By Nancy Naughton
We are always grateful for our many kind and compassionate donors who make our programs possible. This winter we are especially thankful as the need for help has been high due to the cold weather and the continued economic challenges faced by the individuals and families we serve. So many people have offered their gifts of time, talent and treasure to help their neighbors in need.
The Open Hand Kitchen continues to provide for an increasing number of guests. We are now serving approximately 12,000 meals each month–up from 10,000 last year. Thankfully, we have received donations of food and financial support to help us keep up with the growing need.
During the cold weather, Ozanam Inn has operated under White Flag–a frequent occurrence during the winter months–which allows us to exceed capacity in order to bring the homeless to a safe, warm environment. With the extremely cold weather in early January, our normal capacity of 90 men grew to 134.
We were ready for the challenge because of the many people who care about the plight of the homeless. We received numerous gifts of air mattresses allowing us to make comfortable beds with pillows, sheets and blankets for our additional guests
One generous individual contacted our Programs Director to ask if we needed help managing the increased capacity. We did, and he arrived shortly thereafter to assist with check-in, providing towels, sheets, blankets and a warm greeting to some very cold men. Thank you to all of our generous benefactors for your steadfast support.
On a personal note, I’d like to congratulate Father J. Roy Stiles on his recent celebration of 50 years in the priesthood. Father Roy is one of the kindest, best people I know, and he has touched the lives of many. Congratulations, Father Roy, from all your friends at St. Vincent de Paul.
Nancy Naughton is the associate executive director of St. Vincent de Paul | Louisville. To make a financial gift to SVDP, please contact her at 502-301-8682; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured, above, right: David Tarullo, program manager of SVDP’s men’s homeless shelter, Ozanam Inn, stands before a stack of air mattresses that are used to accommodate additional overnight clients during extremely cold weather. In recent weeks, his public pleas for additional air mattresses was met, as several donors who heard about the need via social media and in local television and newspaper stories about SVDP, dropped off air mattresses or gave money for the purchase of additional air mattresses.