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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Congregate Meals, Food, Food Banks & Pantries, Homeless & Housing, Job Training, Temporary Housing

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.

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 4

I am client ID # 44096. Jacqueline M Caylor. I want to thank St Vincent dePaul of Alameda County for all the wonderful services they provided me when I was in need.
I am getting back on my feet and no longer require their services. I would like to tell all the staff at the Oakland, CA branch how much love I have for their loving efforts.
Amen.
Jackie Caylor

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

These reviews were getting little dated but all the positives still apply in the free dining room. I volunteer there one day a week. "in the back", which is an area of the dining room were we provide table service to the disabled and to families. SVDP is well organized so they use the volunteers' time effectively.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been serving in the dining room for more than a year now since I retired; I am able to work regularly, one day a week where we serve a daily hot lunch to between 600-1000 people per day. We mostly serve single men but we also have families and disabled that come as well.

What really has impressed me is the culinary arts training program that St. Vincen's runs to train some of the disadvantaged who qualify for the ; they train under the supervision of Kim Blair and prepare and cook the daily meals; The 12 week program has a high completion rate and, most importantly, a high job placement rate.

Comments ( 1 )

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svdpdevelopment 03/03/2011

Helen, thank you for sharing your experience and for your suggestions about how we might improve. We really appreciate your feedback and your ongoing support! Thank you for all the great work you do.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Katy Wright & I have been volunteering in the dining room in Oakland for almost three years now. When I first started, I always stayed behind the counter, because the "clients" kind of scared me. Then one day, I saw the person who was handing out the trays hassle some of the people about coming through the line more than once. Some altercations ensued. I was so appalled at this, that I decided to start handing out the trays. I felt it was importatnt to greet each person who came through the door with dignity & a smile. Now, I can't imagine doing anything else. I look forward to seeing our clients & have developed a rapport with many of them. This experience has been very rewarding for me on many levels. The staff at St vincent's are dedicated, professional, personable & supportive. I'm very happy to be involved with this organization & feel that we are doing something extremely valuable for the community.

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svdpdevelopment 03/03/2011

Thank you for sharing with us, Katy! Your smile and awesome personality always brightens up the dining room - we appreciate all that you do! See you soon.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am Judy Lockhart, a second-generation volunteer at the free dining room in Oakland. My parents both worked in the dining room well into their senior years.
The staff at the Oakland dining room treats every guest with respect and warm regards. This past Sunday, we served 1,023 plates over the lunch hour. Both the management and volunteer team members work in harmony every day to offer a balanced meal, a smile and a warm welcome to each person in need who comes through the dining room doors.
I feel blessed to have the opportunity to assist at the dining room and look forward to my volunteer time there.
Sincerely,
Judy Lockhart

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svdpdevelopment 03/03/2011

Judy, thank you for sharing your experience and history with us! Volunteers like yourself are the lifeblood of our organization - thank you for helping us help others. We appreciate all that you do!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 4

My name is Sandra Blackman and I graduated from The Culinary Kitchen of Champions on 23 September, 2010. While attending culinary school at St /vincent De Paul I started to feel a sense of hope and pride because I was doing something positive to help my future professionally and to also help my personal life. I was learning how to cook more healthier as well as gaining a very valuabl skill to help provide for my family financially. I did a internship at the Marriott Hotel which turned into a a job and also gave me my self respect back. I have been working every since.

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svdpdevelopment 03/03/2011

Hooray Sandra! Congratulations on your job and thank you for sharing your experience! We are so happy for you and appreciate you spreading the word about the SVdP culinary training program and your subsequent success. Thanks for all that you do!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started to help serving dinner to the most needed people of Saint Vincent de Paul in Alameda going to help from Saint Ambrose church in Berkeley, California. I am having some time now a days and I decided to use it being at service of others and I enrolled on the Saint Vincent of Paul. I have been helping since January of this year and my experience there is: The place is very clean and the people and team they have there, is very organized and with friendly and awesome attitude I just want to tell you that I can't stop going to help and that I have made great friends over there, at the place there are some many people in need of everything not only food but a friendly smile! there are also very professional and educated people there ready to be at service! and off course the money should be always a great help since the people that come there every day to eat is so grateful to have such a place to seat and eat something good and warm and you can see that they also have something or look for something to carry away some food for later that day!!!

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svdpdevelopment 03/03/2011

Dolores, thank you so much for sharing your experience! We are so happy to have you and appreciate all you do for us. Thanks for helping SVdP help others!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered in the St. Vincent dining room in Oakland for the last two years. You can see the fruits of your labor in action: feeding people who are down on their luck. The staff are friendly, appreciative, easygoing and supportive. The volunteers, likewise, care about what they do and enjoy being there. Working at the dining room has become an important and cherished and meaningful part of my life.

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svdpdevelopment 03/03/2011

Alfredo, thank you for your kind words and for sharing your experience with the online community! We are always looking for more awesome people like yourself to become regular SVdP volunteers and will continue to do so. Thanks for all you do!

Review from Guidestar

Ken T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County twice this year and I enjoyed going both times. It's a really great organization that directly helps the community. I look forward to my next visit to St. Vincent's!

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

Ken, thank you for volunteering with SVdP Alameda this year! We appreciate your support and hope to see you back some time soon. Thank you for the great review!

Devante A.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I went there one day to do some community service. I went in there reluctant, but I came out really happy. I am glad I got the experience of working here! It opened my eyes to see how many other people are less fortunate than I am. I definitely will come back!

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

Thank you for reflecting on your experience with us, Devante! We really appreciate your help and hope to see you soon at SVdP Alameda. Thank you for sharing with the online community!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

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

Darrell H.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

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

Diana T.

Volunteer

Rating: 3

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!

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

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

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

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

Volunteer

Rating: 3

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.

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

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

Laura R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

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

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

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

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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svdpdevelopment 02/15/2011

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