Debbie Bates felt called to get out of her comfort zone.
“I feel that I get a calling to do more than just go to church,” Bates said. “At the beginning, it wasn’t in my comfort zone, but it’s become in my comfort zone to do what Pope Francis told us to, which is ‘go out and smell the sheep.’ When you go do a home visit, that’s what you’re doing. You’re seeing where they live, what they do, and trying to help people where they are instead of just being in an office and coldly answering the phone.”
In 2012, Bates began serving on the St. Edward Vincentian Conference and is now its president. She is suffering from stage 4 cancer, but continues to serve.
“We find out what their need is and if we can meet their need or assist with their need,” Bates added. “We try to give them a lot of direction and education about where they can go for assistance.”
St. Edward Vincentians help about 3,000 people per year, whether they support a client directly or outsource to another organization or conference that can help with rent, mortgage payments, or car insurance among other needs.
There are 10 active members who field 20-30 calls a week “if it’s a calm month.”
Treasurer Carol Jenkins was a stay-at-home mom of a one-year-old when she started volunteering with the St. Edward Vincentian Conference 34 years ago.
“I felt like there were so many people who had so little and I’ve never experienced that,” Jenkins said. “I’m at the age where it’s like, ‘I ought to retire,’ but I can’t. There’s a concern that these people need the immediate assistance that St. Vincent de Paul provides.”
We are incredibly grateful to the St. Edward Vincentian Conference for seeing and meeting the needs of those around them.
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