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Did you know that a powerful set of virtues root the work you do for neighbors in need?

Gentleness, Selflessness, Simplicity, Humility and Zeal are our guiding principles. These virtues impact every aspect of our organization from our thrift stores and volunteers to our home visits and charitable programs. Your compassion is essential too. In your kindness you have alleviated our neighbors’ suffering and upheld their dignity.

Take a look at the impact of your support (October 1st, 2022 – September 30th, 2023)…


Compassionate help that provides stability

Our gentleness is expressed through a friendly assurance and invincible goodwill, which mean kindness, sweetness, and patience in our relationships with others.*

Because of you, St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy staff go the extra mile for adults unable to afford their prescription medications. The gentle care they provide includes taking time to organize medications, check a blood sugar level, and answer patients’ questions. As a community pharmacy, staff have the unique opportunity to spend quality time with patients to make sure they understand their medications. With help from pharmacy and nursing student volunteers, the pharmacy is also an incubator for future medical professionals who are passionate about helping underserved communities. A recent survey showed that 74% of Spanish-speaking patients responded “strongly agree” or “agree” when asked if they felt respected when visiting the pharmacy.

Your gentle care for single adult families experiencing the trauma of homelessness is remarkable. On any given evening, between 70 and 100 Dane County families are homeless. These adults and children living in shelters, outdoors or in their cars are more likely to face hunger, poor hygiene and delayed early-childhood development. Through the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Program, single parents and their children have the support they need to stabilize in permanent housing.


12 single-adult families are currently receiving ongoing case management support to prevent a recurrence of homelessness, heal from trauma, and set goals for their future.


Thanks to you, no one needing help has been turned away

Dying to our ego with a life of self-sacrifice; members share their time, their possessions, their talents and themselves in a spirit of generosity.*

Every week, hundreds of caring volunteers sort, pack and deliver food to families struggling to make ends meet. These faithful souls remove the one damaged orange from a donated bag and repackage it, check expiration dates, and move hundreds of pounds of milk, dairy, and meat between the food warehouse, into shopping carts, and into cars.

Your selfless gifts of time and talent means that no one needing food was turned away from the pantry this year despite escalating need. Access to quality food means people have money to pay for gas, rent and utilities – bills that have no other social support.


2,204 families with transportation barriers received food through DoorDash delivery.

5,336 families choose culturally-appropriate and dietary-friendly food through the Pantry2Home online system.


Neighbors receive basic essentials for their day

Simplicity is expressing ourselves honestly, with frankness, integrity, and genuineness.*

Simplicity is central to how you help neighbors in need through St. Vincent de Paul — Madison. Thanks to you, neighbors receive essentials of food, diapers, medicine, clothing and furniture. These basic needs are offered simply with the intention that neighbors can access them without complicated processes or unnecessary questions. Care is provided without regard to a neighbor’s sexuality, race or legal status.

Each day, about ten adults or children receive clothing at no cost to them from St. Vinny’s Thrift Stores. Sometimes families have lost all of their possessions in a fire and need clothing. In other cases, young kids wear through clothing and need bigger sizes faster than what a family can save for. Your generous material and financial support means we’re able to donate goods directly from our stores to people in need. Along with providing a reliable thrift experience for shoppers (we know that’s many of you!), our stores are visible signs of our collective work in our community and commitment to helping our neighbors in need.


Your generosity provided clothing to 3,607 adults and children.



Home visitors offer a personal connection to struggling neighbors

Humility can be understood as humbleness, “the foundation of all the other virtues” or “the knowledge of truth.”*

In a spirit of humble generosity, St. Vincent de Paul Members offer their very selves to neighbors in need. Volunteer home visitors respond to calls for help by meeting with neighbors in their homes. They offer a listening ear and encouragement to neighbors; they problem solve and provide information on community resources. Many times, they find that people just need someone to talk with to remember that they are not alone. Often families moving into new apartments lack beds, furniture, pots, pans, dishes and utensils. Home visitors direct neighbors to St. Vinny’s Thrift Stores where they can redeem clothing and furniture vouchers giving dignity, warmth, comfort and hope for brighter days ahead.

Home visitors help where they can. If a neighbor’s needs are more sizable, they may refer them to our Sr. Rosalie Fund for one-time financial assistance. For example, a car repair or unexpected medical bill may threaten a neighbor’s ability to pay rent. The Sr. Rosalie Fund is reserved for these types of bills that are one-time emergencies. Your support of time, talent, and treasure fuels the work of home visitors. The goods you donate generate income, your volunteer hours, and your financial gifts all come together to help our neighbors in need.


54 families received one-time financial help through the Sr. Rosalie Fund.

Vincentian member volunteers conducted 1,135 person-to-person home visits.


Being available and present when neighbors call

Zeal, which St. Vincent de Paul once described as “the soul of all the virtues,” is a passion for the full flourishing and eternal happiness of every person.*

Your support of our neighbors in need through St. Vincent de Paul — Madison kindles our collective zeal to actively alleviate suffering. You are part of a large team of people, businesses and foundations working to help our neighbors in need. Many of you have been supporters of neighbors in need for years and decades – thank you! Some of you are new in joining us to help our neighbors in need – welcome!

It’s hard to be poor. It’s hard to not know where your next meal will come from or not have proper clothing during winter. With you, so many people in our community have someone to turn to for help. Our neighbors’ resilience is strengthened when they walk through challenges with someone by their side.

2,494 individual, business, and foundations gave support.

$3,860,435 received in financial contributions.


None of this would be possible without you. Thank you for your generosity. Will you continue to kindle our zeal so that every person can fully flourish? Please give now: /donate/.


*The Vincentian Virtues, National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul,

Dear friends,

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul essential values of Gentleness, Selflessness, Simplicity, Humility and Zeal guide us to serve our neighbors every day. I know we share these values and I thank you for your dedication to caring for our neighbors in need. Take a look at the impact of your support and know that each number, each data point represents a real family or individual.

During this season of Lent, I’m intentionally taking daily time to pause and reflect on my faith journey. My Catholic tradition asks me to particularly use prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to build my relationship with God.

This is my prayer today:

May the good you do for neighbors in need return to you in joy and fellowship. May others follow your lead in compassion, kindness, and generosity to make our community better for all, particularly those most in need. May this time be one of outward focus; seeking to give ourselves to those the world often ignores. And may you be blessed beyond measure for your goodness. Amen.

Julie Bennett
CEO & Executive Director

2023 Year-End Giving Deadlines:

If you haven’t made your gift yet and are ready to offer hope and help before year-end, visit:

Do you believe in miracles? I do.

A sick child leads to a lost job leads to an eviction notice. Two Vincentians visit this neighbor at his home to see how they can help. Another neighbor overhears the conversation through an open window and organizes others in the apartment building to help cover his rent. Two loaves and five fish feed thousands in the Bible story. Two Vincentians and a group of neighbors save a family’s home. Miracles!

Nearly 3,000 households used our food pantry in September. That number grows month after month. Rent increased 14% in Dane County in 2022 and will rise at least another 5% this year. Food prices will rise 6% this year on top of a 10% increase last year. Gas and utility prices remain high. People with limited incomes cannot absorb these cost increases.

Our fiscal year October 2022- September 2023 budget included $320,000 for food and diapers. Yet nearly $900,000 was required to meet the need. Because of your generosity, no hungry neighbor was turned away.

A miracle! You are the miracle that faithfully meets the demand for food and personal care items that is nearly three times higher than it was before the pandemic. I am speechless with gratitude for you.

“The poor you will always have with you” (Mark 14:7). Unfortunately, this prophetic statement has never been more true. Yet because we believe in miracles, we have hope. Hope can come as words or gestures. Hope can also come as food, medicine, clothing, and furniture. When you help the Society of St. Vincent de Paul — Madison, you build hope. Thank you.

Because I believe in miracles, I believe in you.




Julie Bennett
CEO & Executive Director

Heartbroken, Frustrated, Grateful: a tangled ball of emotions for one situation.

I went on a home visit with my husband recently. There we met Carter*. His apartment was empty, except for some clothes on the floor for his bed, a box of berries and two bottles of water. He offered the water to my husband and me. 

Heartbroken: This young man, a father in his early 30s, has cancer.

Frustrated: His treatment has left him unable to work. He used his savings as long as the money lasted, then sold his belongings and moved in with a friend until he couldn’t stay any longer. For five months now, his disability claim has been “backlogged.” He has no income.

Grateful: When he was homeless, he was able to qualify for an apartment. He moved into his new home about three weeks ago.

The end of COVID-19 pandemic programs, combined with rising prices, make it harder for people like Carter to afford basic life necessities. Of the 100 largest cities in the USA, Madison has the fastest rising rent (14.1% in the past year and 30.4% since March 2020**). To survive, more and more people turn to programs like our food pantry for help.

In Dane County, a quarter of renters spend more than 50% of their income on housing. Those on the margins, those we serve, spend even more. A new book, Poverty, by America, by Matthew Desmond, describes public policy decisions that cause entrenched poverty in our country. Poverty in America is higher and deeper than any other developed country in the world. While I don’t agree with all that Desmond proposes, surely, we can do better.

You are already doing better for those in need in our community. Your generosity gives food, clothing, beds, furniture, household goods and medicine to neighbors like Carter and his kids. You are helping thousands of neighbors with your faithful support. In addition to these material items, you give Carter hope.

Heartbroken, I pray for Carter. In my frustration, I advocate on his behalf. In my gratitude, I say, thank you, for helping our neighbors in need.



Julie Bennett
CEO & Executive Director


* Name changed to protect privacy


Dearest friends,

Lent is upon us. For Catholics and many other Christian denominations, Lent is a time for self-examination. Am I living up to the purpose to which I have been called. Are you? Whatever our faith beliefs, most of us want to believe we are on this earth for a purpose. And most of us want to make the world a better place for ourselves and others. Through your generosity, you have shown that is the world you want.

In the Christian tradition, Lent is a time to use the spiritual practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to grow in holiness. These practices, followed intentionally, should also grow our capacity to love one another. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on fasting.

Isaiah 6-8 tells us:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”

It occurs to me that fasting is largely the privilege of those with means. You can’t fast from what you don’t have. I’m reminded of a prayer that my mother-in-law taught our children when they were very young.

Thank you Lord for enough and some to share.

The concept of “enough” seems contradictory to our culture. Rather, accumulation and materialism reign supreme. But if we are to think about justice for our neighbors in need, we must grapple with what is enough. Intentional fasting helps us recall the difference between wants and needs. It softens our hearts towards those who can only choose between need and need without the option to choose a want.

This Lent, whether or not you are a person of faith:

I’d love to hear about your experience with fasting and how – or if – you grew in goodness through it. Please stay in touch.

You remain in my prayers of gratitude,



Julie Bennett
CEO & Executive Director

Nicholas in Mexico.

Growing up, Nicholas moved often: Canada, Montana, Portugal, Japan. The son of an Air Force pilot, he went into military service himself after high school and settled down in Georgia later in life to raise his daughter. Through childhood, he grew to love the beach, the mountains and winter. But, it wasn’t until a recent trip that he decided to change his life.

“I was planning a trip and had been wanting to make a will for several years,” Nicolas said. “I knew I needed to have something ready and available, especially because I have kids.”

Wanting to know where his assets were going after death and feeling comfortable in his current financial state, he decided to finally write his will. He recalls looking at almost a dozen will-writing services online. The one he finally settled on was Freewill.

Freewill is a no-cost online estate planning tool that simplifies the creation of a will or trust. They partner with charities such as St. Vincent de Paul to encourage more people to document their wishes for those they love and the causes that are meaningful to them.

“I wanted something that was easy to find and go through; was simple and legit,” Nicholas said. “It was a very simple process. It was self-explanatory with easy steps to go through. I completed the will myself, printed the paperwork and got it notarized. That was it.”

Life experiences move him to care

Nicholas credits his time abroad and parent’s guidance for his philanthropic outlook and passion for giving back.

“When I was in the military, we were stationed in Haiti. It’s split into the tourist side and the local side where most people live in poverty. Guerillas were stationed in the mountains to keep local people away from the resorts. When you see things like that, you’re reminded how lucky you are. If you don’t look, you forget how lucky you really are,” Nicholas said.

Since he’s passionate about helping people when they need it, especially with basic life essentials: food, clothing, clean water, Nicholas included a bequest to St. Vincent de Paul — Madison in his will. Another charity close to his heart provides plumbing and clean water for families living in remote Guatemala.

“You must look at immediate needs first,” Nicholas said. “A lot of people are living month to month and need help. It’s so important that people have a place they can go for support and help; nobody likes to ask for charity. If you can get people the help they need without complications, that’s the way it should be.”

No matter what you have to offer, sometimes the smallest act of kindness can have a big impact, Nicholas affirmed.

“Don’t assume someone else will step in to help,” Nicholas continued. “Take the extra effort. Do something extra for somebody. If everybody did something one time for someone else, look how much help that would be around the world!”

Taking care of what’s important

Nicholas first heard about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul from his church. There were several active service programs at his church and one day a representative from the local St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store spoke to the congregation. Nicholas recalls spending weekends shopping and helping sort goods at the store; always looking for a way to help. Since that initial encounter, he’s always been involved in some capacity with the organization and a proud supporter.

“I didn’t know that when you make a will, you have options to donate,” Nicholas added. “Until I did my own will, I had no idea. Freewill gave me a few options of places to donate, but it was an easy decision.”

“I know I’ll leave enough money for my kids to be okay,” Nicholas continued. “Since I was in the military my funeral will be covered. I shouldn’t have debt when I die, so why not donate it? It was very simple and easy to do.”

Learn more about Freewill here. Or, contact Eric Fleming: (608) 442-7220 x34 or


Thank you for everything you do for Dane County neighbors in need.

There is so much that the staff and volunteers here at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul — Madison do to help our neighbors in need. But it’s only possible because of the support from people like you.

Today, I’m writing to thank you for all your help and to update you on some of the recent achievements made possible by you, as well as challenges for the year ahead.

Families who are financially struggling are often hidden in plain sight. Many work multiple jobs to pay the rent, feed their families, and keep their cars running. Some have chronic health conditions compounding their challenges with limited mobility and isolation.

In the three months since I’ve been CEO, I’ve personally seen an alarming number of our Dane County neighbors hungry, without proper winter clothing, sleeping on floors, and failing in health because they cannot afford their prescription medications. 

My recent letter about struggling families featured Roy and his son Jackson who needed help with groceries, clothes, beds, and life-sustaining heart medication. Roy and Jackson’s story moved many of our supporters.

I want to thank you for your donation to help our neighbors in need. Thanks to your support, I am very pleased to share that we surpassed our December goal of $400,000 to help Roy and the many families in Dane County who struggle to make ends meet. Your generosity is extraordinary!

Every dollar will be used as we acquire food and medicine from the most cost-effective sources and distribute clothing and household donations provided by generous supporters.

Thanks to people like you, we have been able to reach more neighbors in need than ever before with our food pantry, clothing and furniture vouchers, charitable pharmacy, and housing programs. I continue to hear from neighbors who are so grateful to turn to us during difficult times.

With your help, we have already achieved much for our neighbors in need. However, I know there is much, much more that we must do.

Working in step with the board, our staff, and volunteers we are adapting and strengthening our efforts for neighbors in need. I know how much we can improve the lives of many more struggling families.

My top priorities in 2023 are:

These efforts would not be possible without your support during the past year. Thank you for everything you do to help our neighbors in need.

If you have any questions about the work you enable us to do please feel free to contact me directly at (608) 278-2920 x32 or jbennett@svdpma​ I’d love to speak with you.

Julie BennettWith the deepest gratitude,



Julie Bennett

CEO & Executive Director

Right now, many of us are focused on the most joyous and magical time of the year. We’re buying presents, grocery shopping for holiday parties, scheduling time off from work and looking forward to time with family and friends.

But for thousands of Dane County families, the holidays bring additional pressures to try and make financial ends meet. While the vast majority of people settle into a relaxing holiday, families struggling financially are making urgent decisions on what they can afford. 

One out of every nine Dane County neighbors lives below the federal poverty line with many of them working multiple jobs. They are stretched thin this year with increasing prices and the compounding effects of inflation. More and more people need help.

When daycares and schools close for winter, kids lose a school-provided meal and families lose wages as parents need to take time off. As the cost of food, rent, clothing and basic household essentials continues to rise, our neighbors in need are experiencing the heavier end of this weighted reality.  

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul — Madison offers both basic life essentials and customized assistance such as food, clothing, prescription medicine, furniture, housing assistance and caring support to help families thrive. 

Will you give our Dane County neighbors in need a helping hand this holiday season?

Without you, children may go hungry, adults won’t have needed medications, and families will live without furniture or warm clothing. There are several ways to help:

Whether a mother needs help putting healthy food on the table, an elderly couple requires new prescriptions they can’t afford, a young man needs a safe place to live while he’s between jobs, or a family needs winter clothing for their young children, our neighbors in need turn to St. Vincent de Paul — Madison for help all year long.

This holiday season, join a compassionate community of people reaching out to our neighbors in need to offer goods, assistance and hope. Donate online now to support programs offering help and hope.

Did you know only about 33% of American adults have a will or living trust? That means two out of every three people do not have a will!

We have partnered with FreeWill to bring you the opportunity to create a lasting will. Just like establishing a power of attorney or securing life insurance, making a will is just one item often pushed aside. We hope you will take advantage of FreeWill as a resource to establish your legacy, and care for your family, friends and community. Click here to learn more about leaving a legacy with your will.

Lynne Toseff (right), longtime Society of St. Vincent de Paul volunteer and donor, shares why she decided to start her will with FreeWill:

Click here to learn more and organize your end-of-life wishes with a will visit.

Information on FreeWill’s website is intended as general guidance and does not constitute legal advice for any specific individual. Please consult your attorney for legal advice.