St. Vincent de Paul with almost 1,700 volunteers is on the front lines serving the economically disadvantaged in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Clatsop & Columbia counties. In 2016 we reached 316,100 people across this wide area. The Portland Council with its 48 Catholic church partners, distributed $1.6 million in rent, utility, and transportation assistance.
We have all seen the statistics—the increases in the number of families living under the poverty level in the Portland area. So many in our community are struggling due to increased rent and utility costs, unemployment, illness and all the many causes and effects resulting in and from financial struggles. But the statistics don’t tell the whole story. Behind every statistic is a face—a person, a child, a family—who is trying to survive in the midst of difficult circumstances. Below are some of the stories behind the numbers of those who come to us for help.
*Lydia is a single mother with two children. The four year old is disabled with autism which requires expensive special needs care, so she is struggling to pay her rent this month, as she has only limited income. Several conferences are joining together to assist with Lydia’s rent help request.
* Maryanne needs utility assistance. She has been critically ill with mounting medical bills– she just had to have a stem cell treatment for cancer and she also has a disabled son residing with her. One of our conferences has stepped up to help with her utility bill.
*William came to us in May asking for help with his PGE bill. His electricity has been disconnected since April 26th. He is a veteran and single father raising a seven year old, and is having a hard time paying all his bills. After suffering a serious injury at work, he is now on Worker Compensation and only receiving 60% of his wages. A conference is helping this man keep the lights on for himself and his little son.
*Jack needs help to get his water turned back on. His water has been off for two weeks—he has had use a neighbor’s bathroom and clothes washer. A conference is helping him to get water–a basic necessity of life– back into his home.
Recently we received the following thank you note from a client we helped.
Brian & Staff,
Thanks again! I am deeply grateful for the support I recently received from SVdP. I have no family or spouse and was truly in crisis. Thanks to SVdP, I have heat and lights! You do great work in the world. Thank you!
Feeding the Hungry
In 2016, 4 million pounds of food were distributed to families, including 3,590 Christmas food boxes. The Mobile Kitchen typically serves 11,000 meals to adults and children annually.
“My husband left me a couple of weeks ago. I have two small children, I don’t know what I would have done without St. Vincent de Paul. They delivered a huge box full of food for Christmas dinner and presents for my children.”
“I am disabled and live on a fixed income I don’t know what I would do without help from St. Vincent de Paul.”
Lending a Hand
“Thanks for your help with rent assistance. I am very grateful! Have never needed this kind of assistance before. I didn’t even know it was available. One of your volunteers was very helpful and so was all the staff at St. Vincent de Paul.”
“I have never been in my current unemployed situation and needed assistance. I am so grateful for all of your help. I especially want to thank your staff, they were great. I almost had my power turned off and you came through and allowed me to keep my power on. It is nice to know there are good people like you out there lending a hand. I can never thank you enough!”