Video helps tell story of St. Vincent de Paul Society

The St. Vincent de Paul Society in the Diocese of Rockville Centre wants people to know all the good works they are doing, and their new promotional video is helping to spread the word.

“People have this image that we give away furniture and clothes, and we do so much more than that,” explained executive director Thomas Abbate. They do pick up furniture, have clothing bins, and operate three thrift stores in Garden City, Huntington, and Huntington Station, but “we also have 1,300 volunteers who go out to people’s homes to help individuals in the community,” Abbate said. “If we can have a long-term positive effect” on people’s lives, “that’s a good thing.”

The St. Vincent de Paul Society on Long Island has been operating since before the formation of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. “For many years, we worked under the radar, as it should be,” Abbate noted, “but it’s been a long time coming that we highlight” all the good work and services available through the society.

The 11-minute video, which was released over the summer, features interviews with Long Island Vincentian staff and volunteers as well as local recipients of Vincentian assistance. The video makes note of the clothing bins, furniture pick-ups, and thrift stores, but highlights how the St. Vincent de Paul Society uses funds from these projects as well as donations to help people pay utility bills or rent, or to subsidize college tuition. The funds also help the Vincentians operate Anthony House and Dismas House, transitional housing for men in need. The video also emphasizes the home visit — how pairs of Vincentians go to people’s homes to assess their real needs and to follow up after assistance is provided.

In addition to being available on YouTube and through the St. Vincent de Paul Society website, “we sent discs (of the video) to all our parishes that we have conferences in,” Abbate said. “We gave a copy of it to Bishop Murphy. We’re giving it to people in the community.” They also show it at some of their fundraising events. “It got a good response. Some of the people who come to these events and support us don’t always know everything the society does.”

Abbate noted that he hopes the effects of the video will be twofold. “We’re looking to get more people to volunteer with us,” he explained. “And we’re looking to bring people from the community in to say, ‘We didn’t know you did this. How can we help?’”

The video can be seen by visiting the St. Vincent de Paul Society website at www.svdprvc.org.