Who we are
Spirituality is the first objective of the society. Our primary purpose is not to bring help to the poor, at least when defined as materiel or financial assistance. Our primary purpose is to bring the love and peace of Christ to those who are suffering.
In doing so, we bring the gift of ourselves and our time.
Nonetheless, as St James so aptly says, it is difficult to minister to someone's soul when that person's body is hungry or naked. Missionaries of all faiths have historically found that they had to minister to the physical needs of those in their care before the could effectively preach the gospel :
"What does it profit, My brethren, If a man say he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'go in peace, be warmed and filled, ' without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? so by faith itself, if it has no works, is dead,"
Although our objective is to bring love and peace, when we see our brother or sister suffering, we naturally want to help. So we collect food and raise funds in order to help and demonstrate the truth of the central message of Christianity. --Love one another
This is a simple act of living without faith. we share in some small way what we have, with those who have less. In doing so, we cause the poor to see our good works and give glory and praise god. St Matthew Expressed it:
"You are the light of the world.
Men do not light a lamp and then put in under a bushel basket.
They set it on a stand where it gives light to all...
In the same way, Your light must shine before all men
so that they may see your good works
and give it praise and glory to your heavenly Father."
St Vincent de Paul
The Primary role of the Vincentian is not to pay the bills, furnish groceries or clothe someone. The role of a Vincentian is to provide loving and compassionate interest in individuals. If that interest calls for food or clothing or other assistance, so be it. However it is loving where the contact of Christ is what separates the society of st Vincent de Paul from other agencies.