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Walk A Mile In My Shoes

What happens when you need a friend and there’s no one there? Having no one to turn to in a moment of need is a trying experience for anyone, but especially for the poor.

For nearly two centuries, the poor and needy of the world have found a friend in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. This year, on September 27th, the Society will hold its first annual nationwide Friends of the Poor Walk to celebrate 175 years of service to the poor, and to encourage kindhearted Americans all across the country to become Friends of the Poor, too. Pledges made on behalf of registered walkers in a given community will benefit those most in need in that same community.

The St. Frances Cabrini Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul encourages all Lakewood citizens to participate in the Friends of the Poor Walk locally — as walkers, pledgers, volunteers, or all three. To register as a walker, to pledge support for a walker, or for more information, go to www.svdpfriendsofthepoorwalk.org. To volunteer, call 253-589-9821.

“The people of St. Frances Cabrini Church have always been generous in their support of the Society,” said Cheryl Lehman, President of the Conference. “The Friends of the Poor Walk is a fun way for them to continue their support, to get others to join in the spirit of giving, and to show the poor in our community that we really do care about them. Come on out, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, and become a friend of the poor. Find out how good it feels to give.”

The largest lay Catholic charitable organization in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in 1833 by a French college student named Frederic Ozanam, so that he and his schoolmates could put their faith into action through service to the poor. Known and loved for its thrift stores and food pantries and the personal visits of its members to the homes of the poor, the Society today has more than 690,000 members operating in 142 countries. The Society’s U.S. members donated nearly 6 million hours of their personal time in 2006, aiding more than 20 million of their neighbors in distress and offering services valued at nearly $500 million.

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