Every now and then I come across a story about this time of year that reminds me of how many good people work out there in the vineyard to make the world a better place.
The other day, while reading the excellent Idaho State Journal, I learned about a charity that is sharing their donation with another charity to help feed hungry people in southern Idaho.
Maddy Long’s article caught my attention immediately in the introductory paragraph that began: “The East Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated £40,000 of groceries to the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Pocatello.”
Pocatello, also known as “Pokey” or “Poky” to some, is a close-knit small town surrounded by highly productive farmland but also home to Idaho State University. It’s a prosperous community, but like virtually all cities in America, some of its citizens struggle to meet their basic needs every day.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a leader in the area and is known for its charitable efforts.
However, the St. Vincent de Paul Society is a Catholic organization run entirely by volunteers who go out in pairs to help those in need. St. Vincent de Paul, while not a wealthy organization, can often provide help with rent or utility bills, or with grocery shopping, or with the basics of a home. They can also connect people to a variety of social services that many people may not be aware of, serving as a sort of one-stop shop for those who need help.
Here in Northern California, and particularly in the vast Sacramento Diocese that stretches to the Nevada and Oregon borders, the St. Vincent de Paul Volunteers have played a prominent role in assisting the victims of our many wildfires and people over the past several years helped with basic needs and connects them with a variety of government and private agencies.
St. Vincent de Paul’s thrift stores are nationally renowned for great bargains for the general public, but they also offer free essentials to the less fortunate.
Maddy Long’s article in the Idaho State Journal quotes East Stake President Tom Bates, who said the Church has an abundance of food and other commodities and looks forward to sharing that happiness with others.
“St. Vincent de Paul needs things like this to help others,” Bates noted. “This is just a way for us to share what we have with another organization.”
“Bates said the stake donates the food to St. Vincent de Paul because the business is within the boundaries of the East Stake,” the story continues.
Bates said, “We’re going to be the hosting stake to support them. We are looking for opportunities to serve other faiths in our stake boundaries to see how we can help. Church members are donating time and money to make this project a reality.”
Not that I’m surprised.
Bates added, “This is about doing the things the Savior would do. Loving others, helping others regardless of their beliefs.”
Or even if they have no religious beliefs at all.
St Vincent de Paul’s Beth Huston said they typically get around 4,000 to 5,000 pounds of groceries a week from a local food bank and other sources: “So that’s a lot of food for us.”
The food is intended to feed 180 families of six for a whole month.
I realize there are many other dedicated organizations and volunteers doing exactly the same thing as these two, serving all without asking questions.
At this time of year and always, I applaud them all.