Social Justice

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Movie in Mulhern!
Join the Social Justice Committee at 7:30pm on June 19th for a film screening of “13th”.  This informative documentary explores the history of racial inequality in the United States and how this has led to disproportionate numbers of African Americans in the nation’s prisons. Bring your own refreshments and meet in Mulhern. Prior to the film, we’ll gather for prayer and discussion. Film screening will begin around 8:30pm.

Bike Helmets Needed for Needy Decatur Residents
Margaret Beltrami, an STM high school student, is organizing an effort to collect new or gently-used bike helmets for use by needy Decatur residents.  Drop your unwanted helmets in the box in the STM church narthex between July 17 and July 27.  For more information or to make a financial gift to the cause, email Margaret at: mbeltrami13@icloud.com.

St. Vincent de Paul Society
The St Thomas More Conference needs additional volunteers to serve as Case Workers to assist the working poor in our community.   The SVdP mission is to bring hope and help to those in need so they may find stability and move toward self-sufficiency.  Please consider whether this volunteer opportunity may be a good fit for you by reading the following description:

At the core of the Vincentian work is the interaction between Caseworkers and  clients.  Once a client has contacted our conference via email or phone, and is within the zip codes that we serve, they are assigned to a caseworker.  The caseworker will then call to speak with the client and schedule a home visit.  At the home visit, the caseworker and a Secondary caseworker will discuss the client’s situation and the help that has been requested. (During COVID, many of these visits have been done by phone, virtually, or in an outdoor open area).

After visiting with the client and getting an understanding of how SVdP can be of assistance, the caseworker “writes up” the client’s situation and need and determines how to best help them get back on their feet. The visit is followed by arranging assistance where ever possible.

Caseworkers are provided with training and begin their volunteering by acting as Secondary case workers.  One of the guiding principles in the training echoes the words of Pope Francis who said: “Who am I to judge?” It is too easy to listen to the circumstances of the poor when they reach out for help and project judgment upon them: bad choices, bad behavior or bad environments. Vincentians are taught to withhold judgment, to open their hearts, to listen in an unbiased way to the voices of the poor.  Most Vincentians will tell you that it’s not an easy thing to do but it is incredibly rewarding.  A Caseworker may volunteer to take one or more cases a month.

Here is an example of a case which may help bring the importance of the home visit into focus.

A mother with 2 children ages 9 and 11 has recently lost her minimum wage job. More urgently, she’s 8 months pregnant and facing eviction She gets food stamps and a small amount of support from the Father of the two children. The Father of the soon-to-be-born baby is not in the picture. She has no money for the current month’s rent and late fees are piling up. She can barely keep the electricity on. Our Vincentians met in her home and carefully listen as she explains her situation. They ask many questions, collect the facts, and pray with her too. The Case Workers speak to the landlord about possibly waiving those costly late fees. St. Vincent DePaul is able to quickly assist this lady and help her avoid eviction. A visit to the food pantry is also arranged. With this assistance, the Mother and her family are able to avoid an impending crisis.

Each case worker will will receive adequate training and preparation to be successful in this ministry. If this opportunity sounds appealing to you, we encourage to contact our Chapter President, Cheryl Parellada at cparellada@comcast.net or our Chapter Vice President, Virginia Perez at vaperez2002@comcast.net.

Decatur Sandwich Project – Volunteer Opportunity!
Looking for a service activity for your family? Decatur Sandwich Project is coordinated by one of our STM parishioners and is an easy way to help make a big impact feeding the homeless in our larger community. Any or every Wednesday, you can help by making sandwiches and or providing fruit / granola bars to be distributed to homeless shelters, low-income senior citizen homes, and foster children.  It is a great activity to do with kids. Learn more and sign up here.