REGIONS BANK | VOTE FOR US!

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Regions Bank is running a major effort to help us get out the word about our wonderful charitable efforts!

Make a difference by voting in the Regions What a Difference a Day Makes contest. Sixteen nonprofits representing the communities served by Regions have been nominated to win $5,000 and receive 100 volunteer hours from Regions associates.

Our local St. Vincent de Paul group is one of the non-profits selected. We are honored to be selected, but we need your help.

Vote for St. Vincent de Paul for What a Difference A Day Makes!!

https://www.doingmoretoday.com/what-a-difference/

Your vote could equal $5,000 for St. Vincent de Paul, and we need it!

Please vote for us on your computer, iphone and spread the word to your family and friends! We need your vote!

Yes, you can vote once a day!

Thanksgiving Recipe for Success

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 As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families and friends, it’s time to bring out those tried and true recipes – those special salads, casseroles, and desserts that must be on the holiday table every year.  But we also look forward to sampling new dishes and, by the end of the meal, we’ll know if we have a new favorite to add to next year’s menu.
 
At St. Vincent de Paul, we’re ready to put our tried and true recipes together, but we’re also adding something new to our recipe for success. 

On November 23rd, Thanksgiving Day, we will begin a new tradition: serving the annual Thanksgiving meal at the Raising Cane River Center in the tradition of Holiday Helpers.  Constable Reginald Brown and the founders of Holiday Helpers have officially passed the torch to St. Vincent de Paul.  

What a blessing it is to be a part of this effort, which has touched the lives of the needy for the past 30 years.  In addition to taking over the leadership of this Thanksgiving event at the River Center, we will continue our tradition of serving a holiday meal to the poor and homeless at our St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room, continuing that 35-year tradition. 

Why do both?  To ensure that we provide maximum coverage of our community on this special day.  For individuals who have no families to share this special day with, for students and travelers away from home, for the needy throughout our community, including those who have eaten at the River Center in past years, we will be there for them.  For the homeless who live at our St. Vincent de Paul shelters, for others who live near our main charitable campus, we will be there for them. 
 
We are so thankful for Constable Brown and all the leaders of Holiday Helpers for passing on this important responsibility to us.  We are very excited to be able to continue their tradition of excellence.  We ask everyone to join us in praying for those we are blessed to serve, and please pray for our small staff and volunteers as we work with Constable Brown to ensure the continued success of this effort for many years to come. 
 
Again this year, we want to thank the Congregation B’Nai Israel for doing their annual Turkey Train, collecting enough turkeys to ensure that we can continue this Thanksgiving tradition.  Annually, the synagogue is the single largest contributor of turkeys for our Thanksgiving meal service to the poor.  Their help is even more critical this year because of our new responsibilities with Holiday Helpers.  At St. Vincent de Paul, the most critical ingredient in our Thanksgiving recipe is you – our supporters – who make our work possible.  Our needy guests are so grateful for the meals you make possible. 

SWEET DREAMS SHELTER EXPANSION!

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When St. Vincent de Paul finishes a new project, it’s similar to the long-awaited birth of a child.  There’s a lot of anticipation and excitement as we approach the “due date” and a celebration when the big day finally arrives.  Well, it’s almost time to celebrate the completion of our expanded Sweet Dreams Shelter for women and children.

Construction is going well, and progress is being made every day.  We’ll soon be opening the doors to this new facility, but the main reason for our excitement is knowing the impact this expansion will make in the lives of homeless mothers and children.
 
So many of the people we serve have lost everything, and all they have left is hope.  Many of them have a deep faith in God, and our faith in God is what enables us to respond to the needs of the poor and homeless.  Of course, we want to provide basic necessities like food, shelter, winter coats, and medicine to the needy, but we also want to give them hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
 
Mother Teresa once said that, at the end of our lives, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we received, how much money we made, or the great things we did.  Instead, we will be judged by our response to these words, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me…”  That’s our mission at St. Vincent de Paul, to respond to those words. 
 
Once we identify a need, we do our best to respond as Christ would want us to.  In 2001, we opened the Bishop Ott Sweet Dreams Shelter in response to the needs of homeless women and children.  As the years passed, we realized that the shortage of permanent, affordable housing in our community was reaching a critical point and, even before the 2016 flood damaged so many homes, we had plans drawn up to expand this shelter. 
 
As we prepare to open this important new facility (the most significant expansion of services to homeless mothers, children and families in the last sixteen years), we ask you to pray for those we serve and for the success of this new facility.  You can also assist in this effort by donating any of the items listed in the Bishop Ott Shelter Collection article.   Many of the things we take for granted will mean so much to the dignity of someone who is homeless. 
 
We encourage you to share this list with your family and friends, as well as co-workers and church members.  These items will make a real difference to people who have lost everything.  And, yes, we are still in need of donations to help us cover the cost of this expansion.  As we mentioned in a previous newsletter, we need to replace the roof on the 1997 part of this facility.  An anonymous donor has given us a $50,000 challenge grant, which will help us to raise the $100,000 needed to replace the old roof.  For every contribution given toward this roof replacement, the anonymous donor will match it dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000, which will help us to cover the entire roofing cost.  Please pray for this project, and spread this news.  We need everyone to help us serve this vulnerable population.

Getting Involved in St. Vincent de Paul!

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Community leaders have always been challenged to be visionaries, to find a way to turn a vision into a reality. Thirty years ago, Constable Reginald Brown, Karen Lord, and the
founders of Holiday Helpers, made a shared vision come to life in Baton Rouge and, since then, everyone in our community has known where they could go for a great meal on Thanksgiving Day. Recognizing a need back in 1987, Constable Brown and the founders of Holiday Helpers began an effort that soon became an annual Thanksgiving tradition. Initially, this community event was held in local hotel ballrooms, but quickly grew beyond that venue and was moved to the Centroplex, now known as the Raising Cane’s River Center.

We, too, serve a traditional holiday meal on Thanksgiving Day, but the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday following Thanksgiving are also some of our busiest days here at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room. From that first Holiday Helpers event in November of 1987, Constable Brown and Holiday Helpers have generously donated any leftovers from their event to be served at our dining room after Thanksgiving Day. They have always shared our philosophy that nothing should be wasted.

Our community has come together for 30+ years for the Holiday Helpers event. Now, Constable Brown and St. Vincent de Paul have decided to come together, organizationally, and let St. Vincent de Paul continue their tradition of excellence. With the support of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, on Thursday, November 23, 2017 (and every Thanksgiving thereafter), we will serve a Thanksgiving meal at the River Center in the tradition of Holiday Helpers. We will also continue to serve our traditional Thanksgiving meal at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room. Both of these meals will ensure that we provide maximum coverage of our community on this special day. For individuals who have no families to share this special day with, for the needy throughout our community, including those who have eaten at the River Center in past years, we will be there for them. For the homeless who live at our St. Vincent de Paul shelters, for others who live near our main charitable campus, we will be there for them. We have made a commitment to Constable Brown; the founders of Holiday Helpers; Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome; and Michael Day, River Center General Manager; that this annual event will continue. Their involvement will be critical as this effort continues through St. Vincent de Paul. Every one of those community leaders is an example for us all to follow.

More information will be forthcoming as we work with Holiday Helpers to continue this community tradition. If you would like to help or support this great community activity, please send an email to Michael Acaldo at macaldo@svdpbr.com. 

Sweet Dreams Shelter

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HOPE LIVES HERE!

Since opening in 2001, our Bishop Ott Sweet Dreams Shelter has helped thousands of homeless women and children. Unfortunately, this vulnerable population has increased over the years, and to meet this growing demand, construction is under way on a new addition that will double our bed capacity from 36 to 72. The expanded facility is scheduled to open before Christmas.

Our shelter is more than just a home.  It is also the first step toward a brighter future. Children like Precious, Libby, Annie, Al, and Herman have had difficult lives, and their needs are very simple – love and security. But we want to give all of the children one more thing: that intangible and priceless thing called hope. It can put a smile on a child’s face and help them forget about the nightmare of homelessness.

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This beautiful little girl is pointing to a special place in our community, a place where hope lives – our Bishop Ott Sweet Dreams Shelter.  For her, this was home for a short time.  Calling a shelter home has to be difficult, but a young child once said that our shelter seemed like heaven to her.  It is, compared to the streets.  That’s where many of the women and children we serve come from – straight from the streets – or if they’re lucky, from sleeping in their cars.  Our newly expanded shelter will allow us to say “yes” to so many more who are facing the nightmare of homelessness. They need your help more than ever before.

 

THE STREETS ARE NO PLACE TO CALL HOME!

Below is a Sweet Dreams prayer, and that’s our first request to you – to print it out and pray!  We can’t do this work without prayers.  Another thing we can’t do without is resources, so please consider making a financial gift.  Please go to the Donate button and make a Sweet Dreams financial donation.  If you can’t afford to give at this time, please pray for the homeless and remember to give when you can.

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Lord God, Giver of Life,

Fill us with your Spirit.

Use our hands to shelter the homeless;

Use our hearts to enable sweet dreams;

Use our voices to end homelessness.

May our actions improve life for others

And reflect your abundant love.

Through Christ our Lord, AMEN.

- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul | Serving our Community Since 1865

UPDATE: Beacons of Light TV Show!

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Beacons of Light is a television series produced by Catholic Life Television of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. This television ministry, under the leadership of Mr. Steve Lee, provides our Vincentian family an opportunity to share our charitable programs with the greater community. 

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. New programs will be on soon, but if you want to see some of our past programs you can go to http://www.catholiclifetv.org/shows/beacons-of-light/#.Wdax-RXyu1s .

You’ll see some of the volunteers that are so critical to our efforts, but more importantly, you’ll also see some of our guests that wanted to share their stories about how they overcame challenges that most of us will never have to face – poverty, hunger and homelessness – obstacles they were able to overcome with the help of people like you. It really has been a unique experience for our local Society – the first in the nation to have its own television series. It’s been challenging, but we’ve been up to the challenge because of the great volunteers and supporters of the Society. 

Our weekly schedule is listed below: 

  • Sunday at 3:00 p.m. (CT)
  • Monday at 7:00 p.m. (CT) 
  • Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. (CT) 
  • Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. (CT) 
  • Saturday at 8:00 p.m. (CT)

September 2017

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We are now in the process of making furniture selections and ordering furnishings.  As we mentioned in our Sweet Dreams article, the need for shelter for homeless women and children (the primary focus of this expansion) continues to increase.  The flood of 2016 wiped out so much permanent, affordable housing, and we know it will be years before that housing is replaced.  That means that this need will continue for many years.  

As we mentioned in a previous newsletter, we need to replace the roof on the 1997 part of this facility with a new one.  An anonymous donor has given us a $50,000 challenge grant, which will help us to raise the $100,000 needed to replace this roof.  For every contribution given toward this roof replacement, the anonymous donor will match it dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000, which will help us to cover the entire roofing cost.  This is critical to us as we work diligently to serve the homeless.  

In addition to the financial support we need to make this project a reality, any individual or group that would like to collect some of the items we’ll need once we open this new facility (towels, linens, draperies, etc.) can contact St. Vincent de Paul by sending an email to macaldo@svdpbr.com or by calling us at (225) 383-7837, extension O.  Please continue to keep this effort in your thoughts and prayers.

August 2017

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Community leaders have always been challenged to be visionaries, to find a way to turn a vision into a reality.  Thirty years ago, Constable Reginald Brown, Karen Lord, and the founders of Holiday Helpers, made a shared vision come to life in Baton Rouge and, since then, everyone in our community has known where they could go for a great meal on Thanksgiving Day. 

 

Recognizing a need back in 1987, Constable Brown and the founders of Holiday Helpers began an effort that soon became an annual Thanksgiving tradition.  Initially, this community event was held in local hotel ballrooms, but quickly grew beyond that venue and was moved to the Centroplex, now known as the Raising Cane’s River Center. 

 

We, too, serve a traditional holiday meal on Thanksgiving Day, but the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday following Thanksgiving are also some of our busiest days here at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room.  From that first Holiday Helpers event in November of 1987, Constable Brown and Holiday Helpers have generously donated any leftovers from their event to be served at our dining room after Thanksgiving Day.  They have always shared our philosophy that nothing should be wasted. 

 

Our community has come together for 30+ years for the Holiday Helpers event.  Now, Constable Brown and St. Vincent de Paul have decided to come together, organizationally, and let St. Vincent de Paul continue their tradition of excellence.  With the support of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, on Thursday, November 23, 2017 (and every Thanksgiving thereafter), we will serve a Thanksgiving meal at the River Center in the tradition of Holiday Helpers.  We will also continue to serve our traditional Thanksgiving meal at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room.

 

We have made a commitment to Constable Brown, the founders of Holiday Helpers, and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome that this annual event will continue.  Their continued involvement will be critical as the founders of Holiday Helpers support this effort through the St. Vincent de Paul Thanksgiving meal.  Every one of those community leaders are examples for us all to follow. 

 

More information will be forthcoming as we work with Holiday Helpers to continue this community tradition.  If you would like to help or support this great community activity, please send an email to Michael Acaldo at macaldo@svdpbr.com.  We are so thankful for all our supporters who make our work a reality!

BEACONS OF LIGHT TV SHOW


Be sure to tune in and catch our next St. Vincent de Paul Beacons of Light television show on Catholic Life Channel 15. Our weekly schedule on Cox Cable of Baton Rouge is:

SUNDAY @ 3pm

MONDAY @ 7pm

TUESDAY @ 1pm

WEDNESDAY @ 9pm

SATURDAY @ 8pm

We thank Bishop Muench and the Catholic Life Channel 15 for generously producing this great show for us!