Representatives from each of the St. Vincent de Paul committees administering outreach efforts have been working together this month to plan for the new Outreach Center and Food Pantry that will be housed in our newly constructed Parish Center on the west side of the church. The Outreach Center will assist people with immediate needs for food, shelter, clothing and financial assistance. This would include a private reception area, an expanded food pantry, along with meeting rooms that may be used for counseling and education.
Members of One Can Help Program, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, as well as our Outreach Committee have been touring area food pantries to learn about best practices to help us design and run our food pantry here at St. Vincent de Paul. This past month they have visited the St. Vincent de Paul Pantry on Leavenworth Street, the Heart Ministry Center on Binney Street and Together, Inc. on South 24th Street to learn more about how the food pantries are set-up and operated. These site visits will help us develop a vision for how we want to design the space for our food pantry and how we want to operate and run the pantry. “At these early stages, we are exploring all our options right now to challenge ourselves to develop the best plan for our Outreach Center and Food Pantry that will work for St. Vincent de Paul and West Omaha,” said Jenni Vankat, Pastoral Minister. The committee is looking at options that will best serve our families in need and hope to offer a “choice” pantry, which gives individuals and families the ability to shop the pantry to get items that best fit their families’ needs so that food is not wasted.
The Outreach Center and Food Pantry will allow St. Vincent de Paul to fulfill its mission of serving the poor and those in need in a whole new way. As the Jubilee Year of Mercy comes to an end, we are inspired with the opportunities this new Center will bring to offer the much needed services in West Omaha.