Men's Breakfast Report, March 2011

The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, March 12 with Charlie Arnold, Vice president of the local Saint Vincent DePaul Society.  Charlie is employed by Mahomet Heavy Lifting Company and has been a devoted Catholic. He lives in Lake Jackson but attends Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea.  He has two children, one of whom is a monk who has taken a vow of poverty.  He owns nothing but two sets of clothes, a bible and a rosary.  He has gone all over the world to serve in various capacities such as Haiti and Mexico.  Charlie himself got interested in working with the Saint Vincent DePaul Society when he had to help with the victims of Katrina in Houston. 

The Saint Vincent DePaul Society was founded by   Fredrick Ozanam  and Pere Bailly in 1833 in France in response to the French atheistic academics.  The society‘s mission is the service of God in the persons of the poor.  The society is named after a French Saint of the seventeenth century noted for his service to the poor.   The society is organized in to conferences attached to Catholic parishes, but are not directly legally attached to the church.  Not all parishes have Saint Vincent DePaul’s chapters.  For example, the Danbury parish has a different group to carry out its charitable work.  The Saint Mary’s chapter caries out charitable work in its parish.   The Saint Jerome’s chapter caries out work in part of Clute, but because of limited funds it has had to transfer some of its work to Saint Michaels which has Lake Jackson and part of Clute as its service are. 

The society provides help in various ways to the needy including food, drugs and rental and utility assistance.  The primary assistance is with food since costs for the others are beyond what the society can normally provide.  Unlike with Brazosport Cares food pantry, food is delivered directly to the recipient at their homes. This allows the helper to see the actual situation of the person and to provide spiritual help.  The Freeport chapter assists about 800 families every month.  The chapter is also helping with the Backpack Ministry feeding homeless children over weekend.  The chapter does not work directly with Brazosport Cares or the Salvation Army but does have its own screeners to separate the needy from the greedy.  Sergeant Cardozo of the Freeport Police department is a big help here.  Charlie said it is surprising what the police know about the people in the area.  The society has also helped in ways such as Hurricane Ike recovery.

The society gets its funds by passing black bags through the Catholic congregations at mass several times per year.  They also have food drives that directly collect food.  There are also some large donors that give directly to the organization. 

As usual, the men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  The Next meeting will be Saturday, April 9th.