There are lots of charities that help people in need. At SVdP, we do things a little differently, providing those who are seeking help the compassion and dignity they rarely experience. SVdP volunteers, called “Vincentians,” meet families in their homes to find out how they can help people return to stability. We call this the “Home Visit”.
“Studies have found that, it takes on average 7 agencies to truly help someone in need resolve a poverty-related issue.,” Stephen Krank, SVdP Vincentian Services Manager said. “SVdP visits the homes of our neighbors and brings resources to bear all at once. If you call for help with your electric bill, and your cupboards are bare, we won’t let you go hungry.”
When a family calls an SVdP branch, (we call them conferences), for help, a pair of volunteers arrange a time that works best for that family to make the home visit.
“So many agencies have restrictions on the help they can provide, but SVdP isn’t restricted in what we can do or how we can help,” former SVdP Board President Ron Costanzo said. “Many times, providing an ear is one of the most powerful resources that we can provide.”
But why is the home visit a powerful tool for charity? What is it about visiting people in their homes that makes it better? The simple answer is you don’t know what you don’t know. SVdP volunteers meet with people in their homes to feel what their neighbors feel.
“I went on a home visit in a park,” SVdP volunteer Shawnna Costanzo said. “The neighbor we were helping was homeless. It was eye-opening for me to experience what she was, to feel what she felt. It was important that I was cold. How else could I understand?”
When you visit someone in their home, you become their friend. And people will tell their friends troubles they might be too embarrassed to tell a stranger.
“Helping people is ultimately about trust,” Stephen said. “With SVdP, you help people in need build their plan. With SVdP, you don’t give a handout, you provide a hand-up.”