The local St. Vincent de Paul is the main hub for distributing food to those in need, but what is behind this group of selfless individuals who serve their community?
Going to the source on their web site, their mission lays out their core value; "A network of friends, inspired by Gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need."
"I think of holiness as following the promptings of the Holy Spirit," commented President of the Prineville Conference St. Vincent de Paul Society of Crook County, Charlie Kurtz of the mission statement. "Holiness means you are seeking God, and the Holy Spirit leads us in 'being the hands of Christ' to those in need."'
The founder, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul, were inspired by Gospel values to establish the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization. The web site goes on to say its members are referred to as 'Vincentians', who come together from every ethnic and cultural background, age group, and economic level. The Society collaborates with other people of goodwill in relieving need and addressing its systemic causes, making no distinction in those served because, in them, Vincentians see the face of Christ.
Their objective is simple; to bring spiritual rewards to the givers, in addition to blessing the receivers in the name of Jesus Christ. To collaborate with others of goodwill to reach those most in need in Crook County, St. Vincent de Paul has a large number of volunteers from the community.
Long-term volunteer, Karin Davis, has been working with the food pantry for more than 16 years. She commented that they have people who volunteer from all walks of life, including youth.
"It's a good cause, because I have been doing it for a long time. We have all kinds of volunteers," said Davis.
Kurtz indicated that they have a long-standing tradition collaborating with churches as well as civic and government groups in Prineville in carrying out their work.
He added that it is also a great partnership with many churches who send members in need to St. Vincent de Paul. Kurtz said that St. Vincent can screen folks who need assistance with food, shelter, and basic needs.
"I love it because it is pretty much a team atmosphere. We are all working at it as a team and accomplishing a common objective."
Kurtz said that COVID has affected the outreach of many churches this past year. St. Vincent has received grants, donations, and outreach from the community this past year to meet the additional demand for services.
He feels that this is his job, and this is what he is called to do. He added that the other people who work at St., Vincent's have a similar calling, and are very committed people.
"I was called by the Holy Spirit to do this work. It is the more fulfilling and demanding job I've ever had. Jesus gave me this mission and sustains me in its work. There is no better feeling than doing the work the Lord called me to do," concluded Kurtz.
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