We can’t say this enough, but volunteers really do make a difference to the community at St. Vincent de Paul. Volunteers serve daily in the Open Hand Kitchen. Our Food Pantry is completely staffed and run by volunteers. Volunteer groups paint walls, clean up the campus, organize and staff the Santa Shop, keep the Clothes Closet stocked and open for clients, teach classes, and so much more.
It is with great pride that we take a few moments each year to recognize those volunteers that go above and beyond.
Lifetime Service Award
Both Tom and Ann Bizzell have been Vincentians for many years but each from a different conference and in different states. Ann became a member of St. Edward’s Conference in Louisville in the early 80s and Tom was a member of St. Mary’s Conference in New Albany. When it came to helping and volunteering for the Council of Louisville, they were there as a team. For many years, Tom has picked up bread and goodies each week to bring to the Food Pantry and Open Hand Kitchen. At Christmas, Ann and Tom shop for the Santa Shop bringing in many coats and outfits for the children. On the day of the Santa Shop both Ann and Tom are making punch and handing out cookies to the parents shopping for their children. Ann coordinates St. Edward’s serving team in the kitchen. If that is not enough to keep them busy, they are always buying much needed items for the Food Pantry. Each year for the Clubs and Cocktails fundraiser, Ann puts together a beautiful basket for the auction. They support every event we sponsor.
Father Timmel Award
St. Michael’s Outreach is a dynamic group of women and men who respond in various ways to needs of the community we serve. Sandy Woods, President of the St. Michael’s Outreach, oversees their many activities our campus. Susan Robinson leads a serving team in the Open Hand Kitchen on the fifth Friday of the month. Volunteers from St. Michael’s work in the Food Pantry weekly, donate monthly to buy needed food for the pantry, sort the donated items for the Santa Shop, and so much more. St. Michael’s Outreach never says no to a request for help.
Pay It Forward Award
The Pay it Forward Award honors a client that gives back to the community as a volunteer in service to others and exemplifies the idea of paying it forward.
Devon Kroeger is such a person. Devon is a resident at the SRO and has been an active member of the St. Vincent de Paul Advisory Board for the past six months. Devon has impressed everyone with the time and support he provides our community.
Community Partner of the Year Award
The Community Partner Award is normally presented to an organization, but this year we are recognizing a specific individual. Cletis Evans and Toys for Tots are a critical partner to our annual Santa Shop that helps families provide Christmas for their children as they provide the majority of the toys to be given to the parents for some 1500 children.
Knowing that the number of families needing assistance was growing each year, Cletis approached St. Vincent de Paul, not only about giving us some toys, but all the toys needed for the number of families invited to the Santa Shop. That was three years ago, and every year since Cletis has managed to provide us with all the toys needed for the Santa Shop. Parents leave with tears in their eyes knowing they could never have provided these items for their children’s Christmas.
Corporate Partner of the Year Award
The Corporate Partner of the Year Award pays tribute to a business that has contributed significant volunteer time, energy, and/or resources to the mission of St. Vincent de Paul.
Fifth Third Bank has found ever-increasing ways to further the mission of St. Vincent de Paul. Adam Hall teaches financial empowerment workshops several times a year to help clients learn about budgeting, banking, and credit. Fifth Third Bank retail location employees collect pantry items and serve in the Open Hand Kitchen on Fifth Third Day (May 3rd).
St. Vincent de Paul Louisville was the recipient of a $50,000 gift from Fifth Third Bank’s Strengthening Our Communities Fund. This gift helped us meet the challenge of a competitive grant of $107,000 awarded by Louisville Metro government that is supporting much needed renovations to the Ozanam Inn Men’s Shelter. This renovation project will focus on improving the quality of life for emergency shelter clients at Ozanam Inn.
We are so grateful for this partnership and for the spirit of compassion offered by Michael Ash, LouAnn Atlas, Adam Hall, and the entire team.
Volunteer of the Year Award
The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has contributed significant volunteer time, energy, and/or resources to the mission of St. Vincent de Paul. We are blessed with so many individuals who meet the criteria of this award.
Paul Carmony has helped grow the Santa Shop from helping 75 families to nearly 500 in 2018. As “General” of the Santa Shop he oversees donation sorting and setup in the Family Success Center gym.
In 2000, when Paul was asked to open a Clothes Closet for the campus residents, he dove right into the project even though he admitted he knew nothing about clothing. Nineteen years later, when Paul is not busy with Christmas, he is still running the Clothes Closet for the men on our campus. You will find Paul sorting on the hottest day of summer or the coldest day of winter in the garage across from the administration building.
Volunteers Make A Difference
Every volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul has made a commitment to helping those members of our community that need it the most and we could not fulfill our mission without them. The next time you see one of our volunteers, please thank them for the invaluable work they do.
All photos by Frankie Steele