St. Vincent de Paul needs donations to help community members who fall on tough times
TINA L. SCOTT
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) kicked off their Matching Funds Campaign in mid-November 2022 with corporate sponsors donating a total of $42,500 for the community to match. Corporate donors included the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross, Nicolet National Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Incrediblebank, Premier Touchless Drying Systems Inc. and Precision Laser Cutting LLC, each of whom made a significant matching funds donation. Thanks to those corporate donors, individual community member gifts will be doubled in value to benefit those in need.
Now they, and SVDP, are asking the community to dig deep during these difficult financial times to help their even less fortunate neighbors who are going through even tougher times, by making individual donations during this Matching Funds Campaign.
In March of 2023, the Society of SVDP will celebrate 20 years of serving the Merrill area community. The SVDP Outreach Program is really the only comprehensive emergency response service in the Merrill community. And all money raised is used to help people in need right here in our community and in Lincoln County, said Sue Norenberg, Outreach Manager at the SVDP Community Outreach Program.
As of the end of Oct. 2022, the Outreach Program had provided $136,667 in assistance to 425 individuals/family households in our community in the 12 months prior. SVDP relies on the community for nearly all of that funding. They receive no federal or state funding; they do receive some annual support from the Merrill Area United Way. Proceeds from the SVDP Thrift Store in Merrill also benefit the Outreach Program, so supporting the thrift store helps neighbors in need, as well.
But really, who does the money help?
“Inflation has been difficult for all of us. Gas prices are outrageous and a trip to the grocery store for even basic necessities can break any budget. Trying to pay rent and utility bills can make anyone feel depressed. More and more of us are falling behind with our finances. These challenges are particularly difficult for those having to live from one paycheck to the next. These are the individuals who are served by the St. Vincent de Paul Outreach Program,” a letter from the SVDP Merrill Conference Board of Directors (BOD) reads. [Current SVDP BOD members are: Freida Swanson, Jim Rell, Sister Dorothy Niemann, Chris Malm, Judy Warren, Tom Mueller, Gene Bebel (Associate), Lisa Carlson, Pete Mueller, and Dick Duginski (Associate).]
• “Work has been slow, and my hours have been cut. I’ve gotten behind in my rent and my family is facing eviction. Can you help us?”
• “My young daughter and I have no place to stay tonight. The local shelters can’t accept us because they are full. Can you help us?”
• “I don’t have enough money for gas, and I have a radiation treatment appointment in Weston tomorrow. Can you help me?”
• “The landlord just sold my apartment building, and I must get out by the beginning of the month. Can you help me find a new apartment?”
• “I am a single mom with three school-age children. My car needs new tires before winter to ensure safe traveling to Wausau and back for my job. I only make enough money for my monthly bills. Can you help me?”
The SVDP Outreach Program gets calls like this on a regular basis. “These are the people you help by donating to St. Vincent de Paul. Because of your donations, we can say yes to these requests when no other assistance is available,” the SVDP BOD letter said.
From gas money for transportation to childcare supplies, emergency lodging to utility bill help, vehicle repairs to eviction prevention, each year financial assistance and thousands of dollars worth of clothing and shoes, furniture, and other necessary items from the SVDP Thrift Store are donated to those in need. When local families experience fires or other disasters, SVDP has provided assistance.
“If you know of anyone who needs any type of help or assistance, please call our Outreach Office at 715.539.2666,” Norenburg said. “We want to help!”
Help if you can
Many Americans are one paycheck away from a financial crisis, and Merrill is no exception. Loss of a job or the ability to work, even for a few weeks, could create a crisis for many families. While individuals can help, it’s a good idea to help, because “you never know when it could be you needing the help.”
A house or business fire? A sudden health diagnosis? An accident? Things happen that are beyond an individual’s control. And when they do, SVDP helps.
But … they need the community’s help and contributions to be able to provide that emergency assistance.
“Working together, we can continue to say ‘yes’ to those in need, but only with your help,” the SVDP BOD letter said.
Donations may be sent to: St. Vincent de Paul, 503 S. Center Ave., Suite 2, Merrill, WI 54452.