Church Ministry Helps Neighbors In Need

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Members of St. Ignatius Loyola Church’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul have been very busy before and during the worst of the pandemic and are helping residents in Hicksville recover from financial losses. The 10 members, or Vincentians, as they call themselves, are a diverse and inter-generational group of dedicated volunteers. The Society’s mission states they are, “A network of friends, inspired by Gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.” The nonprofit’s motto is simply, “We Help People” and they have been doing this prior to and throughout the pandemic by providing direct relief to neighbors in need.

Members of the St. Ignatius Loyola Church’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul include President Erika Aldana (center) and Vincentian John Toner (third from left)
(Photo courtesy of the St. Ignatius Loyola Church’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul)

COVID-19 has been devastating to many Hicksville residents. It has been as catastrophic financially as it has been physically and emotionally. Those struggling with poverty in Hicksville sought the members of the Society to seek help, spiritual comfort or just a compassionate ear to listen. During the worst of the pandemic, many lost their employment and became behind in rent, some had trouble paying the minimum on their utilities and simply struggled to survive.

As the need exponentially grew, the Vincentians were called to action and strategized a fundraising effort to help them reach more neighbors in need. St. Ignatius parishioners and friends and family came through with generous donations that fueled more aid. Every dollar raised went back to the community through much-needed rental assistance, furniture, paying utility bills, car insurance and much more.

All requests are given serious consideration and during meetings, the group confers and prayerfully discerns the appropriate response and aid that could be provided. In 2020, and during this terrible time of COVID, they served neighbors providing for their basic needs and beyond including (but not limited to):

• Distributed supermarket gift cards when food pantries abruptly closed

• Assisted with numerous full or partial rent payments

• Paid utility bills

• Purchased new and slightly used furniture including, mattresses, dining room furniture, baby furniture, etc.

As we are now beginning to see the end of the pandemic and light at the end of the tunnel, many are hopeful for the promise this year will bring. But last year, the members pivoted amid COVID-19 precautions and social distancing, but it did not deter them from providing help to residents in Hicksville. From the single mother of four who they helped with rental assistance and food, to the family of four whose home they helped furnish, to the shut-in neighbor who needed groceries, they were there and offered a compassionate ear to listen. But the work ahead continues.

If you are inspired to learn more about the Society or would like to make a donation, visit www.stignatiushicksville.org/st-vincent-de-paul.html for more information or send donations to:

Society of St. Vincent de Paul
c/o St. Ignatius Loyola Church
129 Broadway
Hicksville, NY 11801

—Erika Aldana is the president of the St. Ignatius Loyola Church’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul

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