On January 5, 1858, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul reached the shores of Santa Barbara. Within a week, these pioneer Sisters established the first English-speaking school and orphanage in the region. This marked the beginning of their life-transforming work that continues today.
One of the service programs available to campus residents and clients is St. Vincent’s Heart. First opened in 2001 as a food and supply pantry, the program served the needs of the low-income mothers and at-risk children in St. Vincent’s Family Strengthening Program. Today through the efforts of several volunteers under the direction of Sister Mary Ann Tippett, D.C., Vice President of Mission Integration & Outreach, St. Vincent’s Heart assists some 600 campus residents and clients with fresh produce and other food items from the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County along with clothing and other household necessities donated by the public.
With the ongoing support of the community and local merchants such as Peanuts Maternity & Kids, Debbie’s Delights, and Trader Joe’s, St. Vincent’s Heart can offer low-income families access to basic household and personal necessities throughout the year. Seasonal donations also come into St. Vincent’s Heart from the community. Shortly before Christmas, Ethan Jepsen, a first-grader from Buellton, California delivered several bags filled with coats. Ethan and his father, Justin Jepsen, collected the coats and jackets from their generous neighbors and donated them to St. Vincent’s Heart, just in time for an exceptionally cold Santa Barbara winter. “This was Ethan’s idea – he just wanted to help people,” said his proud dad.
St. Vincent’s is grateful to all of its supporters, benefactors, volunteers, and staff who for 155 years have supported those in need in the Santa Barbara area. It is only through the generosity of the community that much-needed service programs, such as St. Vincent’s Heart, can be sustained into the future.
St. Vincent’s is the longest, continuously-operating nonprofit human service agency in Santa Barbara. With a Tradition of Caring Since 1858, St. Vincent’s serves the most vulnerable residents of Santa Barbara County by providing affordable housing, early childhood education, and family enrichment opportunities.
For more information about St. Vincent’s Heart or St. Vincent’s Family Strengthening Program, please contact Michael Padden-Rubin at (805) 683-6381 x110 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stvincents-sb.org or our Facebook Page for daily inspirational quotes.