Washington has many organizations that help individuals in need within the community.
Some of the organizations are well known for the efforts while others prefer to fly under the radar. One of those groups that likes to fly a bit more under the radar is St. Vincent de Paul.
A world-wide Catholic lay organization, there over 170,000 members in the U.S. alone and another 700,000 in 144 other countries. Members of the the organization strive to grow both spiritually and personally by offering assistance to those in need.
That assistance could be in the form of clothing and other personal items, help paying utilities and rent, visiting nursing facilities, or the offering of spiritual help.
The local St. Vincent de Paul Conference, or organization, has 21 active members who attend regular meetings and vote on necessary issues. Nearly three dozen associate members volunteer to run the thrift store, located on Main Street. The Conference also operates an assistance line for those in need.
“We are blessed to also have a Vincentian Youth Group comprised of high school aged members as well,” said Charles Wickman, a member of the organization.
Members of the youth group also sometimes volunteer their time at the store.
Washington is one of only a few Conference’s to have a thrift store. Out of the 4,600 Conferences in the U.S., only about 400 stores exist. Vincennes and Loogootee are also home to St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores.
The stores provide customers with gently used, clean merchandise at reasonable prices. All the proceeds from the sale of the merchandise goes to help those in need within the Daviess County community.
“The thrift store receives no money from the Catholic church,” said Wickman. “And no money is given to the church. This is sometimes misunderstood by the public. We do not receive government funding either.”
One thing that sets the thrift store apart from the others is that it is only store known by the Conference to be ran entirely by dedicated volunteers. No one is on the payroll.
“We depend on the generosity of the community for donations of clean, clothing, furniture and housewares. These donations help us help others,” said Wickman.
St. Vincent de Paul was nominated by Elizabeth Perkins, a member of the youth group. Perkins describes the volunteers as “selfless, kind and willing to give a helping hand whenever and where ever it is needed.”
“They model their lives after St. Vincent de Paul not only in the store but also outside the store and in their daily lives,” said Perkins. “They dedicate their lives serving the poor and less fortunate. I believe that everyone should strive to live his or her life like the members of St. Vincent de Paul.”
St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store is located at 815E. Main. Hours for the store are Tuesday through Friday 1 p.m to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. until noon.