Save a Life Today!

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Our St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy provides a solution for low-income individuals who cannot keep pace with the rising cost of prescription medicine.  We are seeing more people who are breaking tablets in half and skipping doses of life-sustaining medicines in a desperate attempt to make ends meet.  

            The theme for this year’s Fill a Prescription for the Needy effort is, “You can Save a Life Today.”  That powerful statement says a lot about the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy.  Our pharmacy fills life-sustaining prescriptions, providing medicines for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses. 

            Without a doubt, there are people who are alive today because of the good work of our pharmacy and our volunteers and financial supporters.  The people that support our work are very generous, but they also understand that there is no single answer to the critical issue of healthcare.

            When we ask patients, “What were you doing before you came to us?” the answers are sometimes shocking.  Too often, they were skipping doses or breaking tablets in half.  They may take a particular medication today and skip it tomorrow.  That’s not what their doctor prescribed, and it can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.  Proper medication, especially for serious chronic illnesses, can determine whether someone will be able to live independently or in a nursing home.  Every prescription we fill is improving their quality of life, and in many instances, is literally keeping someone alive. 

            We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who support our Fill a Prescription for the Needy campaign.  We particularly want to thank Pat Shingleton and WBRZ-Channel 2 for their continued commitment to this important effort.  We are also very grateful to the leaders and physicians at the Baton Rouge Clinic for their ongoing support of this campaign.  Our supporters are helping us to raise critical dollars for people whose lives literally hang in the balance. 


             Anyone who wants to help us save a life by filling a prescription for the needy can do so by sending contributions to: Fill a Prescription for the Needy, P. O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821 or give online by clicking the link below. Thank you again for your prayers and support.

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A Lenten Journey!

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Beginning of your Lenten Journey

There is no better time than the Lenten Season to think about the direction of our lives, our relationship with God, and our interaction with those around us. During this time of reflection and sacrifice, we strive to put aside materialism and envy, counting our blessings for the things we truly need.

As for the volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve others, and for the people who come into our lives through this service. Otherwise, we might never have met the thousands of needy and homeless individuals we help in the course of a year. Every person we serve reminds us that life is a precious gift, and that every individual is a child of God.

The people we serve are so thankful for the help we give them, and they count their blessings for things that most of us take for granted. Your support enables us to continue Christ’s ministry, and we count our blessings for you.

In addition to giving up something for Lent, consider just giving of your time, talent and treasure to making the world a better place.

We hope that your blessings during this Lenten season are too numerous to count and that your spiritual life is filled with faith and God’s love during this holiest of seasons.

Ways You Can Help the Needy this Lenten Season!

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 We invite you and your loved ones to the 23rd Annual Count Your Blessings Supper at Our Lady of Mercy’s Activity Center on Friday, March 2nd, at 7:00 p.m.  This Lenten tradition is a wonderful opportunity for us to get together and count our blessings. 
            Chef John Folse and Bishop Robert Muench will be there to serve you and your family a delicious soup – and in the Lenten tradition – bread and water.Come prepared for a wonderful program put together by John Pastorek, WBRZ-Channel 2.  You’re sure to enjoy this evening of good food, great company and an outstanding program.  You will also be helping us to raise critically needed dollars for our charitable work. 
            At St. Vincent de Paul, we count our blessings for you and your support.  Whether through prayer, volunteerism, or financial contributions, your support means so much to us and the people we serve.  One of the greatest gifts we receive from God is the ability to be a blessing in someone else’s life.  In a true sense, you are a blessing to the people who come to St. Vincent de Paul for a helping hand.  Your support makes the daily miracles of food, clothing, shelter and medicine a reality for those in need. 
            This Lenten season, we hope you will come and count your blessings with us.  Below you will find a ticket form for the event.  We look forward to seeing you at Our Lady of Mercy for a very special, faith-filled evening.

 
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$1 Million Construction Grant Announced!

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On January 29th, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced that $1 million in disaster recovery funds will be dedicated to a new Day and Disaster/Emergency Shelter facility. The new 3,500 square foot building will be constructed on the St. Vincent de Paul Campus. It will be utilized as a day and disaster/emergency shelter and will increase the number of individuals and families served by providing 36 additional bed accommodations.

“Recent winter weather events have reinforced the need for additional emergency shelters in our parish,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “We are so pleased that St. Vincent de Paul, a tremendous partner and resource for our region, is the recipient of these funds, and we look forward to the grand opening of the expanded shelter next year.”

The space will have the capacity to be converted to emergency shelter during adverse weather conditions, with adequate beds, bathroom and laundry facilities for the expanded populations. Equipment and supplies needed to furnish the building and outfit the facility for emergencies will be purchased as well.

"We are so excited about being a part of the Mayor's vision of responding to the needs of the homeless," said Michael Acaldo, President & CEO of St. Vincent de Paul. "We believe this new facility will position our community for success in responding to the needs of the homeless during cold winter nights, as well as hurricanes and other disasters."

Groundbreaking on this project is expected to take place in June of this year with an anticipated completion date of June 2019.

“By expanding capacity at St. Vincent de Paul’s main campus with a new-construction disaster shelter, we will be able to provide our homeless population with a safe harbor during disaster events,” Office of Community Development Executive Director Pat Forbes said. “The state is committed to sheltering our most vulnerable residents during emergency conditions and is pleased that East Baton Rouge Parish is using $1 million in Community Development Block Grant funding for this important project.”

Sweet Dreams Coming True!

In our last newsletter, we reported that the opening of our Sweet Dreams Shelter expansion was imminent.  Unfortunately, the project ran into some minor construction challenges in the final days before Christmas, which delayed our contractor’s ability to schedule all the final inspections.  Those inspections could not occur until after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.  In January, all of the inspections were completed, and we now have our Certificate of Occupancy. 
 
As you may recall, our project was out for bids when the flood hit on August 12, 2016.  The flood greatly impacted the bids for this project, and the bids came in higher than expected.  Our architect, Bob Lunsford, negotiated with the lowest bidder to reduce costs and come closer to the original budget, which allowed us to move forward with the effort.
 
We took a leap of faith to begin this project and broke ground on March 27, 2017.  The flood didn’t stop this project and neither did the delays at the end of last year.  This expansion adds more than 40 additional beds to our current facility, expanding our ability to serve the homeless.
 
We anticipate an official opening, blessing and dedication shortly.  We are so excited about what this facility is doing for homeless families.  Homeless women and children will continue to be our focus.  They need our help, and this facility will provide the hope, shelter and services they need. 
 
Our total bed capacity for families will increase to over 80 with this project.  The exciting news from the Mayor’s Office will add an additional 36 beds for cold nights and other weather related emergencies.  That will bring our total bed capacity to 116 for families.  Our current bed capacity for men is 88.  Our total bed capacity (men, women and children) will jump to 204. 
 
We thank all of you for your support of this project!  We especially thank the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and St. Aloysius Catholic Church for their substantial investment in this project.  More information on the generous individuals and families who have contributed to this project will be forthcoming in our next newsletter. 

Wasn't Christmas Just a Few Days Ago?

It seems like just yesterday that we were wrapping Christmas presents, and here we are in Lent.  Of course, the 2018 Lenten season falls earlier than usual.  This also means that there’s just a small window of time to prepare for Easter.  With every passing year, it seems that time goes by faster and faster.  Is it because we’re all so busy that the days seem to fly by?  Despite the hectic pace of today’s world, we are thankful that so many good people make the time to give of themselves – sharing their time, talent and treasure with the less fortunate. 
 
This Christmas season was spectacular!  You could really feel the Christmas spirit throughout our many charitable works.  At our pharmacy, staff, volunteers and guests got into the spirit of things with a Christmas tree.  The waiting area was filled with smiling faces, and the adults were just thrilled to receive their prescription medicines.  At our shelters, clothes and toiletry items were given out to the men and women, and every child received several gifts. 
 
If only you could have been here the Saturday before Christmas when Bishop Muench came out and distributed gifts to needy children.  What a great day that was!  From our Dining Room doors, the line extended all the way down the street, around the corner and down Florida Boulevard.  Eager boys and girls waited patiently to see what “Santa” had for them.  We thank Sylvia Weatherspoon, WBRZ- Channel 2 and Chick-fil-a for making it all possible.  Over 4,000 Christmas gifts were distributed! 
 
On Christmas Day, we again had a long line of people waiting outside our Dining Room, this time to share a traditional Christmas feast.  Our volunteers served up heaping plates of turkey with all the trimmings and made sure that no one left hungry – over 800 meals were served. 
 
We are constantly reminded that St. Vincent de Paul is more than just a city block containing buildings.  Our organization is a family of people who care about what’s going on in our area and recognize that each of us is a special gift from God.  When we see someone in need – whether they are hungry, in need of clothing, shelter or medicine – we are all called to respond and extend a helping hand-up.

St. Vincent de Paul's Dining Room continued it's tradition of never missing a meal!

Essential volunteers showed up today in full force to help Denise Terrance and Hilda Kelly serve a meal to people in need. We anticipate serving a couple of hundred people who had nowhere else to turn for a hot meal. 

Since opening in July of 1982, our dining room has not missed a meal. Our dining room serves everyday of the year. 

By our count, we have served a meal on over 12,000 consecutive days in a row! In our history, we have served millions of meals, and just last year served over 260,000.

We receive donations of food from individuals, supermarkets, restaurants and bakeries, as well as the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. 

Occasionally, we serve food donated by local restaurants but, typically, our small kitchen staff and volunteers prepare tasty dishes from donated items such as poultry, beef, beans, pasta, rice, canned goods, fresh vegetables and fruit. 

Funding to buy the food items that are not donated and to pay for expenses such as utilities comes primarily from individual donations.

St. Vincent de Paul's Bishop Ott Shelter Program is bracing for the upcoming hard freeze.

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St. Vincent de Paul's Bishop Ott Shelter Program is bracing for the upcoming hard freeze. 

 

We will expand bed capacity and anticipate serving over 100 homeless men, women and children tonight and for the cold nights to come.  In 2017, we provided day and night shelter services to over 1,200 men, women and children, and provided over 25,000 guest nights of shelter.

 

We are prepared to accommodate homeless men, women, and children in need of shelter during this cold weather. Our freeze plan will continue through the freezing temperatures this coming week. 

 

As a community leading homeless services provider, our shelter program operates three night shelters (with a 120 + bed capacity) and one homeless day center. We currently operate two emergency shelters for men and one for homeless women and children. We expect to fill all beds and will make room for emergency cases. Our Day Center will provide a warm place for homeless women and children.

 

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 remarkable 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 Society of St. Vincent de Paul is one of Baton Rouge's oldest charitable institutions, serving our community 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.

Dr. Martin Luther King!

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As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we remember the importance of serving those in need.  Dr. King once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?"

At St. Vincent de Paul, we are dedicated to feeding, clothing, housing and healing individuals and families in our community who have nowhere else to turn for help. But just as important, we help others serve their neighbors in need through different volunteer opportunities. And we believe that everyone can help someone regardless of age or economic background.

Join us in following the example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, by serving those most in need in our Capital Region.  

Every day at our St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room, we serve nutritious meals to hundreds of individuals and families. 

Every night at our Bishop Ott Shelter Program, we provide shelter to homeless men, women and children.

Every day and night we are working to make our community a better place for those in need.  Volunteer today, and do something for someone in need.  Together we can and do make a difference!

Click here to learn about our many volunteer opportunities and find out how you can sign up today and get involved in our community mission!

Give the Best Gift of All.... Yourself!

In 2018, Give the Best Gift of All – Yourself!

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.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Dining Room Volunteers – Help with our bags of hope program and 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 or email us at volunteers@svdpbr.com, or call us today at (225) 383-7837, ext. 207.

Visit us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @svdpbatonrouge !

Make a great New Year's Resolution and get involved with St. Vincent de Paul!

New Year!

Happy New Year! A new year gives us all an opportunity to cherish the memories of the past and look forward to a future filled with hope and excitement. 

As I reflect back on my 28 years at St. Vincent de Paul, I feel so very blessed to have had the opportunity to serve so many people in need. As I start my 29th year, I have so many good memories. In 2003, I wrote the below article for our Vincentian Charities Newsletter. It captures one of my countless memories of the importance of our work, and how everyone makes a difference through our mission of charity. 

I hope you enjoy the article, and thank you for helping us to provide hope and help to so many of the poor and homeless in our Capital City.

“One of the things I love most about my job is the opportunity to go out into the community and share the story of the Society. Through the years I have given countless talks to professional groups, civic clubs, and social organizations. Most of the time, people are very receptive to the message of the Society, but occasionally I run into a tough crowd – usually a group of individuals who might not know about our work in the community or might think that we just give hand-outs. About eight months ago, I had a special speaking opportunity and I really wanted to do well. The day came, and I went to speak to this group of 24 individuals. It turned out to be a really tough group, and I bombed. 

The group was my daughter, Madison’s pre-K class, and I believe my message was too simple for today’s sophisticated kids. Fortunately, being the father of twins, I had 30 days to prepare myself for the next presentation to my oldest twin daughter, Miranda’s class. Over the next 30 days, as I thought through what I wanted to say, I came up with nothing. The day came and I walked into the classroom, basically praying that God would help me with this important message. As I stood in front of the classroom, a question suddenly popped into my mind. I asked the class, “What does it mean to be rich?” 

24 little hands went up. One of the pre-schoolers said that to be rich meant that you have a lot of money in the bank. Another said that you have lots of toys. Without exception, all the answers were about material wealth. I told the kids, “Yes, those are all ways that you can be rich, but who wants to know the most important place to be rich?” Again, 24 hands shot into the air and you could have heard a pin drop. I said, “The most important place to be rich is in your heart. How many of you want to know how to get rich in the heart?” 24 little hands went up again. Like little sponges, they absorbed every word as I told them the way to be truly wealthy is by giving and sharing with your family, your friends and the less fortunate. The kids got the message and with the help of their teachers held a toy collection for our shelter.

During this holiday season, I would like to thank each member of our St. Vincent de Paul family for having rich hearts, for giving of yourselves, for unselfishly sharing your time, talent and treasure with the less fortunate of our community.

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

St. Vincent de Paul Anticipates Providing Shelter to Over 100 Tonight!

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St. Vincent de Paul Anticipates Providing Shelter to Over 100 Tonight

As a community leading homeless services provider, St. Vincent de Paul's Bishop Ott Shelter Program provided shelter to nearly 100 homeless men, women and children last night. We anticipate serving well over 100 tonight.

In 2017, we provided day and night shelter services to over 1,200 men, women and children, and provided over 25,000 guest nights of shelter.

We put our freeze plan into effect before this past New Year’s Day weekend, and continue to be prepared to accommodate homeless men, women, and children in need of shelter during this cold weather. Our freeze plan will continue through the first week of January.

Our program operates three night shelters (with a 120 + bed capacity) and one homeless day center. We currently operate two emergency shelters for men and one for homeless women and children. We expect to fill all beds and will make room for emergency cases. Our Day Center will provide a warm place for homeless women and children. 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 remarkable 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.

In addition, the opening of our Sweet Dreams Shelter for women and children expansion is projected to open in January. This expansion will add more than 40 additional beds to our 36-bed facility, significantly expanding our ability to serve the homeless. We are so excited about opening the doors of this new facility which is so need in our community.

Cold temperatures always put extra stress on the limited resources and volunteers of our small non-profit. Individuals interested in assisting the homeless can do so by supporting current shelter needs. We currently need: blankets, adult coats; 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, full, & crib size sheets; paper products (napkins, paper towels, toilet paper); disposable cups, plates, bowls, knives, forks, and spoons; and rain gear. Call us at 383-7837 for more information.

Financial contributions can be made to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul atP.O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821- 0127or on-line at https://svdpbr.org/. Individuals interested in volunteering can call us at(225) 383-7837, ext. 0.

Beat the Tax Clock for St. Vincent de Paul

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Have you made your gift to St. Vincent de Paul yet this year?  If you haven’t, you still have time to make your gift and receive a tax deduction for 2017. We ask you to consider making a financial gift this year to support our efforts as we serve over 250,000 meals annually, fill more than 10,000 prescriptions and provide over 25,000 guest nights of shelter to homeless men, women and children.  The size of your gift doesn’t matter; it’s sure to be a perfect fit. 

 

 

Two Ways to make your gift before the end of the year: 

  • Mail your gift to St. Vincent de Paul at P.O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821 and have it postmarked by December 31, 2017.
  • Make your gift online, using the link below, before midnight December 31, 2017. 

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The Society of St. Vincent de Paul needs car, boat, camper and motor-home donations.  Proceeds will benefit the poor and homeless served by the Bishop Ott Shelter Program, Myriam’s House, St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy and St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room.  Call us at (225) 383-7837, extension 0, today!

O Holy Night

These three simple words – O Holy Night – bring such vivid images to mind night long ago, in the humblest of settings, when Mary and Joseph knelt beside a newborn child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Much has changed since then, but over 2,000 years later, we still celebrate the birth of the child called Jesus.

When I was a child, I thought of Christmas as a one-day celebration. I hated for the day to end, knowing that I had to wait 364 days for the next one. As I grew older, my perception of Christmas changed dramatically, and I realized that Christmas doesn’t end at midnight on December 25th. This is much more than a date on the calendar. Every Christmas is a link to the past, a state of mind, a time of joy, but above all else, a celebration of faith. Christmas is a season that can last year-round.

My 28 Christmases at St. Vincent de Paul have certainly given me a new perspective on the spirit of Christmas. Because people see me on television talking about St. Vincent de Paul, I’m often given credit for the good work of our organization, but it’s our supporters, volunteers, and staff that truly deserve the credit. Over the years, I’ve seen a level of love, compassion, and generosity that may peak on Christmas Day, but it’s constant throughout the year. That’s the reason St. Vincent de Paul is the community leader in providing hot meals, clothing, shelter, prescription medicines – and so much more.

We love to share information about the good work we do, but publicity is not our goal. Our goal is to make our community a better place for the needy; to provide basic necessities to the poor and homeless; to give a hand-up to people that have nowhere else to turn – to do what is right and good. And we don’t limit our good works to one day or one season. We’re doing our best to keep the Christmas spirit alive 365 days a year.

If you’ve never visited the St. Vincent de Paul main charitable campus; if you’ve never volunteered at one of our programs, I encourage you to consider doing so. If you are interested in visiting or volunteering, you can send an email to me at macaldo@svdpbr.com or call (225) 383-7837, extension O, for more information. A great New Year’s resolution in 2018 would be to get involved in St. Vincent de Paul.

Our challenge is to keep the Christmas spirit of giving, caring, and sharing alive all year long, and you can be a part of our efforts. To every member of the St. Vincent de Paul family, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks. To our current – and future – supporters, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

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

A Way to Help St. Vincent de Paul and Save on Taxes

Did you know that if you are 701⁄2 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 and a portion to another charity, 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 1⁄2 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 macaldo@svdpbr.com or call (225) 383-7837, ext. O. And remember, always consult with a tax professional before you make a gift of this nature.