HISTORY

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international, non-profit, charitable organization, which has a rich history of service to the needy of our community. Our mission, through person-to-person contact, mass feeding, sheltering and other channels, encompasses every form of aid which alleviates suffering and promotes dignity and integrity. All races, creeds, colors, origins, castes, opinions and genders are served.

The Society's history in Baton Rouge started in 1865 at St. Joseph Cathedral. Since the start of the St. Joseph St. Vincent de Paul Conference, our Society has been striving to recognize and meet the needs of the poor in our community. Today we have 21 conferences with 238 active members who regularly make home visits to help the poor.

In 1963, the Society opened the St. Vincent de Paul Store to assist the poor of our community. The store provides clothing, bedding, appliances, furniture and household items free of charge to those in need. We also provide employment opportunities for both developmentally disabled and mentally challenged individuals. Any revenues produced by the store are put back into our programs to assist the needy.

In 1982, the Society opened the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room. The dining room is the number one hot meal provider in our community and the only facility of its kind open seven days a week. We serve the homeless, elderly, transient and poor. In our 18 years of service, we have served over 1,500,000 meals. In 2001 alone, we served over 100,000 meals.

The original Bishop Ott Shelter opened in December of 1991. This program serves homeless men at its 2550 Plank Road location. In 1997, the Society opened the Bishop Ott Day Center and Night Shelter. We help the homeless find employment, improve their education, receive substance abuse treatment and get back on their feet. Our philosophy is not to give them an easy handout, but instead offer them an opportunity to get their lives back on track. This year, the Bishop Ott Shelter Program will help over 1,200 of the homeless by providing life skills education, money management, job counseling, parenting courses and housing assistance.

In 1995, the Society opened the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy. The pharmacy provides necessary prescription medicines free of charge to those who are unable to pay for them. We serve the poor, homeless and elderly. In 1999, our pharmacy dispensed over 31,000 prescriptions with a retail value of $880,000 to the poorest of the poor in our community, and this year, we will fill over 40,000 prescriptions worth over one million dollars.



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