SOUTH BEND — A record turnout of Vincentians, benefactors and guests attended the Fourth Annual St. Vincent de Paul Society Legacy Dinner at Century Center in South Bend. The event was held April 28 for the benefit of the society and featured Lou Holtz as the keynote speaker.
Holtz, the highly successful former head football coach at the University of Notre Dame and currently a college football analyst for ESPN, inspired the audience with his humorous yet poignant remarks about the importance of a caring, generous community to support the works of organizations like St. Vincent de Paul that serve the needs of the poor.
“I have lived in many communities and have never seen one whose residents are as consistently generous as the people in the South Bend area,” he said.
Over 900 people were in attendance at the event that consisted of silent and live auctions, dinner and a special video that celebrated the accomplishments of the society over the past year and spoke to the challenges that lie ahead.
The video also featured the story of Tina Garman, a single mother whose daughter Jasmine was born with such serious disabilities that she was only given a week to live. Jasmine is now three years old and her mother describes her as “a fighter, a miracle baby.” With the assistance of Vincentian Laurie Miller, the society has provided Garman with food and financial assistance to help her care for her family. Garman concluded her interview with an emotional thank you for all the support she has received.
St. Vincent’s Executive Director Charlie Thompson expressed his appreciation for the generosity of those in attendance.
Although the final results are still being tabulated, Thompson said, “We know that this was the biggest and most financially successful event our society has ever held. Words do not express our gratitude for the generosity of all who attended and gave so willingly to support our mission. I also need to thank our event chairs, Kathy Seidl and Patti Walz, and their team of volunteers for all their hard work in making our dinner such a success.”
St. Vincent de Paul Society purchases former Madison Center facility
SOUTH BEND — The St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County has finalized the purchase of the former Sunshine Clubhouse, part of the Madison Center complex near downtown South Bend. The 12,000 square-foot facility, located at 520 Crescent Ave., just off Niles Avenue, will house the society’s administrative offices and programs and provide space for meetings, retreats, liturgies, training and social functions.
The announcement was made jointly by Jan Jenkins, board president, and Charles Thompson, executive director. According to Thompson, the new facility will enable the society to fulfill its mission of service to the needy in ways that were not possible previously.
“The Sunshine Clubhouse is not only newer and more centrally located than our current program offices, but it also provides an environment that better respects the dignity and privacy of our clients,” said Thompson.
Jenkins noted the opportunities for additional programming and support of the conferences (chapters) at 18 local Catholic parishes. “Providence has presented us a great opportunity,” Jenkins said. “This is an ideal facility that became available at just the right time at a very reasonable price.”
The purchase includes the building, office furniture and fixtures, commercial kitchen, parking and an adjacent lot. St. Vincent de Paul plans to design an addition to the space which will allow for programmatic expansion. The organization also expects to make office space available for potential community partners.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County is a Catholic lay organization that provides food, clothing and financial assistance to families in the county. The society’s mission is supported by two thrift stores that sell gently used clothing, furniture, household items, appliances and collectibles.
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