The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Milwaukee will celebrate its inaugural “Giving from the Heart” Gala on Thursday, Sept. 28, at The Gage in West Allis.
Proceeds from the Gala will directly support Milwaukee neighbors in need as part of SVdP’s Home Visitation Program, where volunteers provide basic household essentials like beds for children, furniture, food, clothing, refurbished appliances and more.
Rebecca Surges, Director of Philanthropy and Marketing Communications, said high inflation has increased the demand for home visits during the summer and upcoming fall and winter months.
“This past year, the Society gave $1.6 million in goods and services to those in need throughout Milwaukee County,” she said. “Our 645 volunteers, through home visitation, establish one-on-one supportive relationships with individuals and families who need basic items such as food, clothing and furniture, and who benefit by the companionship, care and compassion extended by the volunteers. Volunteers in this program also operate food pantries and visit the sick, the elderly and the imprisoned.”
Visiting the poor is a charism of the organization dating back to its inception in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam in Paris. This practice caught on around the world and in Milwaukee by 1849. Several St. Vincent de Paul “conferences” were established in Milwaukee. By 1914, the organization formed a council, which allowed for legal incorporation and the ability to take on larger activities.
In addition to visiting those at home, the organization has thrift stores, meal programs, shelters and help centers. Milwaukee County has 43 SVdP conferences with most located at area Catholic parishes.
Surges said organizers hope to achieve the maximum attendance of 300 for the gala so they can continue helping others.
“Last year, nearly 9,000 home visits were made,” she said. “This gala is very important to our mission. For 174 years, the Milwaukee Society has worked to eliminate poverty and hunger and offer compassionate care to neighbors in need from all walks of life throughout Milwaukee County. We serve individuals of all backgrounds and religious affiliations. Many are homeless, the working poor, large families with young children, the elderly, and those experiencing mental health challenges. Because the needs of our local community are greater than ever, we must try new fundraising strategies to engage with our local community and raise critical funds.”
The doors open for the gala at 6 p.m. with a silent auction consisting of more than 30 items, live music, cocktails and networking. A gourmet meal prepared by Zilli Hospitality Group commences at 7 p.m.
Frankie Jupiter of CBS 58 will emcee the gala and will feature heartfelt stories from those impacted by the Society’s work.
Individual tickets are $150, while a table for eight is $1,200. Sponsorships are also available. Contact Rebecca Surges at firstname.lastname@example.org or 414-667-0242 to support the event.
Purchase tickets by Sept. 15 and learn more by visiting one.bidpal.net/svdpmilw/welcome.
The Gage is located at 1139 S. 70th St., West Allis.