MARINETTE — The St. Joseph Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVdP), has closed its books for Fiscal Year 2017-2018. Fifteen adult Vincentian members completed 7,470 hours of service and donated 8,347 miles in Vincentian services including 708 home visits, 243 office visits. In the 951 person-to-person visits, SSVdP affected over 2,900 local residents. The conference assisted Those We Serve with rent, electric, heat, water, prescriptions, gas cards for multiple purposes, car registration, auto repairs, etc., for a total $60,516.

The SVdP members completed weekly sacramental visits to the elderly and shut-ins for an additional 3,240 person-to-person visits throughout the last year. Local volunteers donated an additional 850 hours serving families through the Freezin’ 4 Reasons, Back to School and Christmas Gift Basket programs.

St. Joseph SSVdP Conference received grants this year from: Tri-City Area United Way, as a partner agency; M&M Area Foundation Grant (Good Night’s Sleep); Thrivent Grant (Back to School, Freezin’ 4 Reasons and Christmas Gift Baskets); Catholic Financial Grant (Freezin’ 4 Reasons); WPS Foundation Grant (Freezin’ 4 Reasons); and the Shopko Foundation’s Community Charitable Grant program.

Through the SSVdP Back to School program, over 331 students from the Marinette and Peshtigo school districts were provided with filled backpacks for the school year plus $25 gift card for new clothes and shoes.

The 2017 Christmas Gift Baskets were presented to 298 children. Gift baskets, clothing, school supplies and gift cards for these two programs were donated by local residents, businesses and local organizations.

St. Joseph Conference also has three additional conferences that involve 20 students: Mini Vinnie program at Saint Thomas Aquinas Academy Elementary Campus, for grades 3 through 5; Youth Vincentians, grades 6 through 8; and Young Vincentians, grades 9 through 12.

These youth programs have monthly activities and assist the adult St. Joseph Conference with the quarterly fundraiser events: August: National Nite Out and Back to School Program; September: Food Drive for Pantry; October: Boy Scout Food Drive and Spooky Family Friends Of the Poor® FunWalk (raising funds for utilities); November: Bake Sale for Uganda Twinning Youth Conferences at schools and Holy Family Parish Masses; December: Christmas Gift Basket program; January: Clean out the Closet Clothing Drive; February: Valentine’s Day Bake Sale for Uganda Twinning Youth Conferences at schools and Holy Family Parish Masses; March: Cleaning products and personal hygiene drive, Freezin’ 4 Reasons (raising funds for utilities and to provide services to homeless families); April: Spring Bake Sale for Uganda Twinning Youth Conferences at schools and Holy Family Parish Masses; May: Postal Carrier’s Food Drive and school supplies drive; and June and July: Preparation for Back to School Program.

St. Joseph SSVdP Conference also actively participated in co-sponsoring and providing meals for the area Getting Ahead program along with Tri-City Area United Way in which investigators create a future story with goals and objectives to bring their families to sustainability.

The district council provides a pantry that can be visited weekly; provides free medications for those without insurance in collaboration with the Madison District Council Pharmacy and the Twin City Free Clinic; financially assisted the Building Bridges to a Brighter Tomorrow-Getting Ahead program, which helps local residents to become sustainable; honors store vouchers given out by their five conferences for furniture, clothing, household goods (all at no cost to those SVdP serves).