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)

Beacons of Light 2018 Premier!

The great crew from Catholic Life TV has put together a terrific new season of Beacons of Light!  This season will highlight the great work of our volunteers, and Father Michael Alello will inspire us with a special spiritual message that captures our Vincentian Charism. 

Beacons of Light is a television series produced by Catholic Life Television of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. This television department, under the leadership of Mr. Steve Lee, provides our Vincentian family an opportunity to share our charitable programs with the greater community.  Jeff Cotten of Catholic Life Television worked especially hard to make this season special.  

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. We cover everything from our dining room to our innovative pharmacy, to our shelters and Myriam’s House, and all our other wonderful charitable outreach efforts.

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.

Searching for Jesus!

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During Holy Week, as we commemorate His last days on earth, people throughout the world are searching for Christ.  At St. Vincent de Paul, we see His face every day in those we are blessed to serve.
 
Two thousand years ago, He told us to love and care for one another, and that’s more important today than ever before.  Jesus was speaking across the ages to you and me when He said, “I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.”  In this simple statement, He told each of us where to find Him.  It is in Christ – the image of the invisible God – that we were created, and if we look beyond appearance, clothes, or status, we’ll see His beautiful face.
 
At St. Vincent de Paul, we see every person as a child of God, and it’s a privilege to serve them on His behalf.  The need is urgent, and the numbers are staggering.  Last year, we provided 27,000 guest nights of shelter; served 267,072 meals; and filled prescriptions worth more than a million dollars.  But we don’t care for numbers – we care for people.  We never forget that every number represents an individual with a name and a story. 
 
If you walked through our facilities, you might see a young mother rocking a baby at our Sweet Dreams Shelter.  In our dining room, an elderly man eats a hot meal with hands that are trembling – whether from age or hunger, it’s hard to tell.  At our pharmacy, a middle-aged woman opens a shabby purse and removes a prescription that should have been filled weeks ago.  These are the people we serve.  These are the faces of Christ.
 
To see the faces of the individuals who come to us – like those in the photos above – is to witness suffering and anxiety transformed into relief and joy.  A nourishing meal; a warm bed and the safety of four walls; a life-sustaining medication; these are all prayers that Christ is answering through people like you.
 
Every member of the St. Vincent de Paul family is responding to Christ’s command to reach out to those in need.  Young or old, rich or poor, we know that Christ resides in each of our guests and in the people who support our good works.
 
You are an important member of our St. Vincent de Paul family, and we want to express our gratitude for your past support with a heartfelt “Thank You!”  If you have not already given an Easter financial gift, we hope you will support our efforts and give online through our website donation page. Most importantly, we ask you to pray for those who come to us in desperate need. 
 
Christ still speaks to us, and His message remains unchanged:  “Love one another.”  This Easter, we pray that you will be able to sense His presence in everyone and everything around you. 

Our Faith In Action!

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The Baton Rouge Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will be featured on “Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul” Sunday, April 15 at 5:30 a.m. CDT and Saturday, April 21 at 5:00 p.m. CDT on EWTN. The show follows SVdP members on their spiritual growth journey through service to people and families in need.

 

To learn more about “Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” visit: http://www.svdpusa.org/members/ourfaithinaction

 

Live your faith with the Baton Rouge Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Learn more at https://www.svdpbr.org/.

 

Click here to find the EWTN station in your zip code: http://bit.ly/1lP3bmo.

Join us March 5th and March 19th for our Fill a Prescription For the Needy Fundraiser!

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Help support the Fill a Prescription For the Needy drive by stopping by the Baton Rouge Clinic on Monday, March 5th and March 19th, to purchase a jambalaya lunch for only $8.00! 
Meals include jambalaya, salad, bread, and dessert! Call us at (225) 383-7837 to pre-order. 

Our St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy is working hard (with the support of WBRZ News 2 and the Baton Rouge Clinic) this Lenten Season to seek out and assist the needy by providing a helping hand of hope to people who can’t afford their prescription medications.
Last year, our pharmacy filled prescriptions (free of charge for the needy) worth more than $1,175,142 for individuals who desperately needed a helping hand. 
The Fill a Prescription for the Needy Campaign is a response to this community need. WBRZ News 2 and the Baton Rouge Clinic have come together to ask you to fill a prescription for the needy. Consider doing so by supporting our Jambalaya lunch event, March 5th and March 19th, at Baton Rouge Clinic from 10:30am - 1:30pm.