Building on Excellence

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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 svdpbr.org, call me at (225) 383-7837, extension O, or email me at macaldo@svdpbr.com.

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