Voice of the Poor Introduction
Voice of the Poor (VOP) is the advocacy arm of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Advocacy as a Vincentian is for the poor, seeking to work with our elected officials, regardless of political affiliation, for justice for all.
There are many issues that keep people in poverty but as Vincentians through our home visits we have a more tangible view of the things that prevent upward mobility. When we speak of the needs of the poor we are not using statistics or graphs but have taken steps to walk into the reality of the lives of the poor. When Vincentians speak, it is from the heart. It is our Christian calling founded in our Catholic faith that has brought us into the lives of the disenfranchised.
Jesus walked as He taught, never complaining. He did not choose those who looked most like him but instead those whom society had shunned away.
Vincentians are drawn to the plight of the poor. Faced with the difficulty of turning a blind eye to the plight of the needy, we give of ourselves. We are different from other charitable organizations by the structure of how we serve our clients. The need to have a deeper understanding of the situation at hand is at the core of our home visits. Time spent with a family in their comfort zone allows them to speak more freely ensuring whatever assistance we offer, be it food, clothing, or shelter, appropriately meets the need at hand. All that we do stays faithful to the Principles of Catholic Social Teachings.
Poverty touches all of us regardless of whether you are the one in poverty, a family member or a random stranger. Its effects run past our desire not to see the homeless person at the traffic stop light or quickly to slip a couple of dollars to them, so they move on from your car. Sadly, this does very little to help their cause but instead enables them to stay where they are. Poverty is in the face of the little girl in your daughter's class whose parents are not able to provide three meals a day for her. Poverty is in the face of your neighbor who lost his job.
No matter your background or roads traveled, please think seriously about joining us.
Guidelines and links to assist you on your journey as a Voice of the Poor
- Voice of the Poor issues and recommendations
- Why advocacy is important for Vincentians
- Voice of the Poor Advocacy Guide
- Contact your elected officials
- Contact Governor Bruce Rauner
- Volunteer opportunities
If there are issues close your heart that you feel you may need more information before contacting your elected official please contact:
Advocacy for the poor is not about being on one side of the political aisle or the other. As Vincentian VOP we are "placed by Providence on neutral ground ... in order to act as a mediator" (Frederic Ozanam November 5, 1986). Since most issues affecting the poor are brought about by the policies in place, as advocates for the poor we need to take it upon ourselves to ensure that those that are making the policies are fully informed about the plight of the poor. Information is equally effective if shared with our neighbors and fellow parishioners too.
"The Voice for the Voiceless: The Society helps the poor and the disadvantaged speak for themselves. When they cannot, the Society must speak on behalf of those who are ignored." Rule 7.5