St. Vincent de Paul Outreach Ministries was started here in Nelson County in 1992 by Father Patrick Creed, then pastor of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral. We are an outreach ministry of St. Joseph Parish and are administered by a Board of Directors, which includes the current pastor and meets quarterly. We have grown to 7 paid employees: Director, Store Manager, Sales Associate Assistant, Receptionist, Sort Room Attendant/Custodian, and Pick up/Delivery Driver, as well as 1 People Ready Temp employee. The Bread for Life Community Food Pantry has 7 staff (4 supplied by Sunflower Fund, 2 with People Ready and the Manager with SVDP) and approx. 40 volunteers. Our Mission Statement reads: “Urged by the Spirit of Christ, we commit ourselves to the service of those in need and the preservation of each person’s dignity.”
With this in mind, we provide compassion and support to individuals in need, regardless of race, origin, religion or gender through client assistance with rent, utilities, gas, emergency shelter, clothing, furniture, household items, and food assistance. Our assistance is for Nelson County residents, although the mission store gives monthly excess clothing donations to 2 separate Missions in Eastern Kentucky serving a 7 county area and we have over 20 “side ministries” we assist the church and community with.
We have about 45 active volunteers in the Mission Store who serve as receptionists (greeting clients, making appointments, answering phones, scheduling pick-ups), store cashiers/clerks, sorters (sorting donated items), rag cutters (we sell to local factories), and drivers/delivery/pick-up volunteers. We are very grateful for our volunteers but can always use more. Typically volunteers work 4-hour shifts, once/week at Mission Store and 3-hour shifts at Food Pantry. If you are looking to donate your time and talent, please call us and we’ll work with your schedule. The Mission Store needs cashiers, sort room attendants as well as men volunteers for the pick-up/delivery of items. The Food Pantry could always use volunteers to work the intake computer, stock, or help clients shop for their groceries. Please consider giving it a try – you’ll be blessed AND will be helping a worthy cause!
The Thrift Store is open Monday thru Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 pm. The third week of every month we have a bag sale. All clothing that fits into a grocery bag is just $5! We have just about everything imaginable – come check us out! Proceeds from the Thrift store and all donations go back into the community in the form of financial and household/furniture assistance. We have clothing bins in the alleyway behind the store – please drop off your clothing donations anytime. We even take absorbent clothing that’s not quite good enough to sell (stained/holes) because we can make rags out of them and sell to local businesses.
Bread for Life Community Food Pantry is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. (closed for lunch 12-12: 30 pm), and Saturday 9am-12pm. We provide food assistance to families in need. Almost 70% of the people we serve are either over the age of 60, disabled, or veterans. Of our clients served, 35% are below the age of 18. On average, we provide food assistance to over 600 different households from Nelson County and distribute more than 40,000 lbs of food and other items each month. About 76% of our food purchase is from Feeding America in Elizabethtown, with an average price per pound at $0.15-$0.20. With $1 we can purchase over 6 lbs of food. For this reason, we rely heavily on monetary donations to the food pantry. We also work with the Nelson County Extension Office and the local farmers who provide our pantry with beautiful fresh produce as a healthy, nutritious option for our clients. And with support from the Sunflower Fund, we purchase fresh produce from Bud’s Produce in Elizabethtown for about $0.36 cents a lb. We also pick up donations twice a week from Kroger, which generates approx. 2,500 lbs per month. We also receive donations and support from many other churches, organizations, and other community members. You may also drop off canned goods any weekend in the back of the church. The food pantry also partners with different community resources, offering educational classes like job opportunities, basic budgeting, & cooking classes.
The Food Pantry also receives tremendous support from the annual Souper Bowl of Caring Fundraiser headed by Ellen Sprigg and St. Joseph’s Youth Group. Last February they raised $11,500 for the food pantry. We also benefit from the many food drives throughout the year from Boy Scouts, many local schools, churches, Post Office, local businesses, and clubs.
In June of 2017, the food pantry launched a new service, Meals from the Heart, in partnership with the Sunflower Fund, Guthrie Opportunity Center, and Feeding America. We are currently delivering 300 microwave ready meals a week to 60 homebound individuals and totally free of charge to the recipient. There are still folks out there who need this service who are not yet receiving it, so we need more volunteers. Please consider delivering meals once a week.
Starting in November 2016, we joined with various other churches and local organizations to be a part of “Room In The Inn-Nelson County”. This is an Emergency Homeless Shelter Winter program which runs from November 1st to March 31st each year. Anyone needing this help may call 502-343-7000. Registration is daily from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church, 209 N. 2nd Street, Bardstown, KY.
We would not be able to help people as we do if it weren’t for our wonderful volunteers and donations from the community. Our work is the epitome of works of mercy! Any donations would be greatly appreciated. Please just mark your offering envelope that you wish to give to Saint Vincent de Paul or donate online at our website or drop by the store or pantry. If you would like a tour of SVDP Mission Store or Bread for Life Community Food Pantry, please contact us and we would be glad to set up a time and date!
If you have any questions regarding any of these services or if you know a family in need, please call Susan Hardin, Executive Director, Tina Melgoza, Store Manager at 348-9752 or Chris Godbey, Food Pantry Manager, at 348-7270.