The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul was founded in Paris in 1833, by a young French student, Frédéric Ozanam, to confront his city’s devastating poverty. Inspired by St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century French priest who had an untiring commitment to serving the poor, Ozanam’s mission was clear – help the needy on a one-to-one basis and “accomplish through charity what justice alone cannot do.” Compassion in action was the heart of Frederic Ozanam’s spirituality.
Today, the Society is a network of charity in 142 countries. The first San Mateo County St. Vincent de Paul Conference was founded in 1931 at Holy Angels Parish in Colma. Currently, there are 32 parish based Conferences and 3 Homeless Help Center Conferences. Approximately 1,100 Vincentian volunteers offer emergency aid to all areas of San Mateo County.
It may not be easy to see them but right now there are hundreds of families and individuals throughout San Mateo County who rely on the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County (SVdP) for their very survival. Their stories could be anyone’s stories. When they turn to us for help, SVdP is there for them and responds immediately with listening hearts and compassionate care.
SVdP provides basic survival necessities, including food, clothing and other survival necessities for the homeless and the precariously housed. Each year we serve over 100,000 meals to our homeless brothers and sisters at SVdP’s Homeless Help Centers and also provide food, clothing and rent assistance to the precariously housed through SVdP’s Peninsula Family Resource Center. Last year, SVdP assisted 28,000 distinct individuals in San Mateo County, among them 11,000 children.
Through SVdP’s Restorative Justice Ministries (RJM), SVdP’s jail/prison chaplain, along with many RJM volunteers, works to bring healing and reconciliation to victims of crime and the incarcerated and to their families who are also impacted by crime. SVdP provides employment opportunities for the marginalized, and also offers a holistic re-entry program for previously incarcerated women at SVdP’s Catherine Center.
Your generous donations to SVdP’s Stores help clothe, feed and house your neighbors in need. Thanks to your donations and purchases at SVdP Stores, last year SVdP was able to provide over $300,000 in clothing and household goods vouchers to the homeless and others in need. Ninety-one cents of every dollar raised by SVdP Stores and other fundraising efforts are expended in safety-net services to the poor here in San Mateo County.
“Be it resolved that in the implementation of its mission, ‘In the Spirit of Love and Justice the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County provides person to person services of time, talent and resources to help our neighbors in need,’ the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County actively seeks to provide services to individuals, recruit volunteers and hire and promote employees without regard to race, religion, color, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, veteran status, ancestry, citizenship status, pregnancy, national origin, age medical condition or physical handicap, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local law or ordinance or regulation. Furthermore, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County serves, accepts as members or volunteers and hires those with a criminal justice status.”