ank You! Volunteers drive
the equation St. Vincent de Paul store fueled
by volunteers By
Heimermann added. Volunteers make the wheels turn at Kiel’s St. Vincent de Paul store. From maintaining racks with inventory, to reviewing electronic products to marking up items for sale, the volunteers play many roles in assisting the local St. Vincent de

Mike Mathes Both customers and volunteer worker are sharing excitement about a new display racking system at the Kiel St. Vincent de

Paul store. What may seem like a minor change on surface is providing big benefits for those who shop and those who volunteer at

the store. Expanded racking is the key to St. Vincent de Paul’s switch from seasonal offerings to being an all

season’sstore. “ We used to put our clothing out according to seasons. We just did not have enough room,” said store manager

Vicky Heimermann. The expanded display potential means customers see more offerings at one time. Additionally, volunteers don’t have to bear the burden of changing the displays with

theseasons. “ We are going through the transition now, and we are hoping to put things in order to make them easier to find,” Heimermannsaid. “ This gives us a better opportunity to group things by category and that makes it easier for

the shopper.” More than clothing

to offer While clothing leads the list of offerings at St. Vincent de Paul, other categories are growing

in popularity. Furniture has become a bigitem. “ We have been fortunate in the furniture area, as many fantastic donations of really good quality items have come to us. Some of our local furniture stores are really supportive of what we are doing and offer donated items, or something that has been replaced with a

new item. St. Vincent de Paul also has a great selection of books

andrecordings. “ The store is a great place to get inexpensive entertainment. Our videos and DVDs are really economical,”

Heimermann said. Heimermann said the support of the wider community has beenfantastic. “ We owe a special thanks to the community for al the donations. This year we have a great supply of donated items. Normally, by this time of winter, our warehouse is empty,”

she said. Volunteers make the

place go St. Vincent de Paul isfueled by volunteers— the groupthat “ makes the

place go.” A total of 74 volunteers comprise the staff that takes on various tasks. Some sort clothes and mark. Some volunteers work just with books and videos. Others are assigned to dishes, cleaning them and pricing them for sale. Still others work with toys

orelectronics. “ We have some of the guys in the warehouse who tear junk items apart and salvage metal or copper wire,”

Heimermann said. Another segment of volunteers takes on the responsibilities of deliveries and pickups, or handle loading and unloading of

donate items. Volunteers of all Christian denominations assist at the St. Vincent de

Paul store. The store itself isa non-denominational support mechanism for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which provides assistance to families and individuals in need among

our communities. When people are qualified through an interview process, they can receive help directly from the store in the form of material contributions. Beyond that the St. Vincent de Paul Society can provide financial support for utilities and other assistance. Funds used to support those contributions are generated from sales at

thestore. “ We help people primarily in the Kiel area school district,” Heimermannsaid. “ But we have reached out beyond to areas like St. Cloud, Mt. Calvary or Cleveland because no one else was serving

those areas.” Surplus goes

to Africa Even the items that aren’t sold locally have value to someone. They are packed and shipped off to a collection point in northern Illinois. From there, the materials are sent

toAfrica. “ We don’t have to landfill these items. They go to Africa and are sold in flea markets there,”

Heimermann said. St. Vincent de Paul shipped to Goodwill prior to this year, but Goodwill is no longer accepting

theirmaterials. “ We were excited to find this other collection point. It’s nice to know that the materials that aren’t used here are going someplace they can be used,”

she said. Whether their help serves neighbors in our local communities, or people in a distant land, the volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul make a difference in

people’s lives. Yet, they also reap their ownbenefits. “ Our volunteers have a lot of fun together. For some of them, it’s a social outlet. They develop friendships with the people they work with here,”

Heimermannnoted. “ We really offer a big thanks to all of our volunteers. We wouldn’t be able to do the services we do without them. We encourage others to join us, because we do have lots of fun here,”