. Hillar Moore always has a “surprise.” In the past, he has come dressed as Superman, a Duck Dynasty actor, showed up with a futuristic lighted carving knife – just to name a few of his antics. But this year, he decided to honor Constable Reginald Brown and Holiday Helpers. He pulled out a lighted tribute to Constable Brown for the remarkable 30 years of Holiday Helpers.
For those of you who have never carved a turkey, you may not know that it takes a surprising amount of skill. Of course, this is a contest, so contestants were judged in a number of categories, which included categories such as: how much fun the contestant was having, how the turkey was presented after carving and, in St. Vincent de Paul’s “no waste tradition,” – how much meat was left on the bone. Of course, all our contestants are winners because they truly care about the less fortunate we are so blessed to serve. Based on our volunteer judges – Lois Smyth of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Jan Ross of the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation, and Community Volunteer Gayle Hutchinson, this year's results are: first place, LSU Gymnastics Coach DD Breaux; second place, Coroner Beau Clark; and third place District Attorney Hillar Moore.
2018 marks the 27th year of our annual Bishop Ott Shelter collection drive. WVLA, NBC-33, Fox 44, the Baton Rouge Clinic, and Home Bank are supporting this effort to provide much needed items for the homeless men, women, and children we serve. Through this annual effort, we collect items like toiletries, diapers, gloves, caps, and underwear for the homeless who come to our shelters. Our Bishop Ott Shelter Program has made a tremendous impact in the Capital Region by being a leader in providing shelter to men, women, and children. We see every day as another opportunity to provide a hand-up to someone who wants to break the cycle of homelessness.
Many people who are homeless don’t have a toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream, or deodorant, and when they come to our shelter, we provide these necessities. Dropping off one of these items at the Baton Rouge Clinic or at the Bishop Ott Shelter, located at 1623 Convention Street, can do so much for the self-esteem of someone who is at a low point in their lives. Our guests are very grateful for every item we provide, and these can truly be life-changing. A razor and shaving cream can make a world of difference when you’re applying for a job. For children, being neat and clean when they go to school means they can look forward to learning rather than dreading ridicule.
The expansion of our Sweet Dreams Shelter, which is now open, means we can serve more homeless individuals and families, but it also means that the need for these items is even greater.
Please consider donating a few of the items on the list below for our shelter guests. And help us get the word out about this collection drive and how important it is. Tell your family, friends, and co-workers. Spread the word through Facebook and social media. Get your church involved. Items can be dropped off at the Baton Rouge Clinic or the Bishop Ott Shelter. For more information, call (225) 383-7837, extension O. St. Vincent de Paul/Bishop Ott Shelter most needed items: blankets; disposable diapers; men, women and children’s underwear; socks; knit caps; gloves; scarves; reading glasses (all strengths); slippers; feminine hygiene products; towels and washcloths; toiletry items such as deodorant, soap, shampoo, body wash, lotion, and body powder; twin, and crib size sheets; paper products (napkins, paper towels, toilet paper); disposable cups, plates, bowls, knives, forks, and spoons; and rain gear.
At St. Vincent de Paul, we have one Christmas wish above all others: that every heart will be filled with the true meaning of Christ’s birth. As we celebrate this joyous occasion, we are reminded that His message of love and compassion lives on through us.
When we respond to a plea for help with an act of kindness, it is His hand that guides us. This year, we will service over 270,000 meals; provide over 30,000 guest nights of shelter; and fill prescriptions worth more than a million dollars. Each of these numbers represents a wish fulfilled and a triumph of faith over adversity.
When it comes to wishes, the kids we serve here at St. Vincent de Paul in the weeks leading up to Christmas are pretty typical. Children like Lix, the little girl in the photo, want bikes and dolls and video games; but there are also some things they don’t want. They don’t want to go to bed hungry; the don’t want to live in homes without heat; and they don’t want to worry about adult problems like lay-offs and eviction notices. The adults we serve - people like Liz’s mother - want things like steady jobs and enough income to buy food for themselves and their families, to pay rent and utilities, with a little left over for Christmas gifts. When a homeless mother has nothing to give her child buy love and a kiss, they must rely on others for everything else. Liz and her mother represent the thousands who have benefited from the kinds and generosity of our community.
We’ll do our best to make this Christmas Season a good one for as many people as possible. Our dining room will serve thousands of meals. Our shelters will provide warm beds to homeless men, women and children. Our community pharmacy will fill life-sustaining prescriptions. We hope you will add one more person to your Christmas life and ask you to consider making a gift online. If you can’t afford to give at this time, please pray for the poor and homeless we serve.
At St. Vincent de Paul, $1 will provide a hot meal; $10 will provide a night of shelter for a homeless family; and $28 will fill a life-sustaining prescription; so you can imagine what a difference a large gift can make. Any gift, no matter how small, will make a Christmas wish come true.
You can make Christmas Wishes come true in our community by giving online!
We are pleased to announce that WGMB Fox 44, WVLA Channel 33, and their family of stations have come together for the 27th year to support our Bishop Ott Shelter Program. They will again run an extensive collection drive for our shelters, collecting items for homeless men, women, and children.
All these items are critical to the people who come to us with little more than the clothes they are wearing. Things like toothbrushes, disposable razors, shaving cream, soap, and shampoo are so important to someone’s dignity and self-esteem, and without them, it’s impossible to make a good impression when you are trying to find a job.
A list of items appears below, you can collect these items and donate them by dropping them off at the St. Vincent de Paul main charitable campus at 220 St. Vincent de Paul Place. We’ll gladly get them to the homeless people who desperately need these items. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 383-7837, extension O.
St. Vincent de Paul/Bishop Ott Shelter most needed items:blankets; disposable diapers; men, women and children’s underwear; socks; knit caps; gloves; scarves; reading glasses (all strengths); slippers; towels and washcloths; toiletry items such as deodorant, soap, shampoo, body wash, lotion, and body powder; twin & crib size sheets; paper products (napkins, paper towels, toilet paper); disposable cups, plates, bowls, knives, forks, and spoons; and rain gear.
It’s hard to believe that we’re in year four of the Sylvia’s Toys for Christmas effort. Back in 2015, WBRZ’s Sylvia Weatherspoon contacted St. Vincent de Paul because she was concerned that poor and homeless children in our community might feel left out during this joyous Christmas season. From her desire to help needy children has grown a wonderful campaign. Through this campaign, thousands of toys have been collected, and thousands of needy kids have felt the love and compassion of our community.
Last year, Bishop Muench distributed over a thousand Christmas gifts to children at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room, and the smiles on their faces told everyone there just how important this effort is to children who have so little.
On behalf of needy children in our community, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to Sylvia Weatherspoon and WBRZ-Channel 2, as well as local Chick-fil-A restaurants who have signed up once again to help us collect toys for children in our community.
Please consider donating a gift for a needy child. You can buy a toy in the $10 to $20 range and drop it off at any St. Vincent de Paul or Chick-fil-A location (after Thanksgiving). If you’d rather make a financial contribution for the purchase of Christmas toys, you can do so by sending a check to St. Vincent de Paul at P. O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821 or by clicking here. Your support will help us to continue our tradition of bringing the Christmas spirit to the children in our shelters, as well as needy children throughout our community.
We thank everyone who has given in the past, and we hope you will join in this year’s effort.
In our nation, Thanksgiving originated as a harvest festival, a time of gratitude, and an opportunity to share nature’s bounty with family and friends. On this day, no one went hungry. So much has changed since that first Thanksgiving that our country would now be unrecognizable to those early settlers.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to share God’s blessings with the less fortunate. On this special holiday, as we gather around tables filled with turkey and dressing, our favorite casseroles, and mouth-watering desserts, most of us will begin the meal with a blessing. In that prayer, we hope you will remember the poor and homeless men, women, and children who will be coming to St. Vincent de Paul for their Thanksgiving meal.
On November 22nd, our volunteers will serve turkey with all the trimmings to hundreds of people who, unfortunately, have little to celebrate. Many of them are living in homes where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. Some of them have no homes. But on this day, they will all have a warm place to go and plenty to eat.
This year, our volunteers will be serving up a Thanksgiving meal at our Dining Room and will continue the Holiday Helpers’ tradition at the Raising Cane’s River Center. We will come together to ensure everyone in our community has a place to turn to on Thanksgiving Day, as well as everyday of the year. Sometimes, we are overwhelmed by the number of people who turn to St. Vincent de Paul for the nourishment they need. But these people are not numbers – they are real people in desperate need. We see their faces; we hear their stories. They are struggling to survive and must rely on the kindness of others to help them through this difficult time in their lives.
During the upcoming holiday season, there are many people who are wondering where their next meal is coming from. St. Vincent de Paul is the only community kitchen that is open every day of the year, providing a hot lunch and a brown bag supper daily. This year, we will serve over 270,000 meals. The lines at our dining room are long, and we can only meet the need with the help of generous people like you. The meals prepared at St. Vincent de Paul are served by our volunteers with love and compassion. Your support is needed to make these meals possible, and to put smiles on beautiful faces.
How many people can you help this holiday season? $1.00 provides a hot meal for one hungry person. $100 provides hot meals for 100 people.
You can make a difference in our community by giving online!
Did you know that if you are 70½ years old or older, you can give up to $100,000 from your IRA directly to St. Vincent de Paul without paying income taxes on the money? Or, you can give a portion to St. Vincent de Paul just as long as you don’t exceed the $100,000 maximum. (Note: You don’t have to donate the entire IRA to be eligible for the tax benefits. And if it’s worth more than $100,000, you can transfer a portion of it to fund a charitable gift.)
You’ll pay no income taxes on your gift. The transfer does not generate taxable income or a tax deduction, so you’ll benefit even if you don’t itemize your deductions.
If you haven’t taken your required minimum distribution this year, your IRA charitable rollover gift can satisfy all or part of that requirement
If your spouse is 70 ½ years old or older, he or she can also give up to $100,000 from his or her IRA.
If you have more than one retirement account where some are pensions and some are IRAs, keep in mind that direct rollovers to a qualified charity can be made only from an IRA. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to roll assets from a pension, profit sharing, 401(k) or 403(b) plan into an IRA and then make the transfer from the IRA directly to St. Vincent de Paul. (Speak with your plan administrator about this.) If you have questions or need more information, please contact Michael Acaldo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (225) 383-7837, ext. O. And remember, always consult with a tax professional before you make a gift of this nature.
Not just at Thanksgiving, but throughout the year, we hear, “Thank God for St. Vincent de Paul.” Whether we’re helping a single homeless woman, a mother and her young child, a man who just lost his job, or an elderly person – the work of St. Vincent de Paul is making a real difference in someone’s life every day of the year.
Our Dining Room is often the first place someone comes to for assistance, and it’s surprising how much the demand has grown through the years. We continue to serve more meals than all the other local soup kitchens and dining rooms combined. Back around 2001, we broke the 100,000 meal mark; last year, we had an all-time record of 266,836 meals; and this year, we expect to serve at least 270,000 meals.
Many of the people who come to our Dining Room need a hot meal before they can think about taking the next step, and once they have eaten, they begin to ask questions like, “Do you know where I can find a place to stay? Can someone help me find a job?” These are the people that come to us for help.
Our philosophy of giving a hand-up of hope continues to be the cornerstone of our organization. For those who are homeless, our top priority is getting them off the streets and into our Bishop Ott Shelter Program where we can help them get back on their feet.
Many of those we serve are living in homes where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. But on Thanksgiving Day, they will all have a warm place to go and plenty to eat. This year, our volunteers will be serving up a Thanksgiving meal at our Dining Room and will continue the St. Vincent de Paul Holiday Helpers’ tradition at the Raising Cane’s River Center.
For our Holiday Helpers efforts, we thank Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome; Constable Reginald Brown; Raising Cane River Center General Manager Michael Day; Director of Sales, Marketing & Events Rhonda Ruffino; Chef James Hillary and the entire crew at the River Center. These community leaders are outstanding, and we thank them for helping St. Vincent de Paul keep the Holiday Helpers’ tradition alive in our Capital Region.
Again this year, we want to thank the Congregation B’nai Israel for doing their annual Turkey Train, collecting enough turkeys to ensure that we can continue this Thanksgiving tradition. Annually, the synagogue is the single largest contributor of turkeys for our Thanksgiving meal service to the poor. Their help is even more critical this year because of the growing need in our community.
At St. Vincent de Paul, the most critical ingredient in our Thanksgiving recipe is you – our supporters – who make our work possible. Our needy guests are so grateful for the meals you make possible. It’s amazing to look around and see what can be accomplished through the generosity of so many people throughout our community. This Thanksgiving, we say, “Thank God for you and all you’ve done for those who need a helping hand.”
If you haven’t supported our St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room in the past, we invite you to become a part of this important ministry. Please consider supporting our Dining Room by giving a Thanksgiving gift. For $1.00 we can provide a hot meal; $100 provides 100 meals; and $400 will feed all our Dining Room guests for a day. Make your gift online by clicking here or by mailing a check to the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room, P.O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Our St. Louise de Marillac Chapel project received a wonderful gift from the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Family Foundation. This significant contribution, along with other generous donations brings us to $208,650 raised. Our total project budget is $350,000. We also want to recognize Kathy Bishop who gave a very generous gift to get this effort from a possibility to a soon-to-be reality. These wonderful major contributors to this project are examples that we all can follow, and every dollar counts. We thank all those who have made gifts to this project that have propelled us to this new total. Thank you all!
The Chapel is named in honor of St. Louise de Marillacwho worked with St. Vincent de Paul in his ministry of serving those most in need.She was the founder of the Daughters of Charity who are now known worldwide for their work in healthcare. In St. Vincent de Paul’s time, they were known for running hospitals, clinics and orphanages. These women were leaders, and in the 1600’s, that was remarkable.
St. Vincent de Paul himself had great vision and recognized the important role women play in our world. He realized that women had much to offer, and he saw them as equals to men. St. Louise de Marillac was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1934 and was declared the patroness of social workers in 1960. She serves as a great example for both men and women to follow.
Our chapel will be a place where guests and volunteers who need a quiet place to pray have an opportunity to come closer to God. A place to pray and reflect can give our needy guests the spiritual strength they need to get through a difficult time in their lives.Our volunteers will also be able to utilize the chapel as a place to meditate and pray, enhancing the faith-filled experience we want them to have here at St. Vincent de Paul as they serve God’s poor.
During the upcoming holiday season, please consider contributing to this project so that we can provide a designated place for prayer and spiritual reflection for our volunteers and the needy we are blessed to serve. If you have been thinking of making a major gift, this might be the project you are looking for. If you would like more information, contact Michael Acaldo at (225) 383-7837, ext. 0, or at email@example.com. If you would like to make a financial gift, please feel free to give online by clicking here.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is delighted to partner again with WBRZ-Channel 2 and Pat’s Coats for Kids. Our Essential Needs Distribution Center is playing a key role in this effort. We will collect all gently used coats that are donated, organize them, and make sure they go to children who would otherwise suffer from the cold this winter. Needy children will be so grateful for the warmth provided by these coats. We ask you to keep this effort and the needy children we serve in your thoughts and prayers. For more information go to WBRZ.com.
Don’t forget to give to St. Vincent de Paul on Giving Tuesday! There are several different ways you can give to St. Vincent de Paul. You can do it the old fashioned way, and write a check and send it to: St. Vincent de Paul, P.O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821 or by clicking here.
You can also give through #iGiveCatholic. It’s a great way to help us in our mission of serving the poor and homeless. Our work is built on Christ’s message of love for all of God’s children, and iGiveCatholic.org is built on that foundation. Give to St. Vincent de Paul on Giving Tuesday, November 27th, and make a real difference in our community!
On Thanksgiving Day, our volunteers will serve turkey with all the trimmings to hundreds of people who, unfortunately, have little to celebrate. Many of them are living in homes where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. Some of them have no homes. But on this day, they will all have a warm place to go and plenty to eat.
This year, our volunteers will be serving up a Thanksgiving meal at our Dining Room and will continue the Holiday Helpers’ tradition at the River Center.
Sometimes, we are overwhelmed by the number of people who turn to St. Vincent de Paul for the nourishment they need. But these people are not numbers – they are real people in desperate need. We see their faces; we hear their stories. They are struggling to survive and must rely on the kindness of others to help them through this difficult time in their lives.
We are gearing up right now for this effort, and we are collecting donations of stuffing mix, canned green beans, canned yams, cakes, pies, white & brown sugar, cinnamon, cranberry sauce, hams, and 2-liter drinks.
The meals prepared are served by our volunteers with love and compassion. Your financial support is also needed to make these meals possible. Send your contribution to St. Vincent de Paul’s Thanksgiving Efforts, P.O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821 or give online at by clicking here.
On September 25th, at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, Bishop Michael Duca and many of our Vincentian Conference volunteers gathered to celebrate another year of dedicated Vincentian service in our community. At the Mass, Bishop Duca recognized a number of Vincentians who have distinguished themselves through their ministry to the needy. Along with Bishop Duca, St. Vincent de Paul Council President Crystal Chatelain presented awards to some of our outstanding volunteers.
The first award of the night was the 25th Anniversary Award, which was given to Mrs. Louise Prosser. Mrs. Prosser has been a member of the St. Vincent de Paul group at Our Lady of Mercy for over 25 years. During those years, she has given of her time and her effort, serving God’s poor in a remarkable way. Our Lady of Mercy is a wonderful parish with wonderful people making a difference in the lives of those in need. We thank Mrs. Prosser and also Father Cleo Milano for his support of St. Vincent de Paul’s work throughout the Diocese.
Our next award of the night was the Be a Light Award, named in honor of Bishop Ott who said, “If I have been a light in some small way, then all of us can be a light.” We recognized Mr. A. C. Monin for being a light by providing meals for 28 years to the homeless at the Bishop Ott Shelters. Mr. Monin was unable to attend the event, and Crystal Chatelain accepted the award on his behalf.
Saints Cosmas and Damian are the patron saints of pharmacists and this was the next award to be presented. Our community pharmacy continues to serve people in need of prescription medicine, and we are only able to do so because of the dedication of our volunteers. Ms. Theresa Hollins was presented the Saints Cosmas & Damian Award for her 23 years of volunteering at our pharmacy. Ms. Hollins has done a phenomenal job of making a difference in the lives of people who are sick and suffering.
Our next award was the St. Vincent de Paul Stores Community Volunteer Award. Every year, our St. Vincent de Paul stores help thousands of needy individuals and families with much needed items such as clothing, furniture, and other household necessities – all free of charge. Our efforts also raise financial resources for our charitable programs through a very successful car donation program, which will raise over $100,000 this year. On this special night, we recognized Mr. Jack Snee, a St. Vincent de Paul Conference Vincentian from St. Patrick Church, for his outstanding volunteer work in helping us to raise these critical funds. Jack has played a vital role in our mission of charity and, because of his efforts, we have been able to feed thousands, provide thousands of guest nights of shelter, and fill prescriptions for those in need.
Our St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room is on track to serve over 270,000 meals this year. Because of the outstanding work of our Dining Room volunteers, we are making a difference in our community. This year’s Heaven’s Helpers Award was given to Mr. Anthony Bacile for his community volunteerism at our St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room. We rely on dedicated volunteers like Mr. Bacile to provide this critical service 365 days a year.
The final award of the night was our St. Vincent de Paul Top Hat Award. The name of this award comes from Frederic Ozanam, who founded the Society in 1833 as he visited the poor in his top hat. This is the highest award that can be given by St. Vincent de Paul for exemplary service. This year’s Top Hat Award recipient was Mr. Kevin Patterson. Through his outstanding Vincentian volunteerism, Kevin established the St. Benedict the Moor St. Vincent de Paul Conference. He also plays a critical role in our Diocesan Council leadership. Kevin currently serves as Secretary of our St. Vincent de Paul special works Board of Directors. His commitment to serving God’s poor as a Vincentian has truly made an impact in our community. He is a long time Vincentian who joins many other exemplary Vincentians in our Top Hat Hall of Fame.
As many of you know, Major Reginald R. Brown, Sr. has been a community hero for many years. He is a retired East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office Deputy of 25 years and is presently the Baton Rouge City Constable. He has received many awards throughout his career, including the Golden Deeds Award and the Southern University Trailblazer Award. Our local Holiday Helpers was the brainchild of Constable Brown and a group of volunteers who cared about bringing our community together in a positive way. For 30 years before passing the Holiday Helpers torch on to St. Vincent de Paul, Constable Brown made sure that this annual event provided a traditional Thanksgiving meal to the needy. He’s also a leader in the annual Christmas Crusade, which collects toys for needy children. He is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Board of Directors. The list of his accomplishments could go on and on, but it’s obvious that his life has been one of service to others.
Constable Brown has now written a book about his life, entitled, “My Bicycle Journey,” with proceeds from sales of the book going to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Books are available for purchase at St. Vincent de Paul, as well as online by clicking here.
On November 11th, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., there will be a special book signing at the St. Joseph Cathedral Parish Hall, 412 North Street, Baton Rouge. All are invited to attend. We encourage everyone to support St. Vincent de Paul by purchasing this wonderful book.