How GreenDrop is helping neighbors help neighbors: Q&A with Dominick Bucciarelli of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia

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SVdP_logo_blueEarlier this year, we announced the addition of our newest partner charity, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia (SVdP).

SVdP’s mission is to help neighbors in need throughout the Philadelphia region. Its volunteers work to provide the most basic of necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and emotional comfort.

Members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Philadelphia provide compassionate, person-to-person caring volunteers who work to improve the heartbreaking situations caused by poverty.

And ever since we began working with SVdP, it’s been clear how much the community appreciates them. Each week, people give generously to our SVdP church drives and voice their support for the joint initiatives on our Facebook page.

So, we recently sat down with Dominick Bucciarelli, President of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia, to find out more about why SVdP is so special to residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding area.

GreenDrop: Tell us a little about yourself and your work with the SVdP.

SVdP: I am a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, and the father of seven children and 12 grandchildren. I’m also a graduate of St. Joseph’s University, and retired from Unisys (Sperry Univac). I previously served as president of St. Anselm SVdP Conference in Northeast Philadelphia, and District Council President for Northeast and South Philadelphia SVdP. Currently, I’m president of the SVdP Central Council of Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

GreenDrop: How and when did you get involved with SVdP?

SVdP: I joined St. Anselm SVdP in September of 2002, at the request of my wife, who was a member at that time. It seemed they needed a president so I started at the top with zero knowledge of SVdP – had to be a quick learner!

GreenDrop: What inspires you to do the work you do?

SVdP: It is gratifying to see how our assistance benefits those in need. We know that anyone can fall upon difficult times through sickness, unemployment, personal tragedies, etc. We are happy to assist them in their efforts to get back to a better life with their families.

GreenDrop: Besides donating through GreenDrop, how can our blog readers get involved with supporting SVdP?

SVdP: There are many ways.

First, Catholics can consider becoming a member of their parish conference where home visits occur. However, if a parish does not already have a conference, we can pursue forming one in conjunction with the pastor and parish staff. Second, non-Catholics can participate in some of the Vincentian activities – for example: helping with food pantries, transportation to appointments, or other activities that require minimal orientation. Finally, anyone can help with donations – which can take the form of monetary contributions, unexpired food items, and paper or personal products which are sometimes given during home visits.

Some conferences have more opportunities than others, based on the size of the parish and the need there. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention we can always use prayers, for both our members and people we serve.

GreenDrop: What would surprise readers to learn about SVdP?

SVdP: The Society was created by six college students (and their faculty advisor) in 1833. They wanted to live out their faith and make a difference in the lives of people in need. Today, we are an international organization spreading to 170 countries throughout the world. Some 12 million people are helped annually by Vincentians in the United States.

We think of ourselves as “members” rather than volunteers, even though no one at this level of the Society is paid. Members tend to be more involved and invested with the people they serve, who in a broad sense become part of our “family.” While there is paid staff at the National Council in St. Louis, there are no paid SVdP staff members in the five-county Philadelphia area.

GreenDrop What advice do you have for those who are struggling with poverty and looking for help in this area?

SVdP: They should contact the Society conference or Catholic Church closest to their home, or contact our Central Office at:

3004 Keenwood Road
East Norriton, PA 19403-4238

If you’re looking to donate or get involved in the near future, check for upcoming SVdP church drives going on in your area!


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