Saturday, September 14th, 2013 in Juneau

In Juneau, registration for the Friends of the Poor fundraising walk is at 9 am in the narthex of St. Paul’s Church. The Juneau walk starts at 10 am. The walking route is from St. Paul’s parking lot to Fred Meyers and back to St. Paul’s. Please join us! If you cannot join, please consider giving a donation to the local St. Vincent de Paul council after the Masses on August 31st and September 1st. There will be representatives at each Mass to sign up walkers and collect donations.

walkThe Friends of the Poor walk is a national program coordinated by the Development Team at the national St. Vincent de Paul office.

The inaugural event took place in 2008 with the purpose of providing local Conferences and Councils the framework to host an event that would raise funds for their Conference or Council.

The event has grown each year, attracting more than 18,000 walkers and raising more than $1.4 million, with more than 1,000 Conferences and Councils participating.

The Answer to Poverty

By Ida Barnack

“The answer to poverty is not simply more income. The answer is choice and opportunity. The answer is freedom and dignity.”

Whether you are a poor farmer in India (the subject of the above quote from Jacqueline Novogratz, Director of Acumen), a homeless veteran on the street, or a single parent struggling with few skills and little preparation for parenthood, the answer is the same.  Without choices and opportunity, life becomes a daily grind of survival. Without long term goals and dreams it is easy to discard pride, health, and personal responsibility in favor of satisfying one’s most immediate need for relief from suffering.

I like to tell people that after decades of working with the poor, I have learned a great deal. I have learned that poor people are not less intelligent, moral or wise than I. I pray that I have learned to listen.

I have learned that at least 25% of our brethren, our fellow citizens, live in a world apart. They do not participate in our democracy, or in any fundamental sense in our economy. I am always surprised that this fact does not seem to bother most of us. For me, it is like an eight cylinder car running on six. Sooner or later, particularly in this competitive global economy, that car will be stalled on the side of the road.  Democracy requires a diverse, educated, involved electorate. Our nation’s economic strength is ultimately about the ingenuity of our people. As a society we cannot afford to waste 25% of our human resource.

Choice and Opportunity. The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Juneau works to find choice and opportunity for individuals to help them help themselves. We do not assume that we have a “program” that will meet each person’s need. We listen. We try to help in any way we can. Often it is permanent, safe, affordable housing. Sometimes it is a ticket home to family. Sometimes it is a food voucher, a Holiday basket, or help with a medical bill. Sometimes it is summer camp or music lessons to keep the light burning in a child’s eyes.

The Society is blessed because the vast majority of its financial support, about 70%, is generated by the local community. Patronage of our Thrift Store and local donations by individuals and businesses are the majority of that, contributions from the people we serve make up the rest.

The annual Walk for the Poor is the one time of the year we ask you directly to support our work. More important, it is a simple demonstration by those of us who enjoy choice and opportunity that we stand with all our brothers and sisters in need—that we will not forget them; that we will not rest until all have access to choice and opportunity. We hope you will walk with us on Saturday, September 14. 2013. If you cannot walk with us, we invite you to donate by sending a check to St Vincent De Paul or donating via our web site. You can also donate at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store.