When a Friend Passes
Several months ago, an elderly man arrived at the Society Food Pantry at St. Matthias Catholic Church requesting help with food and a utility bill. He completed an application and was approved for bi-monthly food assistance and payment of a pending water bill to avoid a service disconnect.
As our Vincentians were loading the food into his car, they noticed that Jimmy was having a lot of trouble with his balance, almost falling several times. Our Vincentians discussed this with Jimmy and learned that he had severe back and neck issues and was scheduled for two operations to address the problems. Our Vincentians were concerned with Jimmy’s ability to drive and suggested that they would make home deliveries. Jimmy was thrilled and thankful for the service.
Once our Vincentians started to do the deliveries, they were able to have a good Home Visit with extended discussions. They learned that Jimmy had been self- employed for over 50 years and was financially stable. Unfortunately, he suffered a stroke earlier that year.
Around the time of the stroke Jimmy gave power of attorney to a “friend” who volunteered to help with his affairs. His “friend” proceeded to liquidate Jimmy’s assets and use the proceeds for her own needs. This elderly and vulnerable man was taken advantage of at a time when he needed help and compassion.
Our Vincentians continued supporting Jimmy throughout the year with food. Most importantly, they spent time with him in the spirit of Vincentian friendship and love. Our Vincentians recently learned of Jimmy's passing.
"We are happy to have known Jimmy and believe we made a positive impact in his last months. We hope that we were able to restore Jimmy’s faith and trust in mankind." - Vincentians from St. Matthias.
About the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP): The Society is a faith-based nonprofit organization helping families living in poverty in the greater Galveston-Houston area since 1871. We are a network of 58 parish-based chapters with over 1,900 Vincentian volunteers actively doing Home Visits every day. Stories are submitted monthly by our Vincentians in the form of short reflections of their encounters. Vincentians endeavor to establish relationships based on trust and friendship. Conscious of their own frailty and weakness, their hearts beat with the heartbeat of the poor. They do not judge those they serve. Rather, they seek to understand them as they would a brother or sister. The Society serves everyone in need regardless of creed, ethnic or social background, health, gender, religious belief, or political opinions. *Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.