The St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) Conference at Sacred Heart Church is one of over 15 conferences (chapters) made up of volunteers at Roman Catholic parishes in Hillsborough County. The conferences all offer assistance to the poor in their areas to the extent they can, using parish donations, most offering some financial assistance to needy parishioners and neighbors as well as food pantries at several parishes. None of the conferences has full-time paid staff or funding from government agencies or corporate sources.

Sacred Heart is located downtown, and those requesting assistance can call the main parish phone number, (813) 229-1595 to leave a voice mail message for SVDP volunteers. It is not necessary to come to the church, and volunteers are not on duty at the parish office, but respond by phone and arrange for a home visit before offering financial assistance. Because of limited donations and a growing number of calls for assistance, financial aid is limited to those living in the vicinity of the church in ZIP codes 33602, 33603 and 33606, or those who are members of the parish but living elsewhere.

In order to avoid unnecessary disappointments and wasted efforts on the part of those seeking financial assistance as well as SVDP volunteers, we ask government social service agencies, church organizations and others to limit Sacred Heart referrals to those living in ZIPS 33602, 33603 and 33606. That will allow us to effectively focus on our neighbors who are also your clients. The SVDP Thrift Store and Food Pantry at 12310 North Nebraska Avenue is supported by all SVDP conferences; those in need from all over the county can be referred there, but financial assistance with housing, utilities, etc. is not available there.

[Article submitted by Mike Switzer]

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