Feeding, clothing and housing are of course important ways of providing aid. Still, in some special cases, there may be many more. In fact, new forms of aid may have to be innovated to cope with unexpected situations. It should also be stressed that moral support and accompaniment are essential in the long term. Even if the results are not directly visible or concrete to all.
Our way of helping
Attentive listening and encouragement
The needy are often the object of exclusion and suffer from it. Shame is added to this, which generally brings them to isolate themselves in their helplessness.
As one homeless person put it: “you die of loneliness before you die of hunger”. In keeping with the spirit of the patron saint, the Saint-Vincent de Paul Society stresses going to meet the needy, offering to hear them attentively and respectfully, helping them morally to fight desperateness and depression. Visits to comfort families, the elderly, those who live alone or are ill, seem crucial to us.
Practical and administrative support
Many disadvantaged people are not aware of their rights and the social advantages that could benefit them. The Saint-Vincent de Paul Society advises them, guides them and often takes charge of the necessary administrative steps. Often, a detailed dialogue with a competent person leads to an accurate analysis of the situation, and a way of finding solutions to build a future. We also have centres specialised in mediating debts and a reception counter for asylum seekers with a specialised legal service.
Financial support in cases of urgent need
It is not rare for us to provide financial support directly. For example to pay for heating fuel, to contribute to urgent health care costs and defray contributions to the mutual society, etc. The purpose of financial aid is always to keep a situation from getting worse and even more expensive to solve subsequently, with the risk of its becoming irreversible.
What can you do ?
If you are patient and feel you can listen, reassure and encourage, don’t hesitate to become one of our volunteers and spend some of your time visiting distressed families and persons, particularly in hospitals and prisons. This is certainly one of the best possible ways to help, in a spirit of dialogue and sharing.
Of course, financial donations are also very helpful, not only to meet our operating expenses for administrative questions, but also to enable us to provide financial support if necessary to those who desperately need it.
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