November 1, 2022 | Local News, Your Stories
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Cars line up to receive bags of food at St. Mary Parish in Franklin, Ky. COURTESY OF JIM DALE

Neighbors help St. Mary Parish feed hungry local families


In this day and time, it has been increasingly difficult to feed the poor. Not to mention to help with everyday household bills and clothing for those in need. We are seeing more homeless than ever before. St. Mary Parish in Franklin, Ky., is a parish of 180 families. And they need our help!

My name is Jim Dale and I am the southeast district council president for The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Western Kentucky. I have been in this position for close to 5 years. I am currently helping St. Mary’s SVDP conference with food preparation. Having to make more than 20 bags of food for those in need is becoming increasingly difficult. Our distribution occurs each weekend with the help of other volunteers. Without the volunteers who give of their time to distribute the food, the families in the area go hungry. Without the donations coming in from our church members we would be unable to buy the food needed.

In the last several months the price of the food has skyrocketed. We are not able to buy as much food as is needed. The conference president and volunteers decided to put less food in the bags to help make what little food we did have last. During this same time, we have had an increase in families who need the food we give. The number of the families have grown from an average of 20 to 25 a week to 40 to 50. The volunteers now make up over 40 bags every weekend to meet the need. And the bags were being filled with as little as 4 to 5 items of food in each bag.

The conference had no money left to buy more food. Only what our blessed church members could afford to give. As a group the volunteers prayed for relief of their situation… and it came. Two anonymous individuals gave a thousand dollars apiece along with the ladies’ church group which also gave a thousand dollars. The Fathers of Mercy heard of our need and came with food to stock up our pantry. They have been coming with food once every two weeks for the past two weeks. The volunteers can now make up an excess of over 40 bags and keep the bags full of food. And in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, I personally would like to thank the Fathers of Mercy for the food they have brought. I also would like to thank the two individuals (whoever they may be) and the ladies’ group at the church for blessing us with their donations.

As the volunteers gathered Sep. 13, 2022, they did not know that a large crowd was headed their way. They had a total of 75 families that day lined up outside the church in their vehicles waiting to get food. I guess the word was passed along on the amount of food that the conference had and now more families in need are showing up.

The monetary donations and the food we are now blessed with will not last forever, however. A St. Vincent de Paul store is needed in our area to support these families not just with food but with clothing and help with utilities. I would like to ask for your prayers to help us with opening a store and any monetary donations you are able to give. It is desperately needed.

Learn more at

Help SVDP St. Mary’s Conference assist neighbors in need

Donations to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul – St. Mary’s Conference can be sent to the following address: Society of St. Vincent de Paul-Southeast District Council, P.O. Box 1093, Franklin KY 42135.

Originally printed in the November 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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