Vincentians stand in front of Vincent’s Legacy in Wall in this 2017 photo. The ministry is need of monetary and volunteer help. Ken Falls photo
Vincentians stand in front of Vincent’s Legacy in Wall in this 2017 photo. The ministry is need of monetary and volunteer help. Ken Falls photo

With 2019 drawing to a close and a full calendar of deliveries planned, the Vincent’s Legacy furniture ministry has launched a new fundraising initiative – Handbags to Help.

And with funds running dangerously low, it couldn’t come at a better time for the St. Vincent de Paul Society Trenton Council outreach ministry.

Currently soliciting donations of designer handbags from everywhere in the Diocese, the handbags will be sold through Selective Seconds – the high-quality home décor and furniture consignment store run by Belmar’s St. Rose Parish SVDP conference. All proceeds from the handbag sales will go to Vincent’s Legacy, which currently only has funding to pay another four months’ rent on its Monmouth County warehouse.

“The rent is $2,400 a month – which for renting a warehouse is inexpensive. However, the St. Vincent de Paul Society receives no funding for its furniture ministry,” said Margaret More, founder of Selective Seconds. The Handbags to Help campaign is an effort, she said, to bridge the gap between the next few months and any grants they might receive from area businesses.

“But that’s our only expense,” she added. “We’re 100 percent volunteer – we even borrow a truck from Selective Seconds to deliver the furniture. Down the road we’d like to buy one – but we have to put out one fire at a time.”

More said that a fundraising committee has been established, formed of volunteers with grant writing experience. “We have retired folks from various backgrounds to volunteer and help us reach out to different avenues,” she continued. The committee will likely approach “local banks that have been instrumental in providing grants to nonprofits in their communities. … None of that works quickly; they might only give grants mid-year or even annually.”

Furniture deliveries, meanwhile, continue regularly as requests pour in – in spite, More said, of the improved economy. “Georgian Court University’s soccer team has been so helpful and instrumental,” she noted.  The Lakewood school has “been committed to sending six to eight soccer players every Saturday morning to help load furniture – they’re such kind, nice kids.”

More began helping deliver furniture donated to SVDP to people in need in 2010. When the job finally became too large, she sought help from the wider SVDP community at the diocesan level, and Vincent’s Legacy was born, opening in 2017. More is now the volunteer coordinator for the furniture ministry, which serves both Monmouth and Ocean counties. There are hopes to one day expand to Burlington and Mercer Counties.

In addition to deliveries and grant writing, more than 100 volunteers also help sort, clean and vacuum the donations. “Our motto is, if we wouldn’t put it in our own home, we wouldn’t give it away,” More said.

Additional help is always needed, however, especially anyone with social media, marketing and database experience. “If there’s a firm that does pro bono work, we need marketing help,” she said.