The students from ABC School in Richmond volunteer at the SVdP Food Pantry at St. Callistus.

St. Vincent de Paul’s, (SVdP), conference (branch) at St. Callistus in El Sobrante feeds many neighbors in need in the community, and also helps local students with autism gain important social skills. On Monday, March 27th, three students from A Better Chance School, (ABC School) were present at SVdP’s St. Callistus branch’s food pantry. The students, Adia, Madison, and Erin fit right in with the SVdP volunteers, who eagerly look forward to working with the students.

“They’re so incredibly sweet,” SVdP volunteer Julie said. “The students come and help us feed the community, it’s very kind of them.”
For the students at ABC School, volunteering with SVdP is not just a chance to learn, but it is also a fun way to give back to the community. Though the students are very shy, they are still eager to share how much they enjoy helping people.

The volunteers at the SVdP branch at St. Callistus have opened their doors, and their hearts, to help these students with autism for the past two years. SVdP Vincentian volunteers at St. Callistus have been working alongside students with autism helping the students develop the social and personal skills needed to be independent adults while helping feed their neighbors in need.

“Groups like SVdP are a real blessing. Our students really love volunteering here and look forward to coming when they get the chance,” ABC Educational Assistant Danae Cano said. “We’re really thankful for groups like SVdP. For students with autism, working with the public and the community is a major part of their development.”

Danae explained that for students with autism, dealing with situations outside of their routine or with crowds and strangers can be very overwhelming. She said controlled exposure while students are developing, like the students receive while volunteering with SVdP, can make a world of difference to their success as adults.

Students from A Better Chance School, part of the CalAutism Foundation, help volunteer at the SVdP St. Callistus food pantry.

“There are not a lot of resources available, so when the community opens their hearts to students, it means a lot,” Danae said. “And our students love coming to help at the SVdP food pantry.

“I like it here, it’s fun,” ABC School student Adia said. “I really like helping feed hungry people.”

Another student at ABC School, Madison, said, “Helping people is my favorite part. It’s fun.”

SVdP St. Callistus conference President Carol Brazil commented, “The community seems really open to helping these students. The kids themselves are so sweet and it just feels good to know you’re helping them just by letting them be here with you.”

A testament to the power of community, Carol explained that the SVdP volunteers at St. Callistus were connected to ABC School through a volunteer.

“One of the SVdP volunteers is the mother of one of our teachers at ABC,” Danae said. “She reached out and thought it would be a great fit, and honestly it is. Everyone has been really patient with our students and we’re incredibly thankful.”

The SVdP Food Pantry at St. Callistus in El Sobrante feeds hundreds of neighbors weekly. To donate or learn more, visit: