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.