St. Vincent de Paul Society works to help homeless


St. Vincent de Paul members prepare sandwiches during a sandwich drive.

The students of the St. Vincent de Paul Society gather on days like this past Saturday to show their empathy and care for those less fortunate through various events such as Sandwich Drive. In collaboration with other organizations such as the Haitian Society and the Gaelic Society, the SVDP helps those less fortunate than themselves.

A Sandwich Drive is an event where students gather together, make sandwiches and deliver them to the homeless at various sites, such as the Mainchance Drop-In Center in Manhattan.  They get off the subway eight blocks early and walk to the site, giving sandwiches and conversing with any homeless they find along the way.  This enables students not only to interact with those they help, but also help the homeless still out on the street along the way.

“SVDP on campus is a very friendly organization where everybody is welcomed regardless of race, religion etc.,” explained Davy Lim, Sophomore, Secretary of SVDP. “Providing service is our main aim and therefore all of our events are service oriented.”

Founded in France, by Frederich Ozanam, the St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVDP) is an international organization based around the Vincentian ideals of social justice, spirituality and charity.  They engage in community service in conjunction with other organizations.

“We have the Fall Ball, Sandwich Drives, the Walk for the Poor and at our general body meetings we take suggestions for community service events,” senior Teresa Abulafia. “We collaborate with a lot of different organizations to create a campus wide initiative.”

“Some people at the Mainchance Drop-In Center actually have jobs, but are still displaced,” John Williams, VP of SVDP, said.

Sandwich Drives are only one of the events that the SVDP engage in.  The Fall Ball is an annual event held at a local senior center where students dance with the residents in a casual event.  Their other big event, the Walk for the Poor, is an event held on St. John’s University service day.  It takes place at various sites where many students can volunteer to help out and walk in the shoes of those less fortunate than themselves.

“Our service events are beneficial to both the people we are serving and to the students involved with the service,” Lim said. “The reflections after each service help us to grow spiritually and to make us better people.  However, the most amazing part is seeing how the service provided is appreciated by those people in need.  The kindness of the words we receive from them really shows how grateful they are and that’s when we realize how we impact their lives.”