The Catholic church on West Memorial Drive in Dallas has within it the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a dual outreach program that offers food donations and financial assistance to families in the county.
This year alone, the society has distributed 25,280 pounds of food, assisted 770 families and paid more than $73,000 in financial assistance to those in need.
The outreach program, which is called the Family Support Center, is a large one that thrives on food and financial donations, as well as volunteer time, but much of the revenue that supports the program comes from money made through the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.
The thrift store, at 651 W. Memorial Drive in Dallas, has only been open for four years after operating out of the church.
The Rev. Adrian Pleus, pastor of the church, was open to the idea but had his doubts.
“I was concerned that it may not work,” he said.
But he said the society members leading the effort had a “great deal of business acumen and savvy. They simply knew how to make things work.”
So a 14,000-square-foot space that was formerly a furniture store was transformed into a thrift shop on one side and a distribution center on the other, where families could receive a week or two worth of food, as well as apply for financial assistance to cover everyday costs of living.
On the food distribution side, there is not much the support center does not give out, society president Sally Maloney said.
Freezers contain meat, bread and milk, while shelves are stocked with canned fruits, vegetables, grains and potatoes.
“We have absolutely anything that you want,” she said.
In order to help as many families as possible, the society has set limits on how often a single person or family can receive assistance — once every three months for food and only once a year for finances.
Maloney said the thrift store operates mainly on donations of goods for sale, and the store carries a little bit of everything — mostly clothes, but also furniture, housewares and toys.
She said the thrift store has grown considerably.
“We are doing quite well,” Maloney said. “I’m thrilled about it.
“The more money we get from the store, the more people we help.”