DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It starts with a visit to the home. Inside, there’s not enough food for infants, or not enough money in the paycheck to pay the rent and the water bill.
Those visits served 27-thousand men, women and/or their children in the Dallas area. The people providing those visits are “Vincentians”. They are volunteers with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Since 1955, the community outreach organization has extended its hand to assist local families with social, emotional and financial needs. “We’re here to listen and help understand”, volunteer coordinator Mary Gonzales says. More than 1500 volunteers scour the Dallas region, answering calls from families who need parenting direction, or rent assistance.
For Laura Pina, the mother of three needed a job. She now works inside the organization’s best known community service offering: the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. Pina says she quickly learned families from every walk of life run into obstacles, then volunteers from St. Paul run to help. “They help whoever needs the need. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive or anything. They want to help you”.
The operation is a nonprofit tied to the Catholic Church. The Diocesan Council has 35 areas with volunteers assigned to handle assistance requests.
Specialized community programs include teaming with UTDallas for early childhood development, and nutrition classes for families at the thrift store. Teams of volunteers now await the planned transition of Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors, set for transition to Dallas shelters. The Vincentians plan to offer any help necessary. It’s the service the group has offered for five decades in Dallas.
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