The Belleville News-Democrat features a different charity every day from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. If you know a charity that should be featured, contact Heidi Wiechert at email@example.com.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
The Belleville Council Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a non-profit, Catholic, volunteer, lay organization that strives to help the poor and relieve human suffering. It serves Southern Illinois in the Diocese of Belleville and is privately funded by people who believe in its mission.
The society sponsors several ministries including Cosgrove’s Soup Kitchen, two mobile soup kitchens and a thrift store. It helps those who live within the parish boundaries.
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Here’s how the society serves the community:
▪ Serves nearly 100,000 nutritious meals annually through its soup kitchen and mobile kitchens. The St. Vincent Mobile Kitchen travels to neighborhoods in need four nights a week and two Sundays a month. Many who visit the soup bus are children.
▪ A food pantry in the basement of the Cathedral of St. Peter in Belleville is open from 9-11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Last year, it helped feed 1,132 adults and 612 children.
▪ The society offers free breakfast every Saturday from 7:45-9:45 a.m in the Cathedral’s grade school cafeteria. About 60-80 people are served every Saturday.
▪ The “Sacks and Sandwiches” program reaches approximately 50 people a day.
▪ The Help Center is open three days a week and serves 70 to 100 individuals weekly. It provides utility and rental assistance, financial assistance for other necessities, traveler’s aid, prescription assistance, showers, laundry, and medical and dental assistance to those who live within the parish boundaries.
▪ The Transportation Assistance Program provides bus passes for doctor visits and new employment.
▪ The society provides budgeting and resume classes, computer instruction, birth certificates and state identification, job skills classes and mentoring to assist in obtaining employment.
▪ “Gear Up and Career Gear” services provide free career clothing for low-income job seekers for interviews and new employment.
▪ The society thrift store offers low-cost merchandise for the needy, free clothing, free hygiene packs and other necessities to the homeless. It is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. It is located at 3718 State St., East St. Louis.
How to help
The society is run by volunteers and has no overhead — 100 percent of all donations go to helping those in need. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul appreciates any donation, large or small. Make checks payable to: Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Mail to: Society of St. Vincent de Paul, P.O. Box 3415, East Saint Louis, IL 62203.
You can make a difference by donating your car to the society. You can drive it to the organization, or they’ll come and tow it. Call: 800-322-8284.
You can donate used household goods and other useful items to the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. Accepting: clothes, shoes, household items and decor. Question: contact 618-799-8505 or 618-394-0126.
There are a variety of volunteer opportunities to match time commitments and interests. Call the St. Vincent de Paul Office at 618-394-3568 to find out more.
If you live within parish boundaries, those in need can call the help line: 618-278-7837.