Help us provide a critical safety net to Sonoma neighbors in need!
We gratefully accept financial donations, planned gifts, used autos & gently used merchandise
There comes a time in many people’s lives when they will face poverty and extreme financial challenge. If that person is fortunate, this situation will be temporary, but for countless neighbors among us, poverty is inter-generational and lasts until some type of significant intervention occurs. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul provides a critical safety net of caring services to bridge the gap for those that are temporarily suffering financial hardship and strives to pave a road of independence for families who have been afflicted for generations.
Since it opened, the profits from our Thrift Store have supported our Dining Room, food pantries and other programs to help the poor and needy. Sadly, the number of unemployed, homeless, and hungry has increased and each year the number of men, women and particularly children who require assistance in Sonoma County has grown.
Despite California’s economic and agricultural prosperity, one in six Californians is hungry or at serious risk of hunger – significantly worse than the nation as a whole. Hunger is a symptom of poverty; far too many families experience devastating consequences when their low wages or modest public benefits can’t cover the cost of housing, utilities and food.
Every two years the County of Sonoma is required to conduct a Homeless Census and Survey in order to receive funding from the Federal government. While statistics are often boring and hollow, these provide some insight into the challenges faced by our community. Download a complete copy of the 2011 Sonoma County Homeless Census & Survey.
- Annual estimate for the number of homeless people in Sonoma County increased by 59% in 2011.
- 39.8% increase in point in time homelessness from 2009 to 2011, with Cloverdale (112%), Petaluma (11.2%), Rohnert Park (359.8%), Santa Rosa (64.4%), Sebastopol (219%) and Sonoma (516.7%) all experiencing an increase.
- 51.5% increase in unsheltered homeless from 2009 to 2011, with a startling 216% increase in children under 18 years old.
- 68.2% of individuals who were homeless in 2011 were homeless for the first time
- 74.9% were living in Sonoma County when they became homeless, and of those, 91.6% had lived here for a year or longer.
- 34% cited a lost job as the primary cause of their homelessness – 86% were currently unemployed, 11.4% were employed part time and 2.4% were employed full time.
- 10.2% owned a home immediately prior to becoming homeless, while 35.1% lived in a rented home or apartment.
- Of homeless people in the 2011 census, 38.5% had a high school diploma or GED, 22% had some college, 4.3% had an AA degree, 3.5% had a BA or higher.
- The top three barriers to employment were sited as: no transportation, no available jobs and no permanent address.
- 48% were receiving no government benefits while 28% received less than $500.
- Fully 73.9% depended on free meals (like those offered by SVdP’s free Dining Room), and 39.3% on Food Pantries (like those run by the SVdP Conferences) to eat.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Sonoma County (SVdP Sonoma) was founded in 1958 as an independent non-profit organization. We are self-supporting and do not receive funding from the government or the local Catholic Archdiocese.
We offer a hand up to our neighbors in Sonoma County who are hungry, homeless and struggling.
We strongly believe that when one individual is nourished, housed, healthy and strong, we are all healthier and stronger; and when one family is headed down the road to independence, all of Sonoma is better off.
This powerful, short (4:39 minute) video is an illustration of the crisis affecting our communities today:
If you would like to help provide hope and positive change to Sonoma’s poor children and families, we welcome volunteers in various capacities and gratefully accept financial contributions, clothing and furniture donations and used auto donations. Find out more about volunteering or making a gift through this website or by calling 707.584.1579, x205.
With your generous support, we will continue to ease the burden of families living in poverty in Sonoma County today and for years to come.
Your donation, large or small, can make a big difference in a needy neighbor’s life.
$25 can provide 3 outfits of school clothes to a needy child!
$50 buys a sofa and dining table for a family moving into their first residence after being homeless!
$100 pays for 40 meals for people who might otherwise go hungry!
To make a Secure On Line Donation to St. Vincent de Paul Sonoma County now:
Mail a Check
St. Vincent de Paul of Sonoma County
Attn: Development Department
PO Box 1095
Rohnert Park, CA 94927
St. Vincent de Paul of Sonoma County has proudly adopted the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Donor Bill of Rights and Code of Ethics.