Rise in Valley homelessness prompts St. Vincent de Paul to reach out for community donations and volunteers


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NextPhase family dining room at St. Vincent de Paul’s Main Campus

Jason Cousineau, Reporter

Arizona’s homeless numbers continue to rise, not to mention many who are still recovering from pandemic-caused financial hardship.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is doing all it can to help the Valley’s less fortunate residents.

From shelter to meals to medical and dental services or food boxes for families in need, the services that SVdP provides seem even more important around the holidays.

St. Vincent de Paul Community Engagement Officer Brandon Buck, took Northeast Valley News on a tour of their Main Campus facility at 420 W. Watkins Rd., Phoenix, Ariz.

“We’ve got a two-story building where the top floor is shelter, and downstairs we have an area for folks to walk in, get a shower, get some clothing and enjoy the elements,” Buck said.  “We’ve got 60 people part of the community here, and 200 people in one of our shelters close to the airport.”

The SVdP team has a lot of hungry people to feed during the upcoming holiday season.

“We have 80 parish-based clubs that run pantries all over the metro Phoenix area and up into northern Arizona,” Buck said. “The grocery stores and community organizations collect food and then donate it here where it gets sorted and redistributed to all of the pantries.”

Donations aren’t the only food source the SVdP team relies on.

“We’ve got 3 vegetable farms that produce about 30,000 pounds of vegetables that will go into our dining room,” said Buck about how much produce they use. “We’ll make 4,000 hot meals every day that go through the dining room.”

Feeding the needy and homeless is only one of the charitable ways St Vincent de Paul supports people.

Education is one of the core principles they want to help with.

“We have a learning center we call The Dream Center so the kids can work with volunteer tutors and make progress with their schoolwork. It’s an opportunity to try and help the kids with their education,” Buck said. “We have a medical clinic, dental clinic, and diabetes prevention clinic.”

The workers and volunteers of the St. Vincent de Paul foundation are what make their charitable efforts possible.

“We’re an organization that helps people from many different angles and it’s only possible through our donations from the community,” said Buck. “Hosting drives and volunteering are huge ways to help since we’re a non-profit organization. We could always use more support to help people going through a rough time.”