Remi Martin sorts clothing at the SVdP Thrift Store in Pittsburg.

The strength of St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County is the ability of its volunteers to comprehensively help neighbors in need. Remi Martin first came to SVdP to join the Workforce Development Program, the job training program for those with barriers to employment, but she found herself connected to a community that wanted to help her.

“I was in a bad situation. I had no job, I couldn’t pay my bills,” Remi said. “I had no insurance. I had holes in my teeth that the free dental clinic at SVdP is helping me with. I’ve been unable to chew on my right for the last two years.”

Remi worked for a manufacturing company in the Bay Area, but experienced a hostile workplace and felt compelled to leave. After her unemployment was cut off, she found herself  unable to pay her rent, and with no hot water.

“Working here at SVdP has been helping me,” Remi said. “When I came here I had so much anger and didn’t talk, but people here are so nice and I’m able to open up to people in a way I haven’t before. There has been a lot of emotional help.”

Remi said she loves the WFD program. She said she is learning new skills, but mostly she enjoys helping people.

“I love working here. I’m learning new skills, like using a cash register. I had a couple of hiccups but I really got the hang of it now,” Remi said. “Most of all I really like helping people. Like when homeless people come in and we can get them a new set of clothes. It really feels good.”

Remi graduated from the SVdP workforce program in August, finding a new job at $25 per hour.