Thank You for Making a Difference

Recently, there have been a number of media stories regarding aggressive panhandling in the downtown Baton Rouge area.  While some of this has been attributed to people who are homeless, anyone who has studied the issue of panhandling knows that this is not always the case.  

At St. Vincent de Paul, we are wholeheartedly against panhandling, and here’s why:  It does not help someone to break the cycle of homelessness.  We embrace a Housing First philosophy that helps to find permanent housing solutions for people in need.  Ending homelessness one person at a time is at the heart of our homeless services, and we are extremely grateful to our supporters who have helped us to make such an impact in our community.

Last year, we provided shelter to more than 1,500 homeless people, providing over 33,000 guest nights of shelter to homeless men, women, children, and families – all free of charge –with a focus of getting people off the streets and helping them to take the next steps in their lives.  In our community, and throughout most of the nation, rents are high – and rising – which is a significant factor in homelessness. Fortunately, because of our services, 1,500 individuals were not homeless or living on the streets last year.  

In addition to night shelter, case management, and other services provided at our main charitable campus, St. Vincent de Paul’s Conferences do a remarkable job of preventing homelessness before it ever happens. Last year, volunteers made over 2,000 home visits and provided over $600,000 in assistance, whether it was paying someone’s rent or utility bill or helping them with furnishings or food. Every time our Conferences helped someone with these basic necessities, they were helping them to remain in their homes.  

When it comes to hunger, we’ve all seen the “Will work for Food” signs, but keep in mind that, at St. Vincent de Paul, since 1982, we have served hot, nutritious meals to people at risk of homelessness, as well as those who are homeless.  In addition to a hot lunch, we give out brown bag suppers to-go, so no one in our community has to go hungry.  

Every day, our Dining Room serves between 200 and 500 individuals in need.  You’ll notice that there aren’t 200 to 500 individuals in our community holding “Will work for food” signs.  Why? Because of the services we provide. And we are here because of your prayers, volunteerism, and financial support.  

Just think about what would happen if those who are truly homeless had nowhere to turn for a hot meal, a warm bed, assistance in breaking an addiction, or help with a mental health problem.  We are a safety net because of you, and we are asking for your help.  

Recently we posted about our Hope Card. All of our services are free of charge. Let your family and friends know about it.  Click here to print copies. Then, if you see someone who is homeless, give a card to them.  

Our services would not be possible without the generosity and support of our community, and people like you.  Please get the word out to your family and friends about the great work of St. Vincent de Paul.  On behalf of the thousands of people we serve every year, thank you for helping us to make a real difference in the lives of the poor and homeless.

– Michael J. Acaldo, President & CEO, St. Vincent de Paul Charities



Thank you for being a part of our organization! We're excited to announce that we are participating in #iGiveCatholic on #GivingTuesday, our nation's first-ever Catholic day of giving! This year it will be December 3 from 12:00AM to 11:59PM CST. Your generous support makes a meaningful difference to our mission of giving a Hand Up to those in need.

Click here to find out more and visit our iGiveCatholic profile page.

Help Us Keep Hope Alive in Our Community!


When you see someone on a street corner with a sign that says, “Homeless – Need Help,” your first instinct may be to hand them a cash donation, but we do not recommend that approach. Many people are homeless because they have lost a job, become disabled, and have no family or friends to turn to, but some are homeless because of mental illness or problems with addiction. What they all need is a safe place to stay, people who care, and a chance to get back on their feet. For over 150 years, we have made a difference by giving people in need a hand-up to a better life.

That’s the purpose of the St. Vincent de Paul “Hope Card” – to tell those who are in a situation of homelessness about the services we provide. Feel free to print up copies of our Hope Card (by clicking here) and keep a few in your pocket or your car. Rather than providing cash, our Hope Card can provide linkages to services to help someone overcome homelessness. We provide a place where they can get a hot meal, a bed, a shower, and a second chance. All of our services are free. Those really needing the services will be so thankful for the help.

Help Us Help Pat!

Pat's Coats for Kids.jpg

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

Sweet Dreams of Home

When it comes to homelessness, it’s much more difficult for young children to understand what’s going on. All they know is that the home they knew suddenly disappeared. Whether you’re a nine-year-old or nine months old, like Kay and Cerenity, in the photos, everyone needs a place to rest and dream. During the initial intake process at our Sweet Dreams Shelter, we see so many children tearfully clinging to their parents. But it doesn’t take long for this to become their new home, and children like Kay and Cerenity are soon smiling and laughing. We can only imagine the relief their parents must feel when they see that transformation. What a privilege it is for us to be a part of it. Homeless parents often feel that they have failed their families. Some of them have lost

their jobs, while others are currently working, but just can’t make ends meet. For instance, even though nine-month-old Cerenity’s mother was employed when they came to us, she had been struggling to keep up with rising costs. When she couldn’t pay the rent, her worst fears were realized and they were evicted. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for her to recover from that setback, and they only stayed with us for a short period of time. Nine-year-old Kay and her mother, Val, stayed with us some time ago. They needed our help for a longer period of time, but we were able to give them the time they needed.

It’s been a little over a year since our Sweet Dreams Shelter expansion was completed. This increased our bed capacity from 36 to 82 and allows us to also provide shelter to homeless fathers with children and couples with children. So often, when people think of homelessness, they think of a single man on the street, holding a sign. But homelessness can happen to anyone, including mothers, fathers, and couples with children. Their homelessness may be the result of a lay-off or an illness, but many times, it’s something as simple as a car repair they couldn’t afford that caused their lives to crumble around them.

When you have no savings or family, what do you do? In our community, St. Vincent de Paul is our best answer to homelessness. Over the years, we have served as family for thousands of people who had nowhere else to turn.

All our shelter services are free of charge, but we do expect something in return from our guests. We expect every able-bodied adult to embrace employment, work hard to achieve self-sufficiency, and do the things that are necessary to put their lives back together.

None of our services would be possible without the support of our community. Once again, we ask you to use our Sweet Dreams Prayer to pray for those we serve. If you would also like to share your financial blessings, be assured that your generosity is desperately needed and greatly appreciated. The cost of providing our shelter services has increased since our recent expansion. We are very grateful that we can now serve more homeless families, but this also means that financial support is more critical than ever.

You can make a donation online at or you can mail a financial gift to: Bishop Ott Sweet Dreams Shelter, P.O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Your support – whether it’s through prayer, volunteerism, in-kind or financial support – will make a real difference in the life of a homeless individual or family.

Vehicle Donations Fund Critically Needed Charitable Programs

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 10.16.06 AM.png

At St. Vincent de Paul, we rely on vehicle and boat donations to help us fund critically needed charitable programs. Thanks to the generosity of people throughout our community, these donations of cars, boats, motorcycles, RV’s, and jet skis translate into dollars for the services we provide.

If you’d like to donate a car, boat or recreational vehicle, give us a call at (225) 383-7837, extension 204, or click here. When you go online, be sure you go to our local website, If you accidentally donate through the National St. Vincent de Paul website, we will receive the proceeds from the sale, but it will not be as much. Locally, we have a dedicated volunteer who ensures that we get top dollar for every donation. Because of this volunteer’s dedication, we have provided help to thousands of people who could otherwise not have been helped – THANK YOU – Mr. Jack, our priceless volunteer! In addition to benefiting your local St. Vincent de Paul, Mr. Jack’s dedicated efforts have benefited every donor that gives locally because they are getting the maximum value for their tax deduction.

Making a Real Difference in the Lives of Children

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 10.10.30 AM.png

There is one major contributor that has been a part of the WAFBChannel 9 and St. Vincent de Paul Uniforms for Kids effort since its inception 22 years ago: the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair Foundation. Because of the outstanding leadership of J. H. Martin, Chairman; Doug Gonzales, Secretary; Warren Wilson; Greg Edwards; Stan Prutz; and Cliff Barton, Baton Rouge State Fair Chairman, our uniform effort benefits from the support of the Foundation every year.

Once again this year, they made a large contribution to St. Vincent de Paul and our efforts to provide school uniforms to needy children. The generosity of the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair Foundation is one of the best kept secrets in our community. The publicity they have received over the years covers only a fraction of the good work they do and the impact they make in our area. St. Vincent de Paul is blessed to have the support of the Foundation, which has touched the lives of so many needy children through Uniforms for Kids.

A lot of money is raised through individuals and families who have the resources to go out to the fair and enjoy a good time. The Foundation then uses those proceeds to promote educational, cultural, and other opportunities for needy children in the Greater Baton Rouge community. We thank J. H. Martin and all the Foundation Board members for doing so much good for so many years for so many people. These individuals haven’t done this for just a year or two; they’ve done it for decades.

We encourage everyone to support the 2019 state fair scheduled for October 24th through November 3rd. You’ll have a great time enjoying the entertainment and daily attractions, but best of all, you’ll be contributing to the Foundation’s worthwhile efforts to help children.

Building on Excellence

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 9.28.43 AM.png

I love our St. Vincent de Paul family more with every passing year. If you’re reading this, you are a member of that family, either through prayer, volunteerism, or financial support. No matter how you choose to give of yourself, you are helping us to continue our tradition of excellence. What other organization can look back on more than 150 consecutive years of service to the poor and homeless in our community? Every service we provide and every new venture we undertake is in accordance with our mission of sharing God’s love with those in need.

A lot of exciting things have happened at St. Vincent de Paul over the last few months. Being able to cut the ribbon on our Sweet Dreams family shelter was an extraordinary accomplishment, and words can’t express how grateful we are to everyone who contributed to that effort. The generosity of the Huey & Angelina Wilson Foundation, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, St. Aloysius Catholic Church, and individuals in our community made this vision a reality. It’s amazing how many people gave to this effort.

We received small gifts, large gifts, and everything in between. Donations ranged from a few dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and every penny brought us a step closer to our goal. You may recall that we went out for bids on this project in July of 2016 and expected bid documents back by the end of August. Before the bid process was complete, the August 2016 floods occurred, which caused construction prices to go through the roof. This meant that we were faced with a significant shortfall between the costs we had anticipated and the actual bid amounts. Thanks to all of you, we were able to proceed with this project, which has already helped hundreds of homeless families with children.

On the same day we cut the ribbon on our Sweet Dreams Family Shelter, we broke ground on a new Emergency Day/Night Shelter for the homeless. Once again, construction costs turned out to be higher than anticipated, and we will need about $196,000 to reach the total bid amount. We have taken a leap of faith, and construction is under way, but we need your prayers and financial support to meet this challenge. With your help, we can open this new facility as projected, sometime in early 2020. If you’re interested in helping, you can make an online contribution at, call me at (225) 383-7837, extension O, or email me at

Another long-awaited project is the construction of a chapel on our main charitable campus. Thanks to several generous donors, and one in particular that gave a gift of $50,000, we have reached our $350,000 fund-raising goal for this project. We anticipate that construction costs have gone up during the fund-raising period, but Bob Lunsford, our architect, is working on the plans, and we hope to go out for bids and break ground in the near future.

Thank you for helping us to continue to build on our history of excellence. We are so grateful for all you’ve done for our local St. Vincent de Paul, and most of all, for those we serve every day of the year.

– Michael J. Acaldo, President & CEO, St. Vincent de Paul Charities

Homelessness is a Nightmare for a Child

Providing shelter to a homeless child can be an uplifting – or heartbreaking – experience.  At St. Vincent de Paul’s Sweet Dreams Shelter, there are happy, laughing children everywhere, but during the initial intake process, we often see frightened children clinging to their parents: the only sure thing left in their lives.  We hear sobs and comments like, “I want to go home.”  They are simply too young to understand that home isn’t there anymore. 

It’s not just the kids that are afraid.  Even adults, especially parents of children like Kay and Cerenity, in the photos above, are terrified at the thought of eviction.  When you’re barely making ends meet, a car repair, an illness or a lay-off can be catastrophic.  Most low-income families have no savings, and one missed paycheck can result in homelessness.

The long-term effects of homelessness can be tragic, particularly for young children.   Living on the streets or in a car must feel like a nightmare they can’t wake up from.  This can have a devastating impact on their sense of trust, security and safety.  Can you imagine how difficult it is for them to understand that they can’t go back home? 

When we think of homelessness, we often visualize a man on a street corner holding a sign, but have you ever wondered where the homeless mothers, children and families are?  Some are sleeping on the couch or the floor at a friend’s house, wondering how long it will be before they are asked to leave.  Some are sleeping in their cars, with their meager possessions in plastic bags.  Since 2001, thousands of them have stayed at our Sweet Dreams Shelter until their dreams of home could once again become a reality. 

In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of homeless women, children and families that need our help.  Our response was to expand our Sweet Dreams Shelter last year from 36 to 82 beds.  This has enabled us to assist more people, which is critical, because we are the only shelter in our community that provides services to homeless mothers with male children over the age of 5, fathers with children, and couples with children.  Of course, these expanded services mean that we need your help now, more than ever.  

We hope you will use the Sweet Dreams Prayer Card below to pray for the homeless, especially women, children like Kay and Cerenity, and families.  We also need your help to keep our doors open and ask you to consider making a financial gift by clicking here.   Your support will make a real difference in someone’s life. 

On behalf of the individuals, families, and children we serve, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your support. Because of your investment in our work, their dreams of home can come true.  Thank you! 

Sweet Dreams Prayer
Lord God, Giver of Life,
Fill us with your Spirit.
Use our hands to shelter the homeless;
Use our hearts to enable sweet dreams;
Use our voices to end homelessness.
May our actions improve life for others
And reflect your abundant love.
Through Christ our Lord, AMEN.

Beacons of Light 2019 - CatholicLife Television

The great crew from Catholic Life TV has put together a terrific new season of Beacons of Light!

Beacons of Light is a television series produced by Catholic Life Television of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. This television department provides our Vincentian family an opportunity to share our charitable programs with the greater community.

The Beacons of Light television show on Catholic Life Channel Television is on Cox Channel 15 and Roku, provides viewers a great opportunity to see St. Vincent de Paul in action.

Our weekly schedule is Sunday at 3:00 p.m., Monday at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. and Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

We're Hiring!

Director of Stores – St. Vincent de Paul Baton Rouge


The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Baton Rouge is seeking a Director of Stores. Qualified applicants must have previous management and leadership experience, college education is strongly preferred, excellent communication and organization skills and the ability to offer excellent customer service.

The Director of Stores oversees and directs the overall operations of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores Program (6 locations). The Director, in concert with the President & CEO, establish goals and objectives that support and ensure the achievement of the strategies and objectives of the Society’s Stores. The Director of Stores is primarily responsible for driving sales and increasing revenues while coaching and developing a committed and highly performing team committed to service in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul.

·The Director will be directly responsible for planning, executing, controlling, and evaluating all aspects of the Thrift/Resale Stores including increased sales, in-kind donation procurement and stewardship of gently used donations.

·Build relationships with customers, volunteers, and staff to create a welcoming and pleasant environment to achieve operational goals. Support staff through coaching, counseling, disciplining; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results.

·Provide leadership, think strategically, analytically and creatively. Analyze sales figures and forecasting to ensure maximization of sales and profit. Develop promotional strategies to achieve goals.

·Develop, cultivate and steward donation channels to build a sufficient inventory pipeline.

·Evaluation of current processes and implementation new processes that ensure smooth operations.

·Adhere to the spirit and mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul by ensuring that needy neighbors are assisted in a respectful and discreet manner.

·Coordinate with President & CEO and other managerial staff to develop and implement strategies to sell store product/donated goods through optimal distribution channels. Assist with determining best strategies to drive overall sales for the organization.

·Work with Stores Committee to develop all locations to their full potential.


·Bachelor's degree from a four-year college or university, preferred

·Five to seven years management experience and/or training in retail, retail management

·Two to five years’ experience developing and managing people

·Strong analytical skills

·Database experience preferred


Competitive based on experience.

SVDP of Baton Rouge is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Job Type: Full-time


Apply on – Director of Stores Operations – St. Vincent de Paul Baton Rouge

Someone Cares About Your Future!

UFK logo (screenshot).png
Screen Shot 2019-08-01 at 12.08.09 PM.png

For every little boy and girl, the first day of school should be filled with smiles and laughter. Unfortunately, many children in our community are dreading that day because their uniform from last year doesn’t fit anymore or, even worse, they have no uniform at all. A typical school year consists of approximately 1,000 hours of instructional time, but when children feel different or inferior, they don’t want to spend one minute in the classroom. When they feel confident, those hours at school can be a happy time.

When you look at a picture of a child, the first thing you notice is their expression, and a child’s smile is priceless!  You can see the smiles on the faces of Savannah, Wyatt, Frankie and Kaylee because they just got that much-needed uniform.  What you don’t see are the challenges they’ve had to face in their short lives. Hunger and homelessness aren’t the only consequences of poverty; for children, embarrassment and humiliation can leave permanent emotional scars.  

With our camera, we’ve been able to capture a happy moment in time as these children received their new school uniforms, but it’s impossible to capture their hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties, either through the written word or the camera.  These young boys and girls have something in common with every other child helped through our Uniforms for Kids effort. Their parents are fighting a daily battle between limited financial resources and rising costs. They simply can’t afford to buy the uniforms their children need.

Our Uniforms for Kids effort began in 1998 to help needy kids in these situations.  Now, all these years later, our goals remain the same: to preserve the self-esteem of poor and homeless children and to keep them in the classroom.  Without an education, they have little hope for a better future. This year, we have set a goal of providing 20,000 uniforms to 10,000 children. We give each child two uniforms – one to wash and one to wear.  

WAFB, the Albemarle Foundation, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health and Locke Meredith, Sean Fagan and Associates have joined together to make a difference in these children’s lives.  We are blessed to have their support, and we need your support as well. Will you consider giving a gift to help one child? At a cost of $12.00 for each uniform, you can help a needy child by giving $24.00, which will purchase two uniforms.  How many children can you help? Whether you help us put a smile on the face of one child, or many, be assured that no amount is too small or too large.  

Many of life’s most valuable lessons are learned outside the classroom, and every uniform we give to a needy child teaches them that there is someone who cares about their future.  On behalf of Savannah, Wyatt, Frankie, Kaylee, and thousands of other needy children, we thank you in advance for your consideration of our request.  


Michael J. Acaldo

President & CEO

Screen Shot 2019-07-19 at 3.30.38 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-08-01 at 12.10.47 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 8.16.45 AM.png

Uniforms for Kids - Give the Gift of a Uniform to a Child in Need

UFK logo (screenshot) copy.png

In elementary and middle school, the typical student spends between 900 and 1,000 hours in the classroom each year, but, too often, the lessons they learn on the playground are the ones that have the greatest impact in their lives. Education is their only way out of poverty, but being ridiculed for not having the proper attire can cause a child’s excitement about learning to be overshadowed by the fear of embarrassment and humiliation.

To a child looking forward to the first day of school, clothing seems almost as important as food. A clean uniform that fits properly enables them to focus on what they are being taught, not on what they are teased about.

There are thousands of children that are counting on us for school uniforms. Once again, WAFB Channel 9, Locke Meredith - Sean Fagan & Associates, Our Lady of the Lake Children's Health and the Albemarle Foundation have joined St. Vincent de Paul to help with our Uniforms for Kids effort. We are blessed to have their support, and we need your support as well.

Will you consider helping just one child? At a cost of $12.00 for each uniform, you can help a needy child by giving $24.00, which will provide two uniforms – one to wash and one to wear. How many needy children can you help? Be assured that no amount is too small or too large.

On behalf of the poor and homeless children we serve through this critical community program, we thank you in advance for your consideration of our request.


Tropical Storm/Hurricane Barry

St. Vincent de Paul Responds to Tropical Storm/Hurricane Barry

St. Vincent de Paul is responding to Tropical Storm/Hurricane Barry.  Our Bishop Ott Shelter Program has initiated its hurricane disaster plan for the upcoming days and nights.  We have expanded our bed capacity and anticipate serving many homeless men, women and children tonight and for the days and nights to come.  Thanks to the Louisiana Housing Corporation we have been able to make this expansion of services possible.  During a disaster, the homeless are often forgotten, so these efforts are so important.    


We are prepared to accommodate currently homeless men, women, children and families in need of shelter during this upcoming tropical storm/hurricane weather.   We are providing the street homeless a safe place to go. Our plan will continue through Monday and will be extended if necessary.  Shelter for the homeless is particularly important for those living on the street during adverse weather conditions.


As a community leading homeless services provider, our shelter program operates four night shelters (with a 160+ bed capacity) and one homeless day center. We currently operate two emergency shelters for men, one for homeless women and children, and one for families and children. We will make room for emergency cases.  


In 2018, we provided day and night shelter services to over 1,500 men, women and children, and provided over 30,000 guest nights of shelter. In addition to providing shelter, our programs offer services to help individuals break the cycle of homelessness and become self-sufficient. Our programs have a good record of helping the homeless obtain employment, affordable housing and other things necessary to become self-sufficient. Our philosophy of giving a hand-up, not a hand-out, has been a successful approach.   The shelter currently has the following needs: towels, pillows, soap, deodorant, rain gear, socks and other needed items.  


Our St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room is also responding by providing hot meals (as we always do at 220 St. Vincent de Paul Place location) at 11:30 am through 1:00 pm everyday of the year.  The Dining Room has ongoing need for the following items:  Granulated garlic, Creole Seasoning (Tony Chachere’s, Zatarains, Season All, or any other), Flour, Mashed Potato Mix, Sugar, Salt, Oil, Onion Powder, Gallon Zip Lock Bags, Quart Zip Lock Bags, Sandwich Zip Lock Bags, Cups - 8 or 10 ounce, Red, Navy, or Pinto Beans (Dry), Salt and Pepper Shakers, Kitchen Bouque, Soup Spoons, Tomato Paste, Tomato Sauce, Corn (#10 Cans), Green Beans (#10 Cans) , Sweet Peas (#10 Cans), Blackeyed Peas (Dry), Pork-N-Bean, Rice, Spaghetti, Sweeten Drink Mix, Salad Dressings, All Canned Fruit, Bar-B-Que Sauce, Mayo Packs, Mustard Packs, Margarine, Ketchup (Bottles or Packs) and Smoked Sausage. 


St. Vincent de Paul will be providing many more services if needed after the bad weather subsides.  Please keep those we are serving, our volunteers and small staff in your thoughts and prayers.  Anyone wishing to make a financial contribution can do by clicking here.


The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is one of Baton Rouge's oldest charitable institutions, serving our community and responding to disasters for over 150 years.  Our mission, through person-to-person contact, mass feeding, sheltering, and other channels, encompasses every form of aid which alleviates suffering.

Volunteers Needed - Manna Givers Sweet Dreams Expansion Shelter

We need more Manna Givers for the Sweet Dreams EXPANSION Shelter.

Did you know that “manna” is a term used in the Old Testament of the Bible to describe something unexpected, especially if it feels like a miracle? Specifically, the Israelites, who were desperate, received “manna” in the form of bread just when they most needed it.

We have had guests of St. Vincent de Paul share with us the fear ...and trepidation they felt when they initially entered the shelter. After all, it was an environment unfamiliar to them. It is a natural human trait to fear the unknown because we can’t predict the outcome. It wasn’t long before these guests encountered empathetic shelter guests that had experienced these same feelings and staff members willing to help them in any way possible. Then, along comes the volunteer (the “Manna Giver”) that through love and selflessness brings a delicious meal made with compassion for one’s fellow human being. Yes, it feels like a miracle to our guests who have felt helpless and alone. No longer alone, our guests allow themselves to finally feel hope for the future.

If you are able, won’t you be a part of providing a miracle to our guests? If you have questions, please call us at 383-7837, ext. 207.

To sign up today, you may do so by using the link provided below: