“A network of friends, inspired by Gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.”
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
At the turn of the 17th century, Father Vincent, a Catholic priest in a small town in France, asked his congregation about a family who he had not seen in recent weeks. The neighbors told him that they lived several miles away on a farm, had all fallen ill and were too weak to make the long walk to town to get food, or to attend Mass. So, Father Vincent started walking the several-mile trip each day to visit the sick family and bring them food. He continued the same ministry, going to others when they could not come to him. To assist him, he organized groups of lay men and women to do the same.
Later in 1833, a young man in Paris named Frederic Ozanam was inspired to continue that tradition by founding an organization, based on two important ideas. The first was a reflection from Father Vincent on serving those in need and exhorting others to help. Father later realized that so many people donated food to families that it would be spoiled before being eaten. “The poor suffer less from a lack of generosity than they do from a lack of organization,” he mused.
The second inspiration for Ozanam was a challenge from one of his classmates, who demanded that Frederic show him what value the Catholic Church had in the modern world. Frederic invited his friends and contemporaries to radically seek out and visit the poor and those in need, rather than ignoring their neighbors or waiting to be asked to assist them. The tradition continues today. “No form of charity is foreign to the Society.” SVdP volunteers follow the examples of Father Vincent and Blessed Frederic, and go out to visit those in need in their homes, providing help in whatever way we can.
What We Do
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a volunteer organization that offers direct aid to those in need across nine counties in North Texas. The Society provides short-term financial, material and emotional support. In addition, through advocacy, education and referrals, people are empowered to reach the goal of self-sufficiency. Council programs and services will lead to a path of self-sufficiency by addressing the underlying root cause of the basic need.
Emergency Assistance and Systemic Change
Whether its a financial gift to help cover a month’s rent or a box of food to hold a family over between paychecks, SVdP offers help that makes difficult times in life a little easier to weather.
But we don’t stop at relieving short-term crises. In building personal relationships with our neighbors, we work with them to identify root problems which limit their ability to provide a better life for themselves. Our SVdP region-wide programs provide solutions to systemic contributors to poverty in our Dallas community.
Click the tabs below to learn more about our regional programs.
SVdP Pharmacy serves those in our area who do not have health insurance and who lack the financial ability to purchase their prescription medication out-of-pocket.
SVdP Mini Loan Program
SVdP’s Mini Loan Program (MLP) was started to help people escape the cycle of debt who have been trapped by predatory lending practices. By re-financing with SVdP through our local banking partners, MLP participants can escape alarmingly high interest rates and huge fees. They also build credit, receive financial coaching, and a savings account upon completion of their one-year, low-interest loan.
In addition, SVdP also offers small emergency loans as an alternative to payday lenders, for those with poor credit who have emergency expenses. By taking part in our program, our neighbors gain the tools to reach financial stability.
Micro-serving the Bachman Lake area in Dallas, StudyTime provides children from vulnerable families with affordable tutoring, scholarship opportunities and family support in navigating their education.
Our award-winning program offers nearly 1:1 tutoring and socio-emotional coaching to kids, setting them up for success in school and in life!
What about the Thrift Stores?
St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores are closely connected to our mission. Proceeds from the sale of donated goods directly benefit our local community programs.