Sacred Heart Church in Southbury has donated $200,000 to the St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Waterbury.
This donation came from the Mustard Seed Fund, the charitable fund that the parish established and that was initiated by the bequest from Irma Ziegler Smith and Mildred Ziegler.
The Mustard Seed Fund annually supports social outreach efforts and service awards for parish youth. After a periodic review of the fund, the finance committee noted exceedingly good returns on its investments. The good return over the past years prompted Father Joseph Donnelly, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, to ask, “If a Catholic parish has a significant amount of money in savings, and there are people without a roof over their head, health care or food to eat, are they (the parishioners) any longer authentically Catholic?”
Father Donnelly and the finance committee at Sacred Heart Church agreed to pursue the donation of the partnership grant to the St. Vincent DePaul Mission.
The relationship between Sacred Heart and St. Vincent DePaul dates back 28 years. Today, many ministries at Sacred Heart support the basic needs of St. Vincent DePaul by delivering an average of over 14,000 sandwiches per year to the St. Vincent DePaul homeless shelter and by parishioners’ cooking and serving hot meals every month.
Even with the parishioners' best efforts to alleviate some of the burdens, however, St. Vincent DePaul is still operating with minimal resources.
Father Donnelly, who also is chair of the Board of Directors at St. Vincent DePaul, organized a meeting with its staff and determined that $100,000 of the parish’s donation would be allocated to working capital, including salaries and utility payments. The other half will be used for capital improvement, such as fixing the leaking roof in their office building and computer upgrades.
St. Vincent DePaul is a local, independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. The organization provides services, housing and basic needs to adults and families struggling with homelessness, poverty, hunger and mental illness, so that they may achieve their highest potential in the areas of wellness, recovery and independence. St. Vincent DePaul shelter is the largest in Connecticut, offering 123 beds.