Friday, 09 September 2011 00:00On Saturday Sept. 24, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will host its Third Annual Friends of the Poor Walk at Bethpage State Park to help Long Islanders in need. Every year the Society hosts a walk to help support its direct aid programs, of which there are 52 facilitated within 49 Long Island communities. Last year, 343 Long Islanders walked for the poor, helping the society raise nearly $80,000 to provide mortgage/rent, utility, food, and other aid to needy families. Despite the economic outlook, they expect the same or better results this year. St. Vincent de Paul serves a vulnerable population including the homeless, elderly, working poor, and anyone who demonstrates a genuine need. Similar walks are held across the nation by other regional councils to celebrate charity and to encourage Americans all across the country to become Friends of the Poor.
“The people of Long Island have always been generous in their support of the Society,” said Jim Dilts, executive director. “The Friends of the Poor Walk is a fun way for them to continue their support, to get others to join in the spirit of giving, and to show the poor in our community that we really do care about them. Come on out, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, and become a friend of the poor. Find out how good it feels to give.”
The largest volunteer lay Catholic charitable organization in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in 1833 by a French college student named Frederic Ozanam, so that he and his schoolmates could put their faith into action through service to the poor. Known and loved for its thrift stores and food pantries and the personal visits of its volunteer members to the homes of the poor, the society today has more than 690,000 members operating in 142 countries. St. Vincent de Paul in the Diocese of Rockville Centre (SVDPRVC) was founded on Long Island in 1945 and consists of 900 volunteer members, 3 thrift stores, and 10 food pantries. In 2010, SVDPRVC distributed over $9.5 million in goods and services to more than 200,000 Long Islanders.