Question: So tell us a little about your organization and who you aim to help.
Answer: The St. Vincent de Paul Center, located at 115 W. Fifth St., is a ministry of St. Brigid's Catholic Church. The center is staffed by over 90 non-paid volunteers from all areas of the community.
The mission of the Center is to serve the neediest clients that are residences of Hanford and Armona, regardless of religious affiliation, with emergency food, clothing and other supportive services, pledging to always be good stewards of provided resources.
The Center's philosophy is that clients, donors, and volunteers will always be treated with respect, courtesy, kindness and professionalism. The St. Vincent de Paul Center has been providing services from its current location since 2005.
The Center is open Monday through Friday (holidays excluded) from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Q: Do you have fundraisers throughout the year and if so what are they?
A: The St. Vincent de Paul Center has five fundraisers each year:
- In August we have “Macy’s Shop for a Cause.” The tickets are $5 with a chance to win a $500 shopping Spree at Macy’s. All money goes to purchase food for the food pantry.
- In September we hold a shredding event held – “Secure Your ID Day.” During this fundraiser (scheduled for Sept. 12 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) shredding trucks arrive at the center to accept boxes of paperwork from any business, individual, or organization with materials needing to be shredded to maintain informational security. The first two boxes (banker's box size) are free, and a donation of $3 is requested for each additional box. Shredding is done on site and certificates of secure shredding are provided. In the past shredding has been done for major corporations, schools, businesses, private individuals, and various agencies.
- SVdP Yard Sales - The Center has recently revived a monthly yard sale in the back parking lot of the Center. The next sale will be on Aug. 8.
- Boutiques – We hold three boutique sales held in conjunction with our Open House (Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.), our Christmas Boutique (Dec. 4) and Mother's Day Boutique (May 7, 2016).
- The fourth Sunday of each month is designated St. Vincent de Paul Sunday at St. Brigid's Catholic Church, and a separate collection basket is available at the altar for monetary donations to the Center.
Q: How is the money that is donated/received used?
A: Money donated and received from the fundraisers is mainly used to cover the cost of food provided to clients. The Center purchases food from the Fresno Community Food Bank and local businesses.
Fifteen percent of funds received are used to support the operation of the Center with such items as copy paper, ink, clothing tags, labels, produce and paper bags for food, diapers and items needed for the maintenance of the Center and its equipment.
The Center has applied for and received grant money to support specific large item needs such as commercial refrigerators, freezers, computer technology equipment, for client tracking, benches for clients at the front of our building, awnings, flooring, new doors and even women's underwear.
Q: What are some of the things your organization is in need of?
A: The center always needs additional funds toward our food costs; donations of new boxes of disposable diapers in all sizes, new underwear for men and women, men's pants, larger sized clothing (XL or larger), bedding - mainly larger sized sheets and blankets (queen and king), kitchen cookware, and small, working, kitchen appliances, silverware, kitchen and bathroom linens; food items not able to be purchased through the food bank - tuna, peanut butter, canned fruits, boxed complete meals, etc. For the homeless served, the Center needs sleeping bags, tents, and duffle-type bags.
Q: How can people volunteer and donate?
A: Monetary donation checks or cash may be made out to the St. Vincent de Paul Center and mailed to or dropped off at the St. Brigid's Catholic Church office on at 220 E. Florinda Ave. You may also donate online at www.svdphanford.org
Donations of food, clean clothing, linens and household items may be dropped off at the southwest door of the Center on Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. We ask that donors do not leave items at the door if the Center is closed and ask that donations be dropped off no later than 2:30 p.m. if at all possible so the volunteers can sort the donations prior to closing.
Those wishing to volunteer are asked to call or stop by the center on Monday, Tuesday, or Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to meet with the volunteer coordinator and complete a volunteer application form.
Many of the volunteers at the Center are seniors and are signed up with the RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) - Hands On California program and volunteer approximately four hours per week. Volunteer work schedules are from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 12:30-4 p.m.
Volunteer duties include sorting and bagging food and produce, preparing food carts for clients, assisting clients in the "Store" clothing area, receiving, sorting, tagging, hanging clothes and shelving various items, as well as welcoming and guiding clients through the intake process, verifying client eligibility and doing data entry.
Volunteers are also welcome who are only available for a short term or who are in need of completing community service hours for schools, courts, or medical rehabilitation programs.