By Vicki Eichmiller
Would you walk a mile in my shoes? Would you walk a mile to help feed someone that was hungry, clothe someone that was naked or help someone pay a past-due bill? For the past 11 years, St. Vincent de Paul Evansville has participated in a national walk called “Friends of the Poor.”
This year, we will be hosting our 12th annual walk Saturday – Sept. 21 – at the Evansville State Hospital. This is the largest single fundraiser that we have each year for our local Society. The money raised through sponsorship, private donations and walker donations enables us to assist thousands of people throughout southern Indiana.
Last year, we were able to feed over 13,000 families, which equals almost 30,000 individuals, and provide over 3,500 people (children and adults) free clothing. Our 19 parish conferences are comprised of more than 400 Vincentians; these volunteers made a total of 12,600 home visits last year, helping those in need to avoid eviction, utility shut off, obtain basic household goods, prescription medications and other necessities of life.
More importantly, these visits were made on a person-to-person basis, hopefully expressing human concern and spiritual hope to those in need on a personal basis. Those conferences donated a combined $422,884 to people in our community.
With the money raised from the 2018 walk, we were able to provide more than 900 beds for people in need. Several of the people that we assisted with a new bed were classified as chronically homeless and had not owned a bed of their own since they were children.
We help families, individuals, single parents and grandparents who are struggling to make ends meet. We provide a bed for their child or grandchild to allow the basic human comfort of a good night’s sleep. Historically, we raise anywhere from $20,000 – $28,000 through sponsorships, and an additional $14,000 in walker donations.
One of the perks of making a donation and walking is that when you register to walk and list your parish name, all money raised in the name of that parish is given back to that parish conference to continue the work of your local Vincentians.
So what do you think? Would you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? Would you walk a mile to help someone living in poverty? Would you come out and walk with me at 9 a.m. CDT Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Evansville State Hospital, to help alleviate the problems and struggles for the poor right here in our own community?
I have decided to walk. I walk for those who need a helping hand. I walk to bring attention to the pain and suffering of those less fortunate in our neighborhoods and communities. I hope to see you, your family, grandchildren, parents, aunts, uncles … you get the picture.
I hope to spark a passion in you to serve the poor – to help seek justice and grace for all our neighbors.