St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVDP), an international volunteer-run organization, has a mission of eliminating poverty and hunger by promoting and establishing acts of charity and justice. Last year, SVDP Milwaukee celebrated its 170th anniversary of serving the most vulnerable members of Milwaukee’s community. In 2019, SVDP Milwaukee gave $1.8 million in goods and services to those in need throughout Milwaukee County – serving an estimated 58,233 individuals. 

Often known exclusively for its thrift stores, SVDP Milwaukee is certainly that…and so much more! 

The Society runs numerous community outreach programs including a Neighbors Helping Neighbors Home Visit Program, an active Meal Program on Milwaukee’s northside and southside, two thrift stores, and a newly launched Back2Work employment program. We invite you to learn more about our critical work in Milwaukee County.  

Neighbors Helping Neighbors  

SVDP Milwaukee is supported by 600+ member volunteers from 45 local parish conferences (volunteer groups), called “Vincentians.” As part of their volunteer work, Vincentians make home visits (virtually via phone during COVID-19). In some cases, volunteers determine a need for groceries and basic household necessities and follow-up by mailing the family gift cards redeemable for groceries, as well as larger items like stoves and refrigerators from used appliance stores.  

As part of these calls, our member volunteers offer prayers of support and check-in with individuals and families in need to ensure they are holding up during this time. Phone calls serve as a way for our volunteers to assess the living conditions of those in need and to offer support where they can. In addition, numerous SVDP parish conferences run food pantries throughout the year – providing access to healthy food to those in need.  

Meal Program  

smiling helpersSVDP Milwaukee’s Meal Program is at the heart of its mission – serving the most vulnerable members of the Milwaukee community. The program operates from two meal-serving locations: Harambee Kitchen (2600 N. 2nd Street) and Cross Roads Kitchen (931 W. Madison Street). Active in Milwaukee for the past 37 years, the program is generously supported by individual donors and a community of dedicated volunteers from diverse faiths, backgrounds, and walks of life.  

The most vulnerable members of Milwaukee’s community take advantage of our program, including families with young children and the elderly. Last year, over 66,000 meals were served as part of the program; nearly 12,000 of these meals were served to young children.  

Along with providing warm meals, the Meal Program offers a “Healing Waters Shower Program” – offering warm showers to our guests (pre-pandemic). In 2019, 1,631 showers were provided as part of our program, along with clean clothing and basic hygiene products. The program serves as one of only a handful of locations in Milwaukee where people, often experiencing homelessness, can take a shower. 

SVDP Milwaukee’s Meal Program operations have changed significantly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The program practices safe social-distancing and ensures that all CDC guidelines are followed. Meal Program guests are served outdoors – spaced six feet apart – using “to-go” containers. Serving times are staggered to avoid long lines of guests waiting outdoors. Guests pick up their meals and take them to eat elsewhere.  

All volunteers and guests are required to wear face masks and regularly sanitize their hands. The program provides a new, clean face mask in each “to-go” bag for our guests – allowing them to safely return to the Meal Program the next day with a face covering.  

Thrift Stores 

thrift storeSVDP Milwaukee’s two thrift stores benefit Milwaukee’s low-income residents in numerous ways. Store revenue supports our various programming including the Meal Program and Home Visits. In 2019, the stores provided $64,393 worth of items to those in need. Individuals and families are able to redeem certificates at our thrift stores for free household necessities, and our Vincentian volunteers utilize the stores to support their Home Visit purchases.  You are invited to shop SVDP’s thrift stores during the upcoming holiday season!  


SVDP Milwaukee’s new Back2Work program will train and prepare the unemployed to pursue a career in the skilled trades. In partnership with Project Return and Milwaukee Community Service Corps, SVDP is eager for the growth of this new program over the next year.   



In January 2021, SVDP Milwaukee is blessed to be featured as Metcalfe Market’s Charity of Choice as part of their “Feed the Need Program” at their Wauwatosa location!  

As the local charity of the month, SVDP Milwaukee will receive a 5% match on total purchases at the end of the month – but only in January 2021!  

How can you help? Visit www.svdpmilw.org in the next week to get access to your very own “partner coupon” with bar code, valid for one month and offering a 5% on all shopping (unlimited). Shopping at Metcalfe Market Wauwatosa during the month of January 2021 generously supports St. Vincent de Paul Society of Milwaukee. Thank you for your shopping!  

In addition, SVDP Milwaukee is incredibly grateful for gifts of all shapes and sizes and invites you to donate online at www.svdpmilw.org or by calling (414) 462-7837 ext. 103 to speak with the SVDP Milwaukee Development team.  

Blessings on a happy and healthy holiday season!