The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVdP) was founded in Paris in 1833, by a young French student, Frédéric Ozanam, to confront his city’s devastating poverty. Inspired by St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century French priest who had an untiring commitment to serving the poor, Ozanam’s mission was clear—help the needy on a one-to-one basis and “accomplish through charity what justice alone cannot do.” Compassion in action was the heart of Frédéric Ozanam’s spirituality. Pope John Paul II beatified Frédéric on August 22, 1997, at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. His feast day is September 9.
SVdP is a Catholic lay organization of men and women joined together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person services to the needy. St. Andrew Conference falls under the jurisdiction of the SVdP San Mateo County Council and operates under their mission statement:
In the spirit of love and justice, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County (SVdP) provides person-to-person services of time, talent and resources to help our neighbors in need. SVdP respects the dignity of every person. We provide safety-net services for families and individuals in our community who are often suffering, forgotten and deprived—the working poor, the homeless, theincarcerated, and all people living on the margins. We also seek systemic change solutions to move people out of poverty.
Our conference provides assistance to our neighbors in need who live within the boundaries of St. Andrew Parish.
Each day of the week a conference member checks the voice mail for any requests for assistance that come from the District Office in San Mateo. The member then calls the individual/family to obtain financial and other information to determine the need and the best way to fill that need and to arrange for a home visit. Home visits are done in pairs for safety and to ensure that nothing is missed during the visit. As needs vary, so does our response, which may include:
Delivering food from our pantry and providing gift cards to purchase perishable items.
Providing vouchers to SVdP stores when the need is for clothing, furniture, and household items.
Assisting with utility bills or rent.
Providing bus passes when needed to get to work or school.
Making referrals to other organizations and agencies as appropriate.
Source of Funds
The majority of funding is received through the generosity of parishioners at the four Fifth Sunday second collections and by contributions at the mass on Thanksgiving Day. Throughout the year parishioners and Religious Education students donate nonperishable food items to help stock our pantry. Our Conference also partners with the Second Harvest Food Bank to receive food items.
Some of the funds received are shared with District programs such as Restorative Justice and Catherine’s Center as well as our domestic twin, St. Anthony Conference in Menlo Park, and our international twin, St. Joseph Conference in Bangladesh. (Twinning is a process whereby conferences assist other conferences that are unable to conduct their works of mercy due to a lack of funds.)
Funds received are placed directly into our conference checking account. The District reports directly to the Archbishop’s Office on the disbursement of funds collected in the parish.
Holiday Food Distributions: Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas
Ozanam Liturgy/Awards/Brunch; Walk a Mile in My Shoes
Participation in parish activities
Our Conference meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7:30 p.m., in Wing A. We meet as a group to pray, reflect on scripture, report on family visits, and plan activities. Our conference currently has 18 active members and is always open to new members. For more information, please contact the parish office at 650 756-3223.
“SVdP’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public. Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our 4-star rating. This adds St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County to a preeminent group of charities working to overcome our world’s most pressing challenges. Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support SVdP San Mateo.”
- Michael Thatcher, President & CEO of Charity Navigator