Project Answer the Call An opportunity to invite Him in

Society of St.Vincent de Paul
of the Twin Cities
Project Answer the Call
An opportunity to invite Him in
The need
Since Bishop Joseph Cretin organized the area’s first St. Vincent de Paul Conference in 1856, the Society has
worked tirelessly with and for the poor, the homeless, the lonely, defenseless and voiceless.
Demographic data of the area surrounding St. Bernard’s show that the median income for a family of four is
just over $29,000 and 37% of the population lives below the poverty line. As a result, new arrivals face
PMS 300
immense challenges.
Today, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is thriving in the Archdiocese. Through local Parish Conferences,
two thrift stores and a recycling facility in the Twin Cities, St. Vincent de Paul last year served 42,378 of our
neighbors in need.
Our strong, reliable partner network, hundreds of committed volunteers and teams of dedicated employees
and board members combine to make our business model and our mission to serve the poor, successful and
This fact hasn’t gone unnoticed by Fr. Mike Anderson and the St. Bernard community he leads. As champion
of the Karenni Youth Conference, he sees an abundance of energy, faith and commitment in this group of
tireless volunteers. It is his vision to channel this enthusiasm into a project that fulfills the Conference’s
two-fold mission: Welcome and help settle new refugee arrivals and help establish an identity as people who
contribute to the good of the Parish and community.
The Karenni
A new population of immigrants from Myanmar
(formerly Burma) began to settle in the North End of
St. Paul in 2009. These new arrivals are from a
country ravaged by war and torture. With a stop at
one or more refugee camps, many arrive here with
little or nothing. This population is growing.
Nearly all are Catholic.
St. Bernard’s
St. Vincent de Paul Youth Conference
Members of the St. Bernards Karenni
The Church of St. Bernard is the only Parish in the
Youth Conference learn the benefits
Archdiocese that enjoys two St. Vincent de Paul
of a community garden during St.
Conferences. The original Conference began serving
Vincent de Paul’s national conference
those in need in 2005, and last year helped thousands
in September.
from the Parish and surrounding neighborhoods. In
2013 a group of energetic Karenni youth and young
adults formed the St. Bernard’s Karenni Youth Conference of St. Vincent de Paul. This dynamic group of
more than 25 volunteers welcomes new immigrants from Myanmar, Congo, Bhutan, Nepal and other
troubled areas who are beginning new lives in St. Paul. In addition to providing translation services,
Conference members assist in finding housing and employment, and help new arrivals set up their
The St. Bernard’s Conference opened monthly free stores in 2007. The program shares food,
personal care items, new & used clothing and toys. Most Sundays, the group serves 400 families.
The solution
To fulfill this lofty mission, the Conference has partnered with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to create a
multi-purpose Service Center to meet the needs of families and individuals beginning new lives in St. Paul.
The Service Center will provide classes in
• English language
• Cultural understanding
• Budgeting
• Parenting
• Citizenship
Thrift store
Volunteers will help new arrivals
• Find housing
• Look for employment
• Enroll children in school
• Secure job training
• Direct immigrants to other
social and private services
In addition, the facility will house a thrift store that will serve both the general public and refugee families
who are new to St. Paul. The store will be supplied by the same St. Vincent de Paul warehouse that
distributes clothing, furniture, housewares and other items to its stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul.