Committed Action on Behalf of the Underrepresented
The poor and marginalized are often taken advantage of in our society. Our volunteers are committed to not only giving direct tangible aid (such as financial assistance to help pay the rent to keep families together), but also often act as liaisons between a friend and a person in authority – such as a landlord that continues to pile fees on top of an already struggling tenant or refuses to keep the grounds safe by providing appropriate lighting, knowing that it is intimidating for someone to speak out.
Accessing Resources for Friends in Need
No act of charity is foreign to the Society. Many people do not understand their rights or what resources are available to them. During our person-to-person time with our friends, we try to educate and bolster confidence so that they can learn to problem solve and function in a complicated and demanding society.
Being a Voice of the Poor
Voice of the Poor (VOP) is the advocacy arm of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. With members representing every section and demographic of the nation, we identify those issues that are critical to people living in poverty and need, and help bring attention to them so communities and our elected representatives can help develop strategies and tactics that will provide the most effective and efficient means to reduce or eliminate poverty. Visit the SVdP USA website to learn more about what you can do to be the voice for the voiceless and the Society’s position on issues that affect those living in poverty.
Systemic Change is Our Goal
The definition of systemic change developed by the entire Vincentian Family around the world fundamentally means that any work “among those living in poverty aims to go beyond just providing food, clothing and shelter to alleviate immediate needs, and enables people themselves to engage in the identification of the root causes of their poverty and to create strategies to change those structures which keep them in poverty. This also requires changing attitudes that have caused the problem.” It becomes very important, then, for us to collaborate with other organizations to address root causes of the social, political, and economic conditions of the people we serve.
Some of the root causes of poverty include:
- Individual behaviors (e.g., single parenthood, spending habits, planning skills, future orientation, commitment to achievement, language experience…)
- Community human and social capital (e.g., availability of well-paying jobs / quality education / childcare, adequate skill sets, suburbanization of manufacturing, neighborhood decline…)
- Exploitation (e.g., Discrimination, payday lenders, gambling, temp work…)
- Political and economic structures (globalization, decline of unions, taxation patterns, immigration patters, corporate influence on legislators…)
Helping individuals and communities eliminate poverty will require actions that systematically address issues across each.
To learn more about the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teachings, click here
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops plays a vital role in consistently working on vital issues confronting the Church and society to include strengthening marriage and family and affirming the life and dignity of each human person.
To learn more about the Texas Catholic Conference position on institutional concerns of the Catholic Church as well as issues related to Catholic moral and social teaches, visit Texas Catholic Conference website.