Walking with the Pope to eliminate Poverty
Society of St. Vincent de Paul® hosts 8th Annual Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run
ST. LOUIS – “Unity happens when we walk together,” Pope Francis said. While Society of St. Vincent de Paul members, their friends and families may not have the opportunity to meet the Pope while he is here in the U.S., they will join in solidarity and “walk with the Pope” in spirit to help people in need.
On Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, walkers and runners across the country will take to the trails, sidewalks and streets to raise awareness and funds for those living in poverty at the 8th Annual Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run, sponsored by the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently about 45.3 million people living in poverty. That is approximately 14.5 percent of the population.
All proceeds and donations from the event will stay in the area where they are raised and go directly to benefit people living in poverty in the communities served by SVdP. There are no administrative fees for the FOP Walk/Run. Anyone interested in learning more, participating or making a donation can visit www.fopwalk.org for more information.
The event in each community is designed and operated by the SVdP chapter in that area. Therefore, details such as the date and time may vary by location. Most events will be held around Sept. 27, the feast day of the Society’s patron, St. Vincent de Paul, who ministered to the poor in Paris in the 17th century.
In 2014, more than 25,000 people participated in the FOP Walk/Run all across the country. Participants raised more than $2.6 million to aid those in need in their local communities. Since the event began in 2008, more than $11 million has been raised to help people living in poverty in the U.S.
“While the number of people in need continues to grow, the FOP Walk/Run also continues to grow, which helps our members’ ability to provide the necessary resources and funds in these challenging times,” said Dave Barringer, SVdP’s CEO. “In addition to providing immediate help to people in need, SVdP is focused on systemic change as a long-term response. We are working to identify the underlying causes of poverty to change attitudes and structures to empower those in poverty to move permanently out of a state of extreme need. Events like the FOP Walk/Run help generate the resources to reach that goal.”
One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (www.svdpusa.org) is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of about 800,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 150 countries on five continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals more than 160,000 in 4,400 communities.
SVdP offers a variety of programs and services, including home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, education and mentoring, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, assistance with transportation, prescription medication, and rent and utility costs. The Society also works to provide care for the sick, the incarcerated and the elderly. In 2014, SVdP provided over $955 million in tangible and in-kind services to those in need, made more than two million personal visits (homes, hospitals, prisons and eldercare facilities) and helped more than 14.1 million people regardless of race, religion or national origin.
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