Catholics raise money for poor with St. Vincent de Paul walk

.- Walkers who hit the track last month in Wichita and Hutchinson raised money, but more importantly, they raised awareness about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Kathleen Hageman said she was happy to see the participants wearing Friends of the Poor T-shirts, whether or not they raised a dime for the society.

Hageman, a member of the society and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Wichita, said the walk helped remind people about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the work it does.

Similar walks took place all over the country on Sept. 27, the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, and the 175th anniversary of the founding of the society.

"The Society of St. Vincent de Paul raises money to help the poor with all their needs," Hageman said, "food, clothing, medical - any kind of need they have."

Ron Kelley, a member of Holy Cross Parish, Hutchinson, coordinated the walk for the Holy Cross Conference of the society.

The conference was founded at the parish about three years ago, he said.

"Bishop Jackels encouraged parishes to become involved. We were able to get it started and awareness is growing."

Even the youth are getting involved.

Holy Cross Grade School pupils made "prayer plates" for the walk’s finish line arch. The paper plates had prayers written on them such as "Help me." The plates were attached to an arch that also had a sign saying: "Friends of the Poor Walk, Walk a mile in their shoes.

The Friends of the Poor Walk is an annual event. In the Diocese of Wichita, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has a regular fundraising effort called Cars for the Poor.

Robert Small, a member of the society, helps coordinate Cars for the Poor. "The largest percentage of the proceeds goes to Holy Savior Catholic Academy," he said.

Vehicles donated to Cars for the Poor are then donated to the needy, he said, "or we sell them at a very reduced price to needy people if they can afford something but not full price."

Small added that some vehicles are sold at full value and the proceeds are used by the society or donated. "The largest percentage of proceeds go to Holy Savior."

Printed with permission from the Catholic Advance, newspaper for the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas.

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