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Society of St. Vincent de Paul 2023 year-in-review

Updated: Jan 9

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul – Amherstburg conference successfully completed our 70th year of assisting the poor and needy in our community with love, respect, compassion and joy.

Thanks to Father Kucharski and the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Church, the 24th annual “giving tree” project helped 35 families and 72 children receive toys and food during this difficult Christmas season. Thanks to chairperson Janice Ferguson for a job well done.

The calls for assistance have risen dramatically. In 2021, we answered 264 calls involving 461 adults and 255 children. In 2023, the helpline received 420 calls for assistance with 846 adults and 350 children receiving food and vouchers as well as other forms of emergency help. There were 92 “new families” who required our assistance.

This would not be possible without the generosity of many schools, organizations and businesses. 

The teachers and students at Stella Maris, Amherstburg Public, École St. Jean the Baptiste, North Star and Villanova schools were very generous to have food drives which kept our shelves constantly being replenished.

We also wish to acknowledge the Amherstburg Knights of Columbus for their assistance in providing numerous “fish fry” fundraiser dates so we could financially provide items such as bread, milk, eggs, etc. They also donated money to our Coats for Kids program as well as other winter wear items such as boots, gloves and scarves. 

Several other community groups such as the Catholic Women’s League, Fort Malden Golden Age Club and the Amherstburg Goodfellows assisted with food donations.

Vincentian Bernadette O’Mahoney was able to help eight youths in our community have a happy and safe summer camp experience at Bryerswood Youth Camp in McGregor.

Our “Sleep Walk” fundraiser allowed us to purchase and distribute 12 beds to the needy. This was the 20th year that we could “give a bed to rest every head.”

The Amherstburg SSVP are proud to say that everyone is a volunteer and 100% of the donations go to those in need. We receive no government or United Way funding. We rely on the generosity of our supporters – people like you – who hear the need and act upon it. 

The Vincentians have donated approximately 5,100 hours of their time in 2023 to serve everyone regardless of race, religion, gender, creed, origin of birth or age.

We wish to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of past president Sharron Bombardier, who served in that position from 2017-23. Her drive and determination to make sure that everyone in need was served with dignity and respect continued especially during the dark days of COVID.

Current president John Corbett wants the community to know if there is someone who needs assistance, they can call us at our hotline at 519-984-7594. He also indicated that our organization is looking for a team of strong, young individuals who can help us occasionally deliver beds or appliances as needed. They can also contact our hotline number.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul continue to follow the example of the founders by working with humility and respect as we serve the poor, bearing witness to the love of God for all people.

—Submitted by Terry Hayes

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