History and Core Program
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul was founded in Paris in 1833, by a young French student, Frédéric Ozanam, to confront his city’s devastating poverty. Inspired by St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century French priest who had an untiring commitment to serving the poor, Ozanam’s mission was clear – help the needy on a one-to-one basis and “accomplish through charity what justice alone cannot do.” Compassion in action was the heart of Frederic Ozanam’s spirituality.
Today, the Society is a network of charity in 142 countries. The first Santa Clara County St. Vincent de Paul Conference was founded in 1946 and currently there are 24 parish based Conferences located in Santa Clara County with approximately 550 Vincentian volunteers offering emergency aid to all areas of Santa Clara County.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Santa Clara County provides basic survival necessities, offers nourishment to the hungry and distributes critical financial support and resources. Homelessness prevention and keeping families intact is a primary focus in eliminating suffering. SVdP provides support for the marginalized, ministers to victims and the incarcerated, and helps to maintain a quality of life to the families of the impoverished.
Aid is given regardless of age, gender, race, creed, religious affiliation or sexual orientation.
Our Primary program, The EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, has the goal of improving the quality of life for those most risk of homelessness, hunger and poverty in our county. It strives to meet both the immediate survival needs of vulnerable people as well as the long-term goal of social, economic and emotional self-sufficiency. In 2014 more than 27,000 needy people in Santa Clara County turned to the St. Vincent de Paul Society for assistance. We intend to continue working with this population, by continuing to help them link with direct assistance and other resources in our community.