PINOLE, CA – December, 2023 – On Monday, December 18th, dedicated volunteers from St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County (SVdP) gathered at St. Joseph’s Church in Pinole to spread holiday cheer in their community. Undeterred by the pouring rain, compassionate volunteers organized a heartwarming event to provide essential items and festive gifts to their neighbors in need for Christmas.
The day was a testament to the spirit of giving, as families were greeted with smiles and warmth while receiving personalized gifts and choosing from a selection of generously donated clothing items – including shirts, sweaters, jackets, and pants.
Tracey W. of Pinole, expressing her gratitude, said, “I’m just humbled. The volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul have been a part of my family since my daughter was born. One of the volunteers made her a quilt that I still have to this day. Their help means so much to me, and I’m just so thankful to have them in my life.”
Volunteers, started their day at 9 A.M. in the St. Joseph rectory by wrapping and labeling gifts. Gifts were donated by the St. Joseph Parish members, local supporters, local businesses, and SVdP volunteers. Gift cards for groceries, stuffed animals for young children, Target gift cards for Christmas presents, and boxes of cookies were distributed to every family in attendance.
Vincentian Charisse Wan, an SVdP Vincentian volunteer, shared, “We have about 63 families we are able to help out of our Conference, (branch). It’s just wonderful to see how happy the families are during the Holidays.”
Thodias D., a single father of two young boys from Pinole, expressed his deep appreciation for the support provided by SVdP volunteers at St. Joseph’s Church.
“I just feel so blessed to be part of the SVdP family,” Thodias said. “They’ve helped me with food, clothing, just too much to name. I just feel so thankful.”
Families, arriving at St. Joseph’s in Pinole, had their gifts brought to their cars by SVdP volunteers. For those who preferred, an opportunity to find the right-sized clothing for their families was available inside the church. The event fostered a sense of friendship, camaraderie, and charity, creating a memorable day for those in need.
St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County has provided safety-net services in the county for over 59 years, serving 100,000 people annually and distributing over $1.9 million in direct financial assistance and over $3 million of in-kind aid. More than 700 SVdP volunteers and a small staff lead operations in Contra Costa including the SVdP Family Resource Center in Pittsburg, 28 branches, and 3 Thrift Stores. One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, St. Vincent de Paul is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of more than 900,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 155 countries on five continents.