Serving Our Neighbors in Need
I am writing to address recent concerns amidst the Coronavirus outbreak and asking that we unite prayerfully with faith, hope and charity.
The National Council Board met on Thursday by conference call to recommend cancelling the National Council Mid-Year meeting. This was approved and the question of home visits came up. The consensus was that this is a decision to be addressed by each Council and that cancelling home visits is an appropriate decision based on local circumstances. I have been in contact with David Winslett, our Regional Chairperson and he says, “the crisis has escalated making it prudent that I now advise you that each Council can and should make a local decision on Home Visits.”
Out of concern for you and all our Neighbors in Need, the Belleville Council has made the decision to suspend all home visits until further notice. We are in no way abandoning our Vincentian Charity but rather responding prudently to this current crisis. In the absence of home visits, you can continue to serve those in need via the telephone. Also, please continue utilizing your Conference Intake forms and other communication tools. We suggest Conference Meetings be held via conference call, email or text until the crisis subsides.
Steps have also been taken at the Council level to protect volunteers, members, staff and those we serve. Council Meetings are suspended until further notice and the Lenten Retreat will be held online. The Help Center, Career Gear, Gear-Up, and other council programs are closed until further notice allowing everyone involved with those services to remain home.
The Soup Buses will be off the road until further notice. The Council Office will be open but only with essential personnel. We are committed to providing as many services as possible but are enforcing “social-distancing.” We are following all mandates and directives from the local health department as well as the State. I will keep you informed regarding the operating status of the Outreach Ministry, Soup Kitchen, Thrift Store, and Drop-In Center. This will be determined by daily mandates made by local health departments and the State of Illinois.
Please keep us in your prayers during these difficult days.
I encourage you to contact the Council Office with any concerns or questions. We are there to serve you and help with any problems you might have. As a faith community let us approach this challenge with prayer, the knowledge that God watches over us and the confidence that He will give us the grace to endure the storm.
God bless you and your loved ones and may He keep you healthy and safe.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul