As the holiday season approaches, I think of the good works of mercy and compassion happening here at St. Vincent de Paul – and I’m thankful for you. You’ve been a great friend supporting our efforts throughout the year.
But as I write today, many here in the Southeast Michigan community are hungry and homeless. They’re in desperate need of our help, yours and mine.
They need us, especially now in the weeks ahead. You see, it’s during the holidays that hunger and homelessness sting the most. But with your help we can comfort our neighbors in need. We can show them mercy, lift them up, let them know someone cares.
They need us, especially during the harsh winter months.
If you’ve ever wondered what your gift means to a struggling family, let me tell you about Sarah,* a mother of three small children…
Life wasn’t easy, but Sarah, was grateful for every small blessing. She was thankful to be employed. Thankful for her children and doing the best she could despite being abandoned by her husband.
But one day she began to feel ill. She told herself it was nothing and put off going to the doctor. But when she didn’t get better, she knew she had to go. After a series of appointments Sarah received bad news: she had breast cancer. It had been a fear in the back of her mind… two of her aunts died of the disease… and now it was a reality for her.
The problems Sarah faced, however, ran deeper than the cancer itself.
When she started treatment, Sarah had to cut back on her work schedule. That meant less income to provide for her family. The extra medical expenses made it impossible to keep up on all fronts. She found herself having to choose between her medical needs and providing the basics for her family. Can you even imagine having to choose?
Soon, Sarah began falling behind on rent and skipping some of her medication. She didn’t want to die and she didn’t want to lose her home. She didn’t know what to do or where to turn. Then, someone told her about St. Vincent de Paul…
And because of compassionate friends like YOU, we were able to help. We assisted with rent payments while Sarah was in treatment. We continued to hold Sarah and her children close as she struggled through chemotherapy, radiation and, finally, a double mastectomy.
With you behind us, we comforted Sarah’s family through it all. At Thanksgiving we made sure they had the simple gift of a special meal together. And at Christmas we helped provide toys and winter clothes for the children.
Today, Sarah is cancer-free and back to work. We are so proud of her and her family. And she is so, so grateful that we were able to walk beside them during a dark and frightening time.
This is what YOU make possible. This is the fruit of YOUR generosity.
But every day, other families in desperate need come and ask, “I’m praying that you can help us. Please, will you help?”
Because YOU bless us with your assistance, the answer is, “YES! We can!”
With you behind us, we’re able to help others in their time of need. We’ll lift them up with food, shelter, emergency assistance, counseling and every kind of help they need.
As you celebrate Christmas, I pray your heart will be filled with beauty, joy and all the blessings of the season. God bless you for caring and for taking action today!
With warmest blessings of the coming season,
Deacon Chris Stark