St. Vincent de Paul helps area residents
By Faye Burg
Faye Burg photo
St. Vincent de Paul volunteers Bob Benzschawel, Molly Faust, Cyndi Poisson, and Ed Majkrzak work sorting donations and getting items ready for sale at the St. Vincent de Paul retail store in Kiel.
St Vincent de Paul volunteers Terry Zimmerman and Gene Schnell assist customers purchasing merchandise at the St. Vincent de Paul retail store. Faye Burg photo

With another expansion recently completed, St. Vincent de Paul continues to provide a vast array of quality services to area residents in need.

The newest building, completed in 2015, provides much needed storage facilities as well as a place for loading and unloading the organization’s truck inside and out of the elements. “We also store the skids of bags that are donated to us by H. G. Weber,” Victoria Heimermann, manager of the Kiel location. “They support of every year with bags.”

“We constructed the first building 15 years ago, with an addition built five years later, and now this newest addition which was five years after the last addition,” Heimermann said. “The resale store provides money to fund the Society. The Society’s mission is to help the poor.”

One of the ways St. Vincent helps area residents and families in need is by conducting home visits. St. Vincent de Paul Society member Leslie Schuette plays an active role in the home visits. “We interview and find out who lives in the home and how benefits might help them,” Schuette explained. “Everything is kept confidential. We receive names of those who might be in need through referrals, walk-ins, and people who call asking for help.”

Helping in many ways

Schuette said job loss, health issues, and simply just being down on their luck bring those seeking help to St. Vincent. “We try to help them as much as we can and we also can refer them to other organizations. We try to follow up to see how they are doing.”

From grocery cards to furniture, clothing and other household needs, St. Vincent’s 85 volunteers provide needed assistance each year. “You don’t have to be Catholic to volunteer,” Schuette added.

Donations are a big part of the success of the Society. “The drop off area is in the building connected to the store,” Heimermann said. “There is a sign on the door and donations are accepted during store hours. Those wishing to donate can also call for free pick up, which we do twice a week.”

Christmas Cheer program

Each year the Christmas Cheer program helps people in need during the holidays. “We have done this since the early 1980’s,” Schuette said. “We solicit businesses and families to make donations to the program and in turn we are able to help with holiday meals and Christmas gifts. We save new items that are donated through out the year also. Barrels are placed throughout the city so citizens can donate.”

Participating families have the opportunity to shop over a three-day period. 77 families were part of the program in 2015. “They can take as much clothing as they would like,” Heimermann said. “We have a guideline for the number of games and toys per child and when they are finished they receive Piggly Wiggly gift cards.”

Schuette said a special part of the program is an area resident that provides home baked goods for each family. “Zielanis Elementary School and Divine Savior School each has a class every year that collects and contributes as well.”

Heimermann is grateful for the volunteers who help each day at the facility. “We have the greatest, dedicated, reliable volunteers,” she said. “It is very rewarding knowing the time, money and items donated are going to help people.”

Both Heimermann and Schuette encourage everyone to stop in and check out the offerings at St. Vincent de Paul. “This is an amazing operation,” Schuette said. “It is so efficient and very little goes to waste.”

“We would like to thank the people who donate,” Heimermann said. “If not for them, we couldn’t do what we are doing.”

“You do not have to be needy to shop here,” Heimermann added. ”Anyone can shop here and anyone can volunteer. The money made funds the ministry. Please come shop and donate.”

St. Vincent de Paul is located at 1234 Teckla Dr. in Kiel and can be reached by calling 894-7834.