“My first experience going to a person-in-need in the community was a gentleman who was living out of his car in San Ramon,” said Maurice Lafayette, “His car had two flat tires. We gave him assistance to deal with it – but the auto technician refused it. They ended up donating 2 new tires for his vehicle. It was amazing to see the generosity of our regular vendors in our community. That really stood out.”
Maurice has been a St. Vincent de Paul volunteer, (“Vincentian”), for about 4 years now. After he retired, he wanted to get involved with an organization to give back to his community. After initially getting involved with the St. Vincent de Paul branch at St. Joan of Arc-San Ramon, Maurice began to get more heavily involved in regular home visits, he met Rick Richardson from the St. Vincent de Paul Hope Conference. The Hope Conference is the “branch of last resort” where other SVdP branches will go when the local resources they have to help a neighbor-in-need is not enough.
“The home visits are such an integral part of what we do here. It speaks to our whole purpose – to help our neighbors in need,” Maurice says, “Another community member that left an impression was a pregnant young woman who had gotten evicted, and needed help with deposit and rent. You begin to really know these individuals, and you begin to have an appreciation for who they are. “
Maurice’s dedication to St. Vincent de Paul’s mission of ending poverty one person, one family, one community at a time comes from a passion to help people.
“What sticks out to me is the versatility and comprehensive help St. Vincent de Paul can offer to someone. We cover so many different facets of the troubles that face our neighbors. It begins with our home visits and moves along all the way to the Family Resource Center here in Pittsburg, and really covers each situation in a compassionate, holistic way that addresses health, finances, and other pain points.”
Maurice has branched out into more aspects of volunteerism in his time here, putting his background in construction to good use – he most recently completely refinished the SVdP Family Resource Conference Table (a before and after photo can be found below), and helped refurbish & repaint the SVdP Free Dining Room in Pittsburg, and the Loaves & Fishes Dining Room in Martinez.
“I’m just a worker bee, “Maurice says with a laugh, “I choose to spend my time doing this type of work. I like to do things for others – that’s my main motivation. If I can do that, I’ll do it as long as I can. I don’t like to sit back.”