Frequently Asked Questions
Our Society has a three-fold mission: to increase the spirituality of its members, to strenghten bonds of friendship of its members, and to assist in providing for the basic needs of our brothers and sisters in our community.
These basic needs may consist of financial or material needs, and emotional or spiritual support. Referrals made be made to other organizations to assist with these needs, including government agencies.
What type of help does the Society provide?
Our Society was established to increase the spirituality of its members through friendship and by providing for the basic needs of our brothers and sisters. The basic needs consist of spiritual and emotional support, and oftentimes financial support. We do refer people to other resources to meet basic needs, particularly government resources.
What does a person need to do to receive assistance?
If a person is in need they call the Society (715-398-4039) and leave a message. (If a person does not have access to a phone for contact, arrangements to connect with the Society can be made with the receptionist at the Catholic Charities building, 1416 Cumming Ave.) We make every attempt to contact the person as soon as possible, generally in the order calls are received. In this conversation, we listen to the needs of the person and direct them to other resources if they are available (particularly government resources).
If no other resources are available to meet the person's needs, then we arrange a team of two of our members to meet with them in their home. If they are homeless, we can arrange to meet with them at another location. At the time of this meeting, or shortly afterwards, a decision is made as to whether or not our Society is able to assist with the need.
Do you have a store?
Many people associate the Society of St. Vincent de Paul with second-hand stores. There was a store for many years in Superior and several stores in Duluth, all of which are now closed. A second-hand store is often a special work of the Society - the money raised from sales provide financial assistance to the poor and those in need can often receive goods through a voucher.
We decided when our conference was established in 2001 that we would not open a store - but rather, we gather donations of furniture, household goods and clothing and give them directly to those in need without cost. Items that are not useful to us are forwarded to the Damiano Center's free store in Duluth or to the SVDP store in Rice Lake.
If a person has items to donate or is in need they can call the Society (715-398-4039) to make arrangements to donate or receive items. Currently we have volunteers willing to pick up and deliver furniture.
How can I help?
We are always in need of members, however many people are not able to devote time to serve the poor at this time in their lives.
We are always in need of financial support. Our yearly budget is $50,000. We have an annual collection at the area Catholic churches which does supply a portion of these funds. We are grateful for all individual or corporate donations or fundraising done on our behalf.
We are always in need of help in organizing, sorting, dispersing and delivering donations. We also need volunteers to help with annual fundraisers and special events. We welcome individuals or groups who have an hour or two of time to help us in these efforts.
We accept donations of clothing, furniture, food, and household goods.
We are grateful for prayers for those we serve and for all who are bringing the love of Christ to the poor.
How can I become a member of the Society?
There are three types of membership in the Society: active, associate and contributing.
Active Members: Active members attend meetings twice a month to establish friendships, to grow in spirituality through prayer and to plan and review the works of the Society - particularly the contacts with those in need. Active members hold office or are willing to meet with those in need in their homes. There are no membership dues.
Associate Members: Associate members may not be able to attend meetings or meet with people in their homes - however, they may support the Society by assisting in other ways, such as delivering goods, organizing and dispersing donations, helping with annual or fundraising events, or in other ways supporting the work of the Society.
Contributing Members: Contributing members commit to the financial support of the Society with an annual or regular (i.e. monthly) donation.
If you are interested in membership in the Society, please call 715-398-4039 or attend one of our meetings at the Catholic Charities Building, 1416 Cumming Ave. at 6:00pm on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.