Ending poverty through systemic change.
St. Vincent de Paul Appleton is a Catholic lay organization that brings people together to grow in spirituality by providing face-to-face services to our neighbors in need. As an organization, we focus on promoting systemic change to address and reduce the root causes of poverty.
The St. Vincent de Paul Appleton District Council envisions a collective effort to provide sustainable growth, greater diversity, and enhanced resources to increase awareness to all we serve
“There is no act of charity that is not accompanied by justice or that permits us to do more than we reasonably can.”
— St. Vincent de Paul
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul began in Paris, France in 1833 when Frederic Ozanam was challenged during a debate to demonstrate what he and his fellow students at the Sorbonne were personally doing to help the poor in Paris. Within a few years, the original group of seven spread to 15 other cities and towns in France, with more than 2,000 members. In 1845, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul crossed the ocean to St. Louis, Missouri, where the first American conference was formed. To this day, St. Louis remains the Society’s national headquarters. St. Vincent de Paul Appleton (SVdP) was established in 1969 and has been serving people in need in Outagamie and Waupaca Counties ever since.
SVdP is a lay organization that leads women, men, and youth to join together and provide person-to-person services to those who are in need. The Society was founded on principles of helping the poor and being a voice for the voiceless. We provide a compassionate, listening ear and financial assistance to help people meet their basic needs for food and shelter. We also help with medical bills, utilities, transportation, clothing, home furnishings and other unique requests for assistance. The Society is funded through community donations and profits from its Thrift Stores. The Thrift Stores operate with all donated materials. Most of the Society’s work is done by volunteers who give countless hours to maintaining the stores and distributing financial assistance.
As an agency, we uphold a mission of ending poverty through systemic change. Our current strategic plan foregrounds this effort and its underlying values by suggesting that we aim to “embrace systemic change to deepen solidarity for and with those living in poverty.” Through three key program areas—the Bed Program, Next Step, and the Voucher Program—we enhance people’s quality of life so they’re able to make changes and move toward self-sufficiency.
Ending poverty through systemic change.
In 2016, our community published its Leading Indicators of Excellence (LIFE) Study, which documented a few unsettling trends:
- There has been a steady increase in Wisconsin Works (W-2) program participants, alongside an increase in the percentage of the population receiving food stamps.
- Slow growth in household income alongside an increase in median gross rent in the Fox Cities’ counties, which suggests an increase in working poor who may be marginally above the poverty threshold but are susceptible to food insecurity.
- The poverty rate for single women raising children was approximately eight times higher than the rate for married couples with children across the Fox Cities counties from 2010 to 2014.
At SVdP of Appleton, we've been addressing the root causes of poverty since 1969. Our thrift store's proceeds, along with individual donations and grants, help us deliver services through home visits and related programs that meet unexpected, unique needs.
In 2016, we worked with over 9,000 of our neighbors in need in Outagamie and Waupaca Counties.
years in the region
We rely on the strength of our volunteers, both in the store and in the community. We'd love for you to consider sharing your time and talents with us.
Don't forget that shopping also supports our mission! When you bring in quality merchandise, economically-disadvantaged families have access to the clothing and furniture they need for a new start. And when you spend your money on our thrifty finds, every dollar goes back into our community.