St. Vincent de Paul, the namesake of our organization was born in 1581. He had the opportunity to work for a wealthy family and be given a small plot of land to support himself and his family, but after being called to hear a deathbed confession realized he was meant to work with the poor. Seeing a need in communities that may not be able to get to a church to receive help, he worked with nuns in the Daughters of Charity to create a system of going to serve those in need where they are.
Frederick Ozanam founded what would become St. Vincent de Paul the nonprofit in 1833. He had been sitting with friends from college talking about how much good the Catholic church had done when his professor asked what he personally was doing to help those in need. Frederick began working with the same group of nuns that St. Vincent de Paul had- the Daughters of Charity- to create an organization inspired by their work.
The message was contagious, and soon St. Vincent de Paul spread all over the world. It now exists in 153 countries with over 800,000 members. Most St. Vincent de Paul locations are in areas of poverty so that they are accessible to those in need. They fill gaps in community services, offering programs involving education, financial assistance, homeless shelters, childcare, affordable pharmacies, and more.
St. Vincent de Paul of Des Moines has offered services to residents of Polk County and its surrounding counties for 96 years. We have classes available in financial literacy and career readiness. In addition, we have more intensive workforce development programs called Back2Work and Ready2Work which help individuals gain soft skills and get connected with employment opportunities. Our Immersion program offers support to those reentering from incarceration through mentoring and helps individuals navigate common barriers. We also operate two pantries where food, clothing, hygiene items, household necessities, and infant needs are available. Our two thrift stores help support all of the programmings we offer to families in need. Everything we do at St. Vincent de Paul has the goal of helping those in need reach self-sufficiency through education, community-connectedness, and unconditional support.