SVdP Friends of the Poor Walk prevails as a virtual event

By The Message staff

Like a slew of other popular public events staged annually across the Diocese of Evansville, the 13th Annual St. Vincent de Paul Friends of the Poor Walk could not occur in 2020 because … COVID-19.

It did, however, occur as a virtual fundraiser for the Evansville District Council of St. Vincent de Paul. Instead of gathering Sept. 26 at the Evansville State Hospital along Lincoln Avenue on the city’s east side, organizers encouraged people to walk when they could and still make donations.

St. Vincent de Paul Evansville District Council President Roland Rosario, left, and Jeff Kropfl visit with the longtime host of the SVdP Friends of the Poor Walk, Phillip D. Foodbank, at the Evansville State Hospital station for the 2020 Virtual Walk. Submitted photo

The web page for the 2020 walk stated, We encourage you to walk a mile in support, solidarity and friendship of the poor in our local communities. Stay safe and have fun!”

In a public letter reporting on the virtual event, Evansville District Council Executive Director Joseph Cook reported:

The Evansville District Council hosted the 13th annual Friends of the Poor Walk on September 26. The virtual nature of the walk brought many changes. Three locations were designated for walkers to bring donations and pick up tote bags complete with walk T-shirts, face masks, and items provided by Ascension St. Vincent Hospital, our Vincentians. Sr. Donna and her crew manned the Food Pantry, the Young Adult Conference set up at our Thrift Store, and Walk Chairman and Vincentian Bill Hussmann organized efforts at the State Hospital Grounds. Many who brought donations to the State Hospital Grounds took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked the paths at a safe distance from others.”

Benedictine Sister Donna Marie Herr, left, and other volunteers staff the 2020 Virtual Walk station at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Evansville. Sister Donna Marie serves as the food bank manager. Submitted photo

As one might expect, donations were down slightly over 2019, but corporate sponsors and donors still provided more than $25,000 to help St. Vincent de Paul. In his public letter, Cook reported that $3,666 of the total donated was designated for specific conferences and the SVdP Food Pantry, with the remainder allotted to the District Council.

Cook said, “We are extremely grateful to all who walked, donated, volunteered and otherwise made the 13th annual Friends of the Poor Walk a very successful event. Please plan to join us for our 14th annual Friends of the Poor Walk in 2021, and pray that we may be able to physically join together in solidarity and support for our brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle financially and depend upon the goodness of others like you.”

The 14th Annual Friends of the Poor Walk is tentatively scheduled as an in-person event at the Evansville State Hospital on Sept. 25, 2021. The Message will provide updates on the event as necessary.