WHO WE ARE
St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin County’s goal is straightforward: to provide services to those in Marin County who are struggling to make ends meet and might not otherwise received help.
Competent volunteers meet with individuals and/or families in order to establish a trusting relationship and to ascertain how they can best be served. They provide assistance in the form of direct aid, intervention, advocacy or moral support. This “neighbor helping neighbor” model holds “respect” as dearest attribute: respect those they serve for their many experiences, their struggles, their talents and their humanity.
The Free Dining Room uses this same volunteer-driven model. In the dining room, neighbors provide neighbors with hot food, a place for respite and a listening heart. They serve all who enter our doors, 365 days of the year.
St Vincent de Paul Society of Marin is a part of an international catholic organization providing services and assistance to those in need. The Marin Council is independently incorporated, administered by its own volunteer board of directors and responsible for its own fundraising and programs. All donations to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin stay in Marin County.
One of the oldest and most effective charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (http://www.svdpusa.org) is a Catholic lay organization of more than 690,000 men and women throughout the world who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually and offer person-to-person service to the needy and people living in poverty in 142 countries on five continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals more than 172,000 in 4,600 communities. Programs include home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, transportation and utility costs, care for the elderly and medicine. Providing more than $595 million in tangible and in-kind services, SVdP serves more than 14 million people in need each year, performs more than 648,000 visits to people in their homes, and delivers more than seven million service hours to those in need, regardless of age, religion, creed, nationality or ethnic background.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin County is committed to ensuring that all individuals have equal access to our assistance, programs, facilities, and employment opportunities. We do not discriminate against any person that will seek help and offer assistance regardless of the race, color, creed, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, national origin, political affiliation, immigration status, mental or physical disability, income level, or medical condition.
Last year, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin County helped more than 16,000 people in the community, offering assistance in the form of free hot meals, rental deposits, utility assistance, social service referrals, and other vital needs. These services operate without government or church funds, allowing them to serve the community without barriers or restrictions in a timely and compassionate manner. With the kind support of its donors who value the advocacy of St Vincent de Paul, they are able to offer these services free of charge.
Every day, homeless neighbors and other struggling citizens are served with our soup kitchen, housing assistance, open pantry and much more. The Free Dining Room was created in 1981 as a free kitchen to serve Marin County’s hungry citizens with dignity and a welcoming demeanor. The Free Dining Room has been open every single day since then, and has served more than two million meals to our hungry neighbors. Each year St Vincent de Paul serves more than 140,000 meals, providing the only sustenance of the day for diners. Many of them are Marin’s “working poor,” living below the poverty line and trying to make ends meets. We also serve senior citizens and people with disabilities, who often appreciate a hot meal and some warm conversation. Finally, the Dining Room offers a welcome respite to those who do not have housing, and must sleep in their cars or in the hills of Marin County.
HOMELESS HELP DESK
Homeless Help Desk welcomes over 1,400 clients each year and offers limited financial aid, referrals, and a sympathetic ear to people without a place to live. The core of this service is to acknowledge emergency needs and stabilizing individuals and families. Last year Vinnies helped transition more than 75 people off the street and into permanent housing.
Services includes such as:
* Brief motel stays for homeless and stranded families
* Rental Deposit assistance
* Prescription medications
* Clothing, toiletries and other essentials
Every week in Marin County, volunteers from the Society visit people struggling to make ends meet in their homes to help them get through life’s struggles. The primary goal of these visits is to prevent homelessness. They do this by providing rental assistance, utility bill payments, food and more. Cash is never distributed to clients; all needs are verified with appropriate third parties, and all assistance is paid directly to landlords, utility companies, etc. This program is exceptionally committed to keeping children housed, to provide the stability and security that all children need to thrive.
Home visits are the “heart” of the Society, and have been happening around the world for more than 170 years. Last year more than 200 volunteers provided 1,174 home visits to people in every city and town in Marin County.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin County owns and operates eight low income apartments above our Dining Room, providing housing for very low income and chronically homeless residents. These apartments are located in downtown San Rafael close to transportation, employment and support services.
WHO WE SERVE
The St Vincent de Paul Society provides basic assistance and serves free meals to people from all walks of life, including senior citizens, single parent families, veterans, those working two jobs to make ends meet, the unemployed and the homeless. The vast majority of those we serve are employed in Marin County.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin County focuses on key areas of social justice: poverty, homelessness, unemployment, access to healthcare, alleviation of hunger, and personal security and safety.
Please visit the list of resources we have compiled that describe system change and ways to make the world a better place for those who face poverty. The Society does not prescribe a solution, but merely encourages engagement in the public policy process.
Visit http://vinnies.org to find out how you can help. Call 415-454-3303