“Building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need” Is included in St. Vincent de Paul’s mission statement, and exemplified by the SVdP Volunteers, “Vincentians” Frank and Monica Wnuk.
“Monica and Frank are really the epitome of living the Vincentian life,” Steven Krank, SVdP Vincentian Services Manager said. “Alone they are both capable of so much, but together they are really a force for good.”
Steve said that the Vincentian volunteers at SVdP’s St. Joan of Arc-San Ramon branch have been a pillar of support to the needy in the community for for a very long time.
Frank and Monica Wnuk and other SVdP volunteers from St. Joan of Arc-San Ramon– “Are some of the most passionate, active, and caring people I have ever met. The team of SVdP volunteers from St. Joan of Arc had the vision to build the SVdP has a free dining room, a free medical clinic and free dental clinic. They’ve truly been a blessing to SVdP and to Contra Costa County.”
Monica and Frank Wnuk, like many of their fellow volunteers at St. Joan of Arc, spend a lot of their time conducting home visits – meetings with struggling families in their homes to get to know them on a personal level and see how SVdP can help them address the issues they are facing. SVdP utilizes the practice of the “home visit” to assist a family through a crisis with rental, food or utility assistance, and to also establish a longer-term mentoring relationship so that the family can become financially sustainable.
“We don’t really like calling the people we help clients,” Monica said. “Really, a lot of them become our good friends.”
Monica said she wanted to start volunteering because she felt like it was her calling to help the poor. Frank said he enjoys being able to help his friends, and those who will become friends, out of hard situations.
Frank said, “There is something deeply rewarding about being able to help a friend with food, or stay in their home, or even helping to keep them working so they can manage their lives!”
Frank and Monica moved to Contra Costa County from New York in 1974. Frank was working in for General Motors, and Monica worked at schools and for Target, wearing many hats. Despite their schedules packed with working and raising 3 children, the Wnuks still found plenty of time to volunteer.
“When we first started volunteering, we would do a lot of our work at night,” Monica said. “A lot of people think they can’t volunteer while working, that there isn’t the time. Well, we believe you certainly can find the time while working.”