|Posted by Anne Siren on January 29, 2013 at 12:45 AM|
By Phyllis J. Neuberger
The Pelican met with three dedicated members of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul at its thrift store at 2323 N. Dixie Hwy. in Pompano Beach.
Unlike many similar stores, this thrift shop is spotless and amazingly well organized with clothing hung neatly in racks, grouped by sizes and often even by color and type.
Shoppers will find beautiful furniture, clothing for men, women and children, books, art work, televisions, drapes, linens, pillows, dishes –all attractively displayed.
Volunteer Estee Martin, a young vibrant woman, says, “Our store manager, Sam Battaglia is responsible for this attractive thrift store featuring some wonderful donations. I volunteer here, working with Sam, whenever I can. I work full time at R.S. Financial, a finance company in Boca Raton so my volunteer hours in the shop vary, but I’m emotionally very much involved. When I’m here, I organize donations, clean the store, stage the area and furniture, help with pricing, sales, scheduling donation pick ups and more. I was recently added to the committee which helps Sam with store operations.”
Some donations are very upscale and can bring much more cash to the cause by marketing them elsewhere. Martin has just began to list these rare but valuable donations on Craig’s list and she intends to learn how to do the same on E-Bay. “I want to maximize the amount of money I can help generate for the society,” she explains. “ We just received an entire collection of baseball cards spanning 50 years. There could be great value included in this collection, but we need to research the cards to find out their worth. This could be a major donation to the Society.”
Martin is a single parent of two recent college graduates. Her daughter and son live in Massachusetts, so she says, “ I have a lot of free time and I choose to give much of my free time to this great society. I’ve met incredible ladies in this group who have become my new family.”
Mike Moriarty, is a volunteer co-chair with Beth Klemens, for the annual Friends of the Poor 5K Walk/Run coming soon on March 9. He says, “This is one of our most important fund raisers of the year, and I’m sure the donations we receive are a major contribution to the “Friends of the Poor” which is a national effort of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
St. Gabriel Conference hosts this walk when the snowbirds are here in order to have the most participation.”
The Walk begins at 8 a.m. with registration at 7 a.m. The event will be held at St. Gabriel Catholic Church, 731 North Ocean Blvd. in Pompano Beach at A1A and NE 7 St. The primary objective of the Walk is to bring awareness of and show solidarity with the poor here in Broward County. There is no fee to walk or run in this event.
Donations are encouraged but are strictly voluntary.
Moriarty says, “Last year we had over 165 walkers and runners and we are hoping for even more this year. For further information call 954-621-6027.
Joyce Murray is a member of St. Gabriel Conference where Mary Ann Carlson is the current president.
Murray was available to tell us about this world famous Society.
The Society of Vincent St. Paul was founded in France in 1833 for the sole purpose of helping the poor. A group of college men recognized the need to help the poor and that continues to motivate this worthy group world-wide. At the last count on record, there were 760,000 volunteers around the world. The international base is in Paris, France. The United States base is in St. Louis, Missouri.
Murray explains, “The grass roots are the local conferences. Pompano Beach is part of the North Broward District Council. Our local conference includes St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Gabriel.
A report to the Parishioners of St. Gabriel prepared by President Carlson indicates that the conference income comes from member donations, poorbox donations, fund raising, twinning and other income. 80 percent of that income went to those who are served. 10 percent went to twinning & dues and 9 percent went to operating and fund raising.
The same report lists the way in which people are served. Home visits to those in need resulted in rent, utility, food and prescription drug assistance. In association with Holy Cross Hospital, the Starquest Transportation Van took clients to medical appointments, food shopping, church attendance and social events. At Seaview Rehabilitation and Assisted Living, there were monthly visits, birthday parties, and gifts at Christmas and Easter. St. Laurence Chapel received prayer services, sandwiches and gifts at the two holidays. Meals were served to the needy and the homeless in the area. There was one sit down meal, two meals to go, transportation vouchers, water and snacks given.
Murray, a retired teacher says, “I choose to give a lot of time to the Society. We are called Vincentians and our purpose is to grow closer to God. Our works flow from this motivation. I come from a middle class, mid-western family. We were all taught to give back. And now, when I see the great needs in so many areas, there aren’t enough hours in the day, nor money in the till to do what we would like to do, and what needs to be done.”
Murray, with a partner Vincentian, make visits to clients in their homes to assess their financial, emotional and spiritual needs, and to see how they can directly help. They also refer clients to the agencies which might give them long term assistance.
She says, “Our help line receives calls from people in distress and we respond. How many we visit depends on the number of calls for help received. The dynamics change with the geographical location of the Conference.
Last year the parishioners of the Archdiocese of Miami served 65,363 people, putting in 99,208 hours of volunteer service.
“The district council of North Broward reports assisting over 5,000 families with 16,000 of volunteer work and $225, 000 distributed to those in need.
“We differ from many social services in that our first priority is to become closer to God and bring His love to the service.” At that point, Murray excused herself as she had promised a sick client that she would do the marketing. With a cheerful smile, she left for the grocery store with the client’s list.
The Pelican thanks this worthy group for its dedication to those in need locally and internationally.
Thrift store number is 954-942-2242. To volunteer in this Conference contact St. Elizabeth of Hungary at 954-942-2161 or St. Gabriel at 954-943-9717.