St Vincent de Paul’s mission is to help those in need become self-sufficient through education, community connectedness, and unconditional support.
Since being established in Des Moines in 1924, the main focus of St. Vincent de Paul’s (SVdP) work is to assist those living in poverty in becoming self-sufficient by helping to remove roadblocks as we walk with them on their journey out of poverty. The Des Moines Council operates two thrift stores, two social services departments, an education center, and a child watch center. SVdP employs around 40+ paid staff and many volunteers.
The approach of St. Vincent de Paul is multifaceted, and intentionally diversified. Our goal is to treat the symptoms that have caused our clients to experience poverty, not just patch the problem. As such, our social services and education center work hand-in-hand to provide access to resources for those in need. These resources may include, but are not limited to:
Workforce Development (Back2Work)
The Back2Work program is a Nationally replicated workforce development model that focuses on two weeks of employment preparation and training, a six week internship with an employer, and job placement at an employer, typically in the trades, paid at a livable wage.
Prisoner re-entry (Immersion)
The IMMERSION program is a Nationally replicated reentry program that was developed in Des Moines, IA. Through partnerships with Bridges of Iowa, the Polk County Jail, and State correctional facilities, we teach courses in the jails and prisons on healthy relationships at home and work, financial literacy, provide mentors, and can utilize our other resources to meet peoples’ basic needs to successfully transition from jail or prison to society.
Social Services (two locations)
Clients may be eligible to receive hygiene products, infant needs, food, clothing, and furniture. Through the implementation of Food Pantry 2.0, guests in the food pantries are incentivized to choose healthy food items through the utilization of a points system. Healthy food consumes fewer of an individual’s monthly point allotment, which they are allowed to use at their discretion. Weekly recipes are provided to these families as well.
Adult Basic Education
With access to a state of the art classroom that includes 14 computers and a high-tech Smart Board, the Education Center offers: high school equivalency diploma (HiSET) preparation classes, assistance with job and apartment searches, financial literacy classes and coaching, tutoring in reading and math, the National Career Readiness Certificate assessment (NCRC), open lab time each week, access to a mentor, and access our Child Watch Center while attending class.
Open to the public, individuals from all walks of life come into our store and purchase secondhand items at low cost such as furniture, clothing for men, women, and young adults, shoes, appliances, beds and much more.
We collaborate and partner with many like-minded community service organizations with visions similar to ours: End Poverty Through Systemic Change. It is also important to know that St. Vincent de Paul serves anyone who walks through its doors, without any requirements to be eligible for services.