5 reasons to volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul
Volunteering is about helping your community, but it’s also about YOU. Whether it’s your first-time and you’re unsure what to expect, or maybe you are returning to serve again, St. Vincent de Paul hopes you’ll experience fulfillment and joy from helping your neighbors in need. It’s what makes volunteering once at SVdP not enough.
Below are a few of the many reasons why people find volunteering at SVdP so rewarding.
1. You get to be part of a community of kind people.
There is simply a magical and infectious spirit of kindness when you walk into SVdP. Expect to be immersed in an environment of motivated staff dedicated to the mission and working cheerfully and hard to maintain a smooth flow of operations. You may work side-by-side with volunteers you’ve never met before but who are like-minded people who share the same passion for helping others in need. Those qualities that you find in other volunteers give you comfort and offer camaraderie working by their side as you both complete tasks to achieve a common goal. Whether it’s serving in teams to help sort food items at SVdP’s food bank or serving in an assembly line during Friday Night Pizza, you work communally for a meaningful cause. Altogether, you form a community where you feel accepted and inspired to come back. And when you return, you start to see familiar faces and establish connections and friendships that can last a lifetime.
2. You see need first-hand and grow in your appreciation for all you have.
Volunteering at places like SVdP’s Phoenix Dining Room, located on the Human Services Campus downtown at the center of our city’s homelessness crisis, gives you the opportunity to come face-to-face with people who need our deepest compassion. Some of your duties may be helping with setting up tables, greeting guests, packing snacks and more. At first glance, your efforts seem simple, but then as soon as those dining room doors open, and a line of people starts streaming in for a hot meal, you realize the immense need in your community. You start passing out the plates of food and notice the faces of the people feeling grateful. This is both an emotional and humbling experience because you start reflecting on your own blessings. You may begin to appreciate the things that you once took for granted—like having a family, a home and food to eat. Often, you can’t help but leave feeling truly blessed for having what you need and being in a position where you can help those who don’t.
3. Knowing you made a difference in someone’s life who really needed it.
The more you volunteer, the more you see purpose and meaning in the smallest things. You soon learn that packing a bag of snacks, as simple as it may seem, makes a difference in someone’s day. Helping check expiration dates on canned food helps SVdP deliver food at peak quality to families in need. Giving your help from home through thoughtful projects gives you confidence knowing you’re making a difference near or far. You grow a sense of purpose beyond supporting your own daily living and wellbeing. This passion leads you to making a pizza with love and care at Friday Night Pizza, inspires you to write the most thoughtful message on a T-shirt for someone in need, and drives you to get up in the morning to greet a SVdP guest with their first coffee or their first meal of the day. Your effort, large or small, will make all the difference in someone’s life, and you’ll leave feeling joy knowing you’ve helped a neighbor in need.
4. You put your talents, skills, and creativity to good use for your community.
With so many different kinds of service programs at SVdP, there are a wide variety of opportunities and ways for volunteers to put their unique skillsets to use for neighbors in need. Maybe you have a talent for crafts? SVdP’s Help from Home program offers lots of craft volunteer project ideas that can be completed remotely and can be dropped off or mailed to SVdP. With projects like Positivity T-shirts, you get a chance to create your tie-dye designs and at the same time spread hope and compassion with messages of affirmation on the shirts for those receiving them. Your project may be delivered to someone who has been going through a rough time in their lives, and a thoughtful message in your colorful designs could make all the difference in inspiring them to pursue hope, healing and a better life for themselves.
There are also tons of ways to put your talents and skills to use on-site as well. Maybe you’re an educator or want to become an educator and bring your gift of teaching to SVdP’s Dream Center, where children always need someone who can help them complete homework or challenge them as they pursue brighter futures. Or maybe you’re bilingual in Spanish and English and bring your linguistic skill to SVdP’s clinic to become the voice of patients who are treated daily and need help conveying their symptoms to doctors or help understanding their treatment plan. Perhaps you have a green thumb and might be interested in volunteering at any of SVdP’s three Urban Farms, where you can help plant new crops, weed, harvest and more so that we can continue feeding our neighbors in need. The opportunities are limitless. Whatever your talents may be, SVdP welcomes them and has a place for you.
5. You experience hope even in the darkest of days and circumstances.
Sometimes the rest of the world can feel dark and disappointing. But there is a place of hope at SVdP, where people can come to witness the best parts of humanity in themselves and in others. Volunteering gives you that chance to connect into that spirit of hope and can help you redirect your energy into something bigger than yourself. It’s an energizing experience where you put your help to good use to enhance the lives of others in need. Volunteering keeps you moving and increases your motivation by providing you with a sense of purpose. From helping feed neighbors at a dining room to distributing clothes and hygiene products to guests at SVdP’s Resource Center—the beauty of volunteering is that it creates a ripple effect of hope. You help give hope to others in need and in return, your community provides you with renewed spirit, motivation, and inspiration that can carry over into your personal life. You start seeing life through a new lens where you feel connected to the good in the world. From teaching kids how to do math in SVdP’s Dream Center to hosting educational activities for residents at Ozanam Manor, you begin to change your focus to the good and beautiful things in life that we find when we help others. And in this process of helping, you find that you’ve been helped as well to feel new again and hopeful.
Explore our recent addition of Kitchen Crew- Shelter Plating
SVdP is currently providing food for five shelters throughout the Valley and making over 7,000 meals a day! Your help plating these shelter meals is saving lives and restoring health and dignity.
Meet one of the volunteers helping SVdP get more meals to shelters across the Valley
U.S. Navy Veteran Donna Williams continues her service to her community by regularly plating up meals in SVdP's central kitchen