St. Mary’s group helps local people in need

By on August 13, 2010

Photo: Marie Siebens hangs clothes on a rack at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul store in the Maple Park Civic Center. For confidential assistance or to donate items or funds, call (815) 301-2634 or e-mail Photo by Mary Herra

by Tammy Swanson
MAPLE PARK—With the high rate of unemployment, it is no surprise to see many people struggling to pay bills. For some, even feeding their families is a challenge. In Maple Park, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Mary Catholic Church is committed to providing relief.

The Society is a Roman Catholic lay organization which offers assistance to people from throughout Kane County.

“It is an advocate in the church to reach out to those who are poor and needy,” said Father Godwin Asuquo, St. Mary’s parochial administrator of St. Mary’s.

The Society gives food to people who are hungry and also things like furniture to those who may lack them, Asuquo said. The organization also assists people with utility bills if its funds allow.

With about 10 active members in Maple Park, the Society has helped hundreds of local people just this year. Marie Siebens, a Society volunteer since the group became active in the village in 1996, said more people have volunteered to lend a hand lately.

“We’ve had 27 people just tonight,” Siebens said during the organization’s recent meeting. “It (the number of people seeking help) has increased substantially. We’ve seen at least a 75-percent increase since last year.”

In 2002, the group opened a store in the basement of the Civic Center. People in need can stop by the store on Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. and pay whatever amount they can afford for items including clothes for adults and children, toys, dishes, furniture, canned goods, bread, books, paper products and many other household items.

To keep the shelves filled, the Society relies on donations of household items and nonperishable food, as well as paper towels, toilet paper, tissues and laundry detergent, which are in high demand.

“Paper products and soap products are needed. Even if people have food stamps, they can’t get that,” said Siebens.

The organization also welcomes monetary donations, which are especially helpful to assist people with utility bills.

For confidential assistance or to donate store items or funds, call (815) 301-2634 or e-mail

The Society of St. Vincent DePaul

The Society of St. Vincent DePaul
began in France in 1833 and came
to the United States in 1845.

This Roman Catholic organization
currently assists approximately
12 million people in the U.S. every year.
The members grow in faith by
serving the poor and needy.

“It is a worthwhile cause given that
one of the missions of the church,
like Jesus said, is anything we do
to the least of his brothers and sisters,
we do it for Him,”
said Father Godwin Asuquo,
parochial administrator
of St. Mary’s Parish in Maple Park.