It’s 9am at St. Vincent de Paul Center and the building is bustling with staff and volunteers, awake and ready to work on a Saturday. As the doors to the building prepare to open, volunteers get to their stations, and stand in a line in the lobby, waiting to greet their guests for the day.
This is the scene every year in early November at MSV’s north side location. For the last 49 years, MSV has hosted the Luncheon and Resource Fair for the Homeless, an annual event where housing insecure guests receive medical and legal care, haircuts, sleeping bags, and supplies to stay warm in the winter. Those in attendance also sit down and enjoy a hot Thanksgiving meal in the center’s gymnasium-turned-dining room, where they converse with staff and volunteers.
This year, MSV’s staff, Board members, Associate Board members, and 120 volunteers welcomed over 400 guests who took advantage of the services at the resource fair. Thanks to the clothing and coat drive by Holy Family Parish, parents were able to pick out clothes for their children and try on new winter coats to find the best fit. The folks from Warm Wishes greeted each guest with a smile, offering them their choice of sleeping bag, with many colors to choose from. Students from Cannella School of Hair Design set up stations in a conference room, where guests sat down and described what they wanted for their haircut, in all helping provide 100 haircuts to people that day.
It’s 2pm at St. Vincent de Paul Center and the guests have come and gone. Volunteers who arrived in the morning are now helping break down tables and chairs. Partners are packing up their supplies. Staff are cleaning the rooms in anticipation for programs to start again on Monday.
So many people have partnered with MSV at this event year after year. Dr. Gianfortune and Dr. Scholl’s College of Podiatric Medicine have provided foot care to the homeless guests for 12 years. Warm Wishes has donated sleeping bags and volunteered for 20 years. Mike Sturch aka “Santa Mike” and his family and friends have sponsored the Luncheon and Resource Fair for all 49 years. Their support and commitment has made an enormous impact on the homeless guests we serve every year. We couldn’t be more grateful.
Whether it was your first time or your 49th, thank you for being a part of the Luncheon and Resource Fair for the Homeless at MSV.
It’s not too late to be a part of this event! Donate to the Santa Mike Fund and help make it happen again next year.