Annual St. Vincent de Paul Celebration

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

My Bicycle Journey

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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.

#iGiveCatholic #GivingTuesday - November 27, 2018

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Thank you for being a part of the St. Vincent de Paul Family! We’re excited to announce that we are participating in #iGiveCatholic on #GivingTuesday, our nation’s first-ever day of giving! This year it will be November 27 from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM CST. Your generous support makes a meaningful difference by assisting the needy in our community. As you know, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is changing lives every day by giving a helping hand-up to the most vulnerable members in the Greater Baton Rouge Community. On November 27 (#iGiveCatholic Giving Day), your financial gift will help us receive extra funds for our work in the community. By visiting iGiveCatholic.org, you can make a difference with your gift to St. Vincent de Paul. 

All gifts you make to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on November 27 will increase our impact by allowing us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, provide shelter to the homeless, and provide life sustaining medication to those in need. With your help, we WILL reach our fundraising goal on the #iGiveCatholic Giving Day! 

By visiting iGiveCatholic.org, you can make a difference with your gift to St. Vincent de Paul. 

Follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @svdpbatonrouge, so you can share in the excitement on #GivingTuesday, November 27. 

Yours in Christ, 

Michael J. Acaldo, SVDP President & CEO

Sweet Dreams - It's Not Too Late!

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With the continued support of our generous St. Vincent de Paul Family, we are making dreams come true every day for homeless children. Our Bishop Ott Sweet Dreams Shelter provides a cozy home, soft beds, and nourishing meals that homeless children dream about. We provide a safe haven in their time of need, and provide them with the necessary time needed for adults to get back on their feet so they can take care of themselves and their families.

If we all work together, dreams can come true; but we know it takes a lot more than hard work and financial support to make this vision a reality. Please continue your prayers, our Sweet Dreams Shelter is so important to people who have nowhere else to turn.

We thank you for your ongoing support and hope you will continue supporting us now. If you are able to give, you can do so online by
clicking here.  
 
We would like to express our most heartfelt gratitude to you and to everyone who shared our concern for the homeless in our community.

Bishop Ott Sweet Dreams Shelter.

Can you imagine what a homeless child would dream about if they had to sleep in a car tonight? Would they dream of a cozy place with soft beds and fluffy blankets, where there are three good meals a day and no one goes hungry? Or would they dream of scary things that lurk in the dark just outside the windows? We know what homeless parents dream about: a better future, a safe place to stay until they can find a job, save money, and start over. 
 
At St. Vincent de Paul, our Sweet Dreams Shelter is making dreams come true every day for homeless children like those in the pictures above.  With your support, we make big dreams, little dreams, and everything in between come true. We provide the cozy home, the nourishing meals, and the soft beds that homeless children dream about.  But just as important, we provide the safe haven and the time they need for adults to get back on their feet so they can take care of themselves and their families. 
 
In 2001, a long-awaited St. Vincent de Paul dream came true when we opened our Sweet Dreams Shelter for women and children.  That dream grew over the past year as we expanded this facility, increasing our bed capacity from 36 to 82.  This means that, in addition to homeless women and children, we can now accept intact families and single-parent families headed by fathers.
 
This newly expanded facility is proof that, when people work together, dreams can come true; but, we know it took a lot more than hard work and financial support to make this vision a reality.  Thousands of prayers laid the foundation for this effort long before the first concrete was poured.  So, please keep praying!  Our Sweet Dreams Shelter is so important to people who have nowhere else to turn.
  
We thank you for your past support and hope you will continue your support now that we have greatly expanded our efforts to help homeless women, children, and families.  Our first request to you is to pray for the homeless we serve.  With our expansion, we also need your financial support more than ever, so please consider making a gift to our Sweet Dreams Shelter.  If you are able to give you can do so by clicking here.  
 
On behalf of the homeless children, women and families we serve, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you and to everyone who shares our concern for the homeless in our community.  The children and mothers in these pictures are just a few of the thousands of people whose lives have been changed through our Sweet Dreams Shelter because of your support.  Thank you!
 


Sincerely yours in Christ,
 
Michael J. Acaldo
President & CEO

Donald J. Broussard - A Visionary Leader

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      We lost a beloved member of our St. Vincent de Paul family recently, a man who was very dear to everyone who had the privilege of knowing him. Since the publication of our last Vincentian Charities newsletter, Donald J. Broussard went to his rest in heaven. Those of us who knew Don personally were fortunate indeed, but the cost of that friendship is the grief we feel at his passing. There is no way to measure the depth of our loss or the impact of his absence.

      Don was a humble, soft-spoken man, whose strength and leadership were demonstrated through his words and actions. He lived his faith and led by example. He held so many important positions with our local Society of St. Vincent de Paul and played a critical role in the Society’s growth over the last three decades. Over the years, he was Chairman of our special works Board of Directors and a member of our Executive Committee. He was the first Chairman of the St. Vincent de Paul Foundation and was still the Chairman at the date of his passing. He was the founder of the St. Thomas More St. Vincent de Paul Conference. He was a leader in every St. Vincent de Paul capital campaign, playing a critical role in turning visions into realities. Services that were once nothing more than dreams – a community pharmacy, a new dining room, homeless shelters – materialized because of Don’s commitment to our mission of serving God’s poor.

      These are extraordinary accomplishments, but Don wasn’t only involved in big things; he loved to do the “little” things as well. Whether it was helping the Bishop with our annual Christmas gift distribution to needy children, serving homecooked meals to our shelter guests, or making home visits to the poor, nothing was unimportant in his service to others. 

      Don was also a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Top Hat Hall of Fame. This is our most prestigious honor, which is bestowed in recognition of those who go far beyond the call of duty in answer to the call of Christ. 

      So many people have expressed their sorrow at the passing of such a good man. Michael Acaldo said, “Don’s faith was strong, and he believed that everything he did made a difference. Through his work with St. Vincent de Paul, he made a difference in the lives of those who worked alongside him, but also in the lives of thousands of strangers, people he didn’t know and would never meet. He left behind a huge circle of family and friends, but also a legacy of kindness, compassion, and generosity. He served as a model for others to follow.

Thank You Bishop Muench!

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      As I began writing this article, the official announcement had just been made regarding the appointment of Bishop Michael Duca as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. We welcome our new Bishop and are excited about working with him in the future. He will be following in the footsteps of some of the most dedicated and devout men I have ever known. In my time at St. Vincent de Paul, our Bishops have been Bishop Stanley J. Ott, followed by Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes, and then Bishop Robert W. Muench. What a blessing it’s been to have known these men personally. 
      Before he retires, I want to take one last opportunity to thank Bishop Muench for everything he has done to make our community a better place, but most of all, for his spiritual leadership of our Diocese and our local Society of St. Vincent de Paul. There are no words to express my respect and admiration for this extraordinary and unassuming man. 
      As many of you know, Bishop Muench’s father, William Anthony Muench, was a Vincentian in the Archdiocese of New Orleans for nearly 70 years, sharing his time, talent, and treasure in support of the mission of St. Vincent de Paul. His concern for the needy was just one facet of a man who loved Christ and was committed to his faith.

     What a gift it is for a child to grow up in a faith-filled home. In rare instances, the result is someone like Bishop Robert Muench, a son who not only lives his faith, but dedicates his life to Christ and the Church. Both William Muench and his son, Bishop Robert Muench, were inducted into St. Vincent de Paul’s Top Hat Hall of Fame in 2010. 
      For 16 years, Bishop Muench has helped St. Vincent de Paul navigate the challenges of serving God’s poor in our community. His support and guidance have been invaluable. He’s always interested in our work, and he frequently asks, “What’s next?” He wants to know about our current vision, our most recent success, and the next project. I am so grateful that he shares our concern for the needy, and I can’t thank him enough for his confidence in our local Society. 
      Many of our visions have become realities during the years that Bishop Muench has been a shepherd to us and our community. The need has grown, and at St. Vincent de Paul, we’ve done our best to meet the need. Last year, we served over 266,000 meals, filled prescriptions worth more than a million dollars, and provided over 27,000 guest nights of shelter. We just completed and opened the expansion of our Sweet Dreams Shelter, and we hope to break ground on a new Day Center/Emergency Shelter in the coming months. Our next vision is to build a chapel on our main campus.
      Through his support of our efforts, Bishop Muench has exemplified the Gospel message of love and compassion, as well as faith in action. He has played such an important role in our visions and accomplishments, and we are forever grateful for his direction, counsel and encouragement.

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

Greater Baton Rouge State Fair Foundation

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      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 21 years ago: the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair Foundation. Because of the 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 will make a $15,000 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 has been 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 2018 state fair scheduled for October 25th through November 4th. 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 others. 

9th Annual Sunrise Rotary Barbecue a Success!

Once again, our local Sunrise Rotary Club continued their tradition of excellence in support of our Uniforms for Kids effort.  This year’s barbecue took place on June 7th, as leaders from this special Rotary Club gathered to put on another fantastic event. 

As always, their recipe for success contains a lot of critical ingredients. One of those ingredients is financial support, and we thank Jay Jolly and Republic Finance for their continued generosity.  We also want to recognize Sheriff Mike Cazes and Bryan Bellelo of the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Department.  They again provided the juicy, smoky, finger-licking good barbecued chicken. It’s simply the best you’ll find anywhere in Baton Rouge.  Of course, in addition to good food, you need the proper location for an event like this. For that, we are very grateful to David Floyd and LSU’s Rural Life Museum for providing such a beautiful, rustic setting.  

This event included another successful auction, and many of the items were donated – everything from a bicycle to jewelry to a three-night stay at the Hilton-San Destin Beach Golf Resort.  The June 7thbarbecue/auction raised approximately $20,000, which will go a long way toward our $200,000 goal for this year’s uniform effort.  A special thank-you goes out to the Sunrise Rotary Club for another great success! 

Bishop Ott Sweet Dreams Shelter Expansion

Our vision of additional space for families at our Bishop Ott Sweet Dreams Shelter has finally become a reality.  Our newly expanded shelter opened this spring and is making a difference by providing shelter to homeless families who have nowhere else to turn. We are now able to help more mothers and children and have also been able to help single-parent fathers with children.  This expanded facility and more comprehensive services were made possible by the generosity of so many in our community.  

As this newsletter goes to press, we have not yet set a date for an official opening or ribbon-cutting, but that will happen shortly.  Our goal has been to get the shelter open, not for the sake of a ceremony or celebration, but for the homeless families we are now able to serve.  

We certainly learned a lot during the planning and construction phases of this expansion project, with many unanticipated challenges throughout.  In addition, although the expansion of our Sweet Dreams Shelter was the most important part of this project, we also renovated a part of the former men’s shelter dormitory and replaced older roofing.  Fortunately, our wonderful staff and board leadership did a great job of dealing with issues as they arose.  As new roofs were being constructed, old roofs were waiting to be replaced, broken pipes were repaired, security systems were installed, furniture and appliances were ordered and, as soon as possible, guests were moved in.  And best of all: the existing shelter never had to close – not for one day or night.

We are fully up and running, and a lot of people are asking how they can help.  The first answer to that question is:  keep praying. Pray for those we serve, for our volunteers, and for our staff that works such long hours and deals with so many challenges within this important community program.  We also need financial and in-kind support.  

Obviously, since we have doubled our capacity, our expenses have doubled as well.  Anyone wanting to help homeless families can click here to make a financial contribution online or by mailing a check to us at P.O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Your support will go a long way in helping us to continue our quality shelter services. 

Sunrise Rotary Club Fundraiser!

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The Sunrise Rotary Club of Baton Rouge held its annual fundraiser Beer, Bands & BBQ on June 7 at the LSU Rural Life Museum.  This is the Rotary’s fundraiser, which raises thousands of dollars each year for the purchase of new school uniforms for children in East Baton Rouge Parish through the Uniforms for Kids program sponsored by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. A silent auction was also held, with items provided by Sunrise Rotarians.

St. Vincent de Paul Garage Sale!

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ST. VINCENT DE PAUL ESSENTIAL NEEDS DISTRIBUTION CENTER

GARAGE SALE

 

1466 North St. Baton Rouge, La 70802

Monday, June 4 - Wednesday, June 6, 2018 

8:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Clothing, shoes, electronics, furniture, household items, antiques, vintage items, collectibles, tools, jewelry, seasonal items, books, accessories & much more.. 

 

Cash and credit cards only (NO CHECKS ACCEPTED)