Local News

St. Philip’s Conference of Society of St. Vincent de Paul receives grant for ‘Getting Ahead’ in Bemidji

OND Staff Reports

Bemidji, Minn. ― Individuals in need and wanting to create a better future for themselves in the Bemidji area will have the opportunity to participate in a program to help their situation thanks to a $5,000 grant from the National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul. 

“Getting Ahead in Bemidji will be offered for the second time beginning February 2018 with 10 participants and two paid co-facilitators.  It will be the 16-week Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By-World program,” said Sue Young, president of the SVdP St. Philip’s Conference. “This is a facilitated program to help people build their own personal plan to get out of poverty and create sustainability.  The individuals are investigators who will do a self-assessment of the resources they have, investigate what community resources are available, look at the hidden rules of economic class, the theory and stages of change, and build their future plan.

This grant was one of 40 systemic change program grants distributed around the country through the Friends of the Poor® grant program. Grant applications are evaluated and awarded by a Vincentian review committee. Funding is provided by the general public and the Society’s members and is targeted to specific needs in each community.

 “We are pleased to be able to assist local Councils as they work to help those in need,” said Dave Barringer, National CEO of SVdP. “Our Councils are great examples of how a dedicated group of people can make a difference in alleviating suffering.” 

The St. Philip’s Conference is a part of the SVdP District Council of Crookston.  They have partnered with Village of Hope, a family homeless shelter in Bemidji, to offer this program.  One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (www.svdpusa.org) is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of about 800,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 150 countries on five continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals nearly 100,000 in 4,400 communities.

SVdP offers a variety of programs and services, including home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, education and mentoring, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, assistance with transportation, prescription medication, and rent and utility costs. The Society also works to provide care for the sick, the incarcerated and the elderly. Over the past year, SVdP provided over $1.2 billion in tangible and in-kind services to those in need, made more than 1.7 million personal visits (homes, hospitals, prisons and eldercare facilities) and helped more than 20.9 million people regardless of race, religion or national origin.