Randy and Donna Trana have been volunteering with St. Vincent de Paul since they moved to the area about 3 years ago. To them, it was an easy transition to make, considering they had moved for job-related reasons in the past all over the country. This time, however, they wanted to be closer to their grandchildren.

The Tranas credit St. Bonaventure Church in Concord for helping them connect to needs within the local community. The Tranas have always held volunteerism close to their hearts. Previously though, they were working full time so they were unable to get involved and help out as much as they would have liked.

“Realizing we were able to retire early was an absolute blessing,” Donna says. “So we’ve decided to dedicate our retirement to helping those in need- we feel that this is our life’s purpose.”

So, why choose St. Vincent de Paul?

“I think that for me the real hook to SVdP is the spiritual growth that is a component of all of our meetings. As a trained SVdP volunteer, (a “Vincentian”), the Tranas identify the spiritual training & growth as a unique enhancement to the volunteer experience. When I attend SVdP meetings, there are usually 20-30 minutes spent focusing on spiritual growth” says Randy, “That’s where I get the payback spiritually from St. Vincent de Paul. Then, interacting with the public really brings it full circle. There’s something really special about being able to help others and helping yourself at the same time.”

One aspect of the volunteer experience with SVdP is the ability to help people in need in a face-to-face home setting.

We recently helped a family with 8 children who needed beds. We went to their home to build bunk beds for the kids. I remember vividly that while we were in the living room building these beds that one of the kids had fallen asleep sitting upright on the couch,” said Randy.

Donna and Randy both say that working at the food pantry at SVdP’s branch at St. Bonaventure and working in the SVdP Pittsburg Thrift store gives them additional opportunities to connect with clients of SVdP.

“It really brings everything full circle,” the Tranas agreed.

“The thing I find most fulfilling about volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul is the people. From the staff to the volunteers – the interaction is so fulfilling and such a gift to us, we are all in this mission together of helping others in need. Sometimes it can get tough, and get dirty – but seeing the smiles on people’s faces and being able to build relationships with them really makes it feel like a wonderful gift,” says Donna.

You can learn more about volunteering here.