The West Oakland neighborhood that houses the SVdP Community Center and Dining Room is one of the most distressed in Northern California. Nearly a third of area residents subsist on incomes below the poverty threshold. Nearly half of single-mother households in the area live below the poverty line. Those who eat at the SVdP Dining Room have an average income of little more than $5,000 per year.
SVdP serves those who live in poverty, those who are struggling to make ends meet. They may lack in education, they may struggle with literacy. They may have physical and mental disabilities, they may have prison records. The common thread, though, is they are all human beings.
SVdP provides tangible assistance to homeless and at-risk persons to help them meet basic needs, build self-sufficiency, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a nonprofit organization that provides direct assistance to needy men, women and children in Alameda County.
The organization, founded in 1938, exists to meet the needs of the poor and the homeless. Following the tradition of Frederic Ozanam, founder of the International Society of St. Vincent de Paul, SVdP serves anyone in need, regardless of race, creed or origin.
This past year, SVdP served more than 150,000 needy people throughout the county. SVdP’s Special Works division provides:
- Free Dining Room serving hot meals to the hungry five days a week
- Food Locker that provides groceries for food pantries around the county
- Drop-in resource centers for homeless and very low-income people
- Clothing Closet for free clothing to the homeless
- Two job training programs: the Kitchen of Champions culinary training program and the Champion Workforce transitional employment program
- The Help Desk and referrals as needed
SVdP’s Social Enterprises division helps keep Alameda County green and offers job training for the poor. Our thrift stores, Redux Studios & Gallery, an auto donation program and an electronic waste collection business divert hundreds of tons of material from local landfills. The enterprises provide income to the organization while providing employment for participants in our job training programs.