The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP) is an international charitable organization, almost 200 years old, with a wide-ranging mission of service to the poor. In Canada there are over 14,700 members. The Merciful Redeemer Conference has been active since 1998 helping those living in the L5M postal area code. We are proud that only two percent of our funds are used for administrative purposes, the rest goes directly to those we serve in the community. We are a hundred-percent volunteer based organization. We volunteer our time, energy, skills and transportation costs to help those in need.
One of our core values is to have a personal contact with the people in need. People may call the Society for various types of assistance. Some may need a compassionate ear. Some may need emergency assistance in the form of food vouchers or clothing. Others may need an information that will help them access appropriate services. We strive to treat each person with a sense of respect and dignity. We do so in confidence and with respect for anonymity.
We provide food vouchers based on the number of adults and children in the household. We can occasionally provide vouchers for clothing and household items. In addition, we can offer public transit tickets for those who are in need of local transportation assistance to get to their medical appointments.
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Toronto, helps over 1600 children each summer attend overnight camps, registering eligible campers through home visits. Each camper's holiday is fully subsidized through the generous support of parishioners and in the case of Camp Ozanam, through the Archdiocesan ShareLife Campaign in partnership with Catholic Charities. In 2018 our Conference registered for summer camp 10 girls and 7 boys living in our neighbourhood. The children would otherwise have been unable to go.
Every year many students go back to school without the necessary school supplies with which to be successful. For low income families or those struggling with medical expenses, the financial burden of going back to school can be overwhelming. This year we've raised $4,172 and provided 83 neighbourhood children with backpack bundles containing school supplies such as scientific calculators, geometry sets, pencils, sharpeners, crayons, scissors, highlighters and glue sticks.
Twice a year we ask our parishioners to donate their gently used clothing, shoes, draperies or small household items. At the end of the weekend the truck is full, and it is often difficult to close the doors. The funds raised through this activity are used to help those in need.
Before Thanksgiving we organized a food drive in cooperation with the Knights of Columbus. A portion (around 650lb) of the donated items by our parishioners was distributed directly to the families we serve. In addition to the typical perishable food stuffs we distributed fresh items such as apples, bananas, sweet peppers and cheese snacks.
In the late October we've helped the students of St. Aloysius Gonzaga SHS collect the funds and items needed by the Vita Centre, Mississauga to support pregnant and parenting young mothers. We've raised almost $2,600 and collected many boxes of diapers, wipes, new baby clothes, etc. towards this very important cause.
As the Christmas season approaches we ask our parishioners for their support with gift cards or cash donations to distribute to our neighbours in need so that they can have a joyous Christmas. Some donations are provides by local Catholic schools or local businesses. Please contact us, to find out how you can get involved.
In February, around Super Bowl weekend we organize a food drive at Merciful Redeemer Parish. The collected non-perishable food items are donated to a local food bank. Often soup items are brought in with a loonie or toonie attached. The cash is used to support the charitable works of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.
Our annual spring yard sale appeals to bargain hunters with tables full of great deals. All the money collected from this sale is used to support our charitable works. This year, the weather cooperated and the turnout was good as many people came out to the sale.
The Society is committed to helping the poor and those in need in any way possible. This help may therefore take many forms, from helping individuals and families in our own neighbourhood to providing shelter to, and feeding and clothing the homeless in urban centres. Our members are involved in nursing home visitations, prison ministry, food banks volunteering, summer camps and visiting the elderly or shut-ins.
Since its inception Merciful Redeemer Conference SSVP has provided assistance to hundreds of our neighbours and friends living in the community. The majority of donations come from the generous parishioners of Merciful Redeemer Roman Catholic Church. Without your continuous support and the strong support of all previous and current pastoral teams our work would not be possible. On our behalf, and on behalf of those we serve, Thank You.