Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County

Rating: 4.5 stars   22 reviews

Issues:

Location: 9235 San Leandro Street Oakland CA 94603 USA

Mission: The mission of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County (SVdP) is to provide direct help to anyone in need in Alameda County.
Results: Last year, SVdP served more than 150,000 people throughout Alameda County. Our Dining Room in downtown Oakland continues to serve nearly 800 hot lunches daily to the hungry and the homeless. Continuing to build pathways out of poverty, our job-training programs has a graduation rate of over 70% and is designed to help trainees move forward in life.
Geographic areas served: Alameda County
Programs: SVdP operates the Dining Room and Community Center in downtown Oakland. The Dining Room provides up to 800 free meals per day, five days a week. The Community Center provides: two drop-in centers for men, women and children; two job-training programs (Kitchen of Champions culinary training program and Champion Workforce transitional employment program); the Help Desk; Clothing Closet; Homeless & Caring Court; medical clinics; and other referrals and basic services. To generate income for the programs, SVdP operates social enterprises: three thrift stores (East Oakland, Fremont and Livermore), the Redux Studios & Gallery in Alameda, and WasteNot electronics recycling. Not only does social enterprises generate revenue, but it provides job opportunities for our transional employment program. SVdP also has a large network for grassroots volunteers throughout Alameda County called "Vincentians." These 800 volunteers provide one-on-one support to those in need in their communities.
2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 94-1156493
510-638-7600
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have volunteered often over the years and love St. Vincent. I would like to address concerns another review made. Volunteers ARE given a lot of training - they watch an orientation video in the morning, and then later are assigned specific tasks. Not much training is required to know how to pour drinks! I very much appreciate that St. Vincent assigns jobs the day of, as a regular volunteer I am well aware that there are many groups that can only come on an irregular basis. Also, the line to serve the community is iMO very very organized. I am wondering if this volunteer was there a day that I was not. In my past four years at St. Vincent I have never had a bad experience.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The thank you's and words of appreciation from the community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None!

Was this review helpful? 

Wow, thank you for your glowing review! We rely on regular volunteers like you to help us make the biggest, deepest impact on the folks we serve in Alameda County - thanks for all you do!

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

St. Vincent de Paul is a fantastic organization that really conveys the meaning of service to its volunteers. It gives volunteers a great chance to feel like an important part in providing food to the people we serve. Everyone who I know that has been to St. Vincent de Paul has said nothing but positive things and expressed such an appreciation for serving.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my everyday life! I have such a greater appreciation for the things I am fortunate enough to have and experience. It truly humbles me to think about the goodwill this organization does and spreads.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Honestly, nothing. St. Vincent de Paul shows its appreciation for the volunteers and does its best to maintain strong, lasting relationships with everyone who helps.

Was this review helpful? 

Darrell, thank you! We are grateful that you are part of the SVdP Alameda family, and appreciate all that you do (including writing this great review for us). See you soon!

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 3 stars  

I have been to St. Vincent many times in the past 2 years and I can definitely say it makes such a big impact in the community. To see how many people we are able to feed in one day makes me, as a volunteer, feel like the few hours I spent there has made a 1000x difference. I really like the family section this organization offers during meal time. It allows families to sit and get to know one another along with spending time with one another. I would recommend this organization to any volunteer because it is very great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

many different ways.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make it a little more organized when it comes to volunteers. It seems as though volunteers are placed in random places the day o.f and not given much training. I would also have a more orderly line when the community members are entering the dinning common.

Was this review helpful? 

Diana, thank you so much for your thoughtful and honest review. We are always trying to improve our work - in the volunteer program and in our direct service programs. Your feedback is important, and your service is very much appreciated! Thank you!

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

This was one of the first soup kitchens that I helped out at in the Berkeley area. I currently am a student at UC Berkeley and took a bus to get here. Upon getting here, they were really organized, showing that they have been doing this for a very long time and knew how to deal with visitors and volunteers efficiently. When the guests come in, they are appreciative, happy that they are getting a hot meal. Overall, it is a very well run system for helping the less fortunate.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the ability to give back to my community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

change nothing.

Was this review helpful? 

Thank you and welcome to the SVdP Alameda community, Chris! We are so glad you had a great experience with us. Thanks for your service and your awesome review! Hope to see you again soon.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 3 stars  

I have only been to St. Vincent once in my lifetime, but it was an enjoyable experience. My favorite part about the project was getting to see all the personalities that showed up to receive meals, and most were gracious. Seeing them well-fed and content really made my day. The tasks were also fairly basic, and nothing was too vigorous. This was the perfect project for first-time volunteers, especially, who had a lot of time to bond over a meal well-prepared.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make the dining room bigger and make the kitchen much bigger! St. Vincent reaches out to 1,000s of locals every day it serves, so it would be nice to create a bigger community for them to enjoy.

Was this review helpful? 

Thank you for sharing your positive experience, and for donating your time to help us help others! We are so grateful for your service. We wish we could expand exponentially - but right now, the best way to impact more people is to get more volunteers through our doors who can help us serve even more people. We hope to see you, and your friends, again soon!

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

It has always been a wonderful experience volunteering with St. Vincent in Oakland, and no matter who you are they welcome your help. They truly emphasize the importance of what you are doing, and you can almost always find a job. They are VERY organized! You serve many people and have the chance to have some interactions with them. It's a wonderful experience, and a wonderful organization!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

It has shown me how many people need help in our area and how a simple meal can make such a difference.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I don't think I would change a thing!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Was this review helpful? 

Laura, thank you for remaining a stellar SVdP Alameda Volunteer! We appreciate your service and are so glad you shared your experience online. See you again soon!

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

My experience that I have gained by volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul in Alameda has been very much rewarding. I truly believe that serving our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate is a great way to comfort your soul and that is the reason why I continue to volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul. All the volunteers work together to produce a great harvest that definitely change peoples lives.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Noticing the many faces turn into faces of joy.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

N/A

Was this review helpful? 

Amen! Thank you for your inspiring review, and your continued service at St. Vincent de Paul. We are grateful for the time you have given to us!

Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

My family has a long history of volunteering for St. Vincent de Paul in Alameda County. My father served as a member for over 30 years at his parish. He made home visits to visit with people in need and would be a voice for them to obtain the help that they needed. He was the treasurer for many of those years and advocated for those in need. His favorite event was helping with the Thanksgiving baskets to be distributed. He always made sure that candy and dessert was included so that the families would have an enjoyable holiday. I know that he touched many lives with his involvement.
My father passed away 5 five years ago. Now my mother is a volunteer for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul dining hall in Oakland. Most Fridays she and a group of friends from the parish spend several hours in the morning doing whatever is needed to help feed the needy. She is very outgoing and kind so I know that her presence helps to feed their spirits as well.
St Vincent de Paul Alameda County is an amazing organization. They provide a much needed service to the needy of the area. They offer a place in the storm. They truly are doing God's work.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

n/a

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

n/a

Was this review helpful? 

Right on, Brenda! Thank you for sharing your family's amazing SVdP history - it's a great motivator for those of us who need to get out there and volunteer more. Thank you for all you and your family do for the community!

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

For the past two years I have volunteered once/week in the Free Dining Room in downtown Oakland. I am grateful for the opportunity to help others and find the experience very rewarding. I enjoy working with the regular group of volunteers as well as with high school and college students and members of the business community who join us often. I also enjoy working with the paid staff members in the kitchen and the Community Center as well as meeting and working with the culinary students in the Kitchen of Champions program. SVdP works to provide more than a daily meal for our guests who also receive information and services to help themselves and their families (sewing classes, women and men's centers, health services, job placement). SVdP is involved in the Oakland community and works to establish and maintain relationships with the Mayor and the Court System (Homeless Court is conducted at the Community Center). I have a strong commitment to this organization and have become a member of the Development Committee and the Board of Trustees. SVdP is truly an organization in service to others.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...seeing students and clients receive jobs.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...hope that there would be a way to secure more funding for the programs.

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Thank you Cindy! We couldn't do the good work without our regular supporters and friends, and are so glad you shared your experience online to inspire others! See you soon.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My teenage daughter and I volunteered over the summer with the "Summer Art School" for young children. The SvDP and Art directors were very organized and provided an excellent art program that the children seemed to love. Also included were healthy snacks (one of the students had never seen a strawberry before this experience), story telling, very simply toy making and painting. I'm positive this program enriched these children's lives and created a lifelong memory. Hopefully SvDP is able to provide this opportunity for the neighborhood children again this coming summer.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

....seeing the (mostly immigrant) children and their parents appreciate and learn from this summer art camp...how to appreciate and respect each other, create positive environments with simple everyday things, find joy in the planting and watering of a seedling, baking a simple muffin...these were all new experiences for these people and they were so grateful to have them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

....get more funding to reach the mothers and children who are walled-in at home, not knowing that there are services available to them. And get more funding for programs like this summer art camp that helps mothers and children in need.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Offer an ongoing program for young children, allowing their mothers and siblings to participate.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I learned new skills and appreciated working with the teacher and the children.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Joyous and tired. And also sad that more of this isn't offered (no doubt due to funding issues).

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Was this review helpful? 

Thank you for your outstanding service at the Summer Camp last year - we hope to do it again if the funds are available. We are grateful for the support of you and your daughter, and so glad you shared your experience! Hope to see you soon.

Review from Guidestar