Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul poised to help those impacted by flooding

Sandbags were removed surrounding the S. Central Avenue business district at Dreyer Ave. in Eureka.  The wall of sandbags reached 7-8 feet and were successful in helping with the flood. In a virtual replay of floods in the final week of December 2015, flooding along the Meramec River, its tributaries and the Mississippi River inundated the St. Louis area in the first week of May, closing Interstates 44 and 55 and turning Eureka and Fenton into islands. Homes and businesses from Pacific and points west to Arnold in the south and beyond were devastated.

Catholic Charities of St. Louis has stepped in to assist in the long-term recovery efforts of those affected by recent flooding in the St. Louis region.

Hundreds of households and businesses in the 11 counties of the Archdiocese of St. Louis have experienced damage from the flooding, many of them previously impacted by flooding in late December 2015/early January 2016.

Lost and found: Catholics ease flood victims’ losses

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Stacy Kramer and her two children approached the faded-yellow mobile home where they lived until the flooded Meramec River inundated her neighborhood of Pacific in late December.

"That was my room," said Kramer's 14-year-old daughter, Cloé Dalton, pointing to a window on the left.

Mini Vinnies fulfill mission of St. Vincent de Paul to serve

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When Melena Hammon has a hankering for a snack, relief is just a few feet away in her pantry at home.

Some children her age don't have that option, though. When a family has to choose between feeding everyone or paying the rent or mortgage, the latter is usually going to win.

As the school year comes to a close, Melena and her eighth-grade classmates at St. Charles Borromeo pulled together to make food boxes to sustain more than 50 children in need in the neighboring Orchard Farm school district.

Service organizations bridge 'young adult gap'

Michael Jelavich, right, secretary of the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s young adult conference at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in St. Louis, joined conference president Justus Arnett, center, and a client in prayer after a home visit.

Graduation, marriage, a first job, children. As young adults begin the ironically tumultuous process of "settling down" after college, they leave behind the structure of their former campus ministries and tend not to integrate into their home parishes except to attend Mass.

Recently, Church organizations have noticed a gap in ministry between college students and more established parents. Though the sacraments are always available, religious social events and opportunities for spiritual growth for young adults are either lacking or simply not compatible with their hectic schedules.

Volunteer finds great fit with Vinnie's mission

Phil Smith donates his time to help Vinnie’s Autos by detailing donated cars for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s program.

Phil Smith came to buy a car and found a calling.

Smith heard about a car available for sale through Vinnie's Autos. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul program provides cars for needy families and individuals, using donated vehicles. Some of the donated vehicles aren't suitable for the clients, so they are sold on the open market. It was one of those cars Smith came to see.

Vinnie's Autos helps people in need make a turnaround

The minivan acquired through the Vinnie’s Autos program has been a significant help to Adam and Stephanie Brandt’s family. They are able to transport children and use it for work. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul offers cars at an appreciable savings for those in need of transportation.

A faltering economy and business setbacks brought Adam and Stephanie Brandt into a huge financial hole, but with some help and determination they are working toward stability, if not a rebound.

The problem was compounded when they purchased a house, then couldn't sell their previous home when an economic slowdown hit St. Louis and its housing market hard. They foreclosed on the homes and are now renting.

"We just had several bad breaks," Stephanie Brandt said recently.

One of the difficulties was the need for adequate transportation.

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