One of the people who has truly benefitted from our organization’s services to the homeless is Robert B. Robert (pictured) is currently staying in the homeless shelter at the Siena Francis House, just down the street from our Holy Family Community Center. Roberts’s story is both heart-breaking and heart-warming, and is intimately intertwined with the Society and the special work that happens here at 1715 Izard Street.
As background….On Thanksgiving Day in 2018, Robert’s wife, Rebecca, died from complications from COPD. Married for 32 years, Robert took Rebecca’s death incredibly hard. As Robert tells it, “Becky’s passing took so much out of me. I guess I kind of fell down in life. I was completely in the dumps.” Not long after, Robert ended up losing his apartment, fueled by a combination of the increased costs of his rent and the terrible depression he was experiencing related to his wife’s death. Robert was homeless.
After ending up at Siena Francis House, Robert would often find himself at SSVP’s Holy Family Community Center, requesting a lunch or emergency clothing – or companionship. Over the course of a year, Robert got to know our staff, and they got to know him. Then Robert asked if he might be able to be of assistance, here at SSVP, picking up trash, weeding the garden….whatever could be helpful.
We said yes to Robert’s offer, so he has been helping with small chores around our building since that time – watering the garden, picking up trash, clearing off the sidewalks, cleaning the chapel…”a little bit of everything”, as Robert states. Robert showed himself to be dependable & conscientious and just a very helpful presence around SSVP. As such, we have been able to provide Robert with a small stipend as payment for his work, which Robert greatly appreciates.
Robert’s ultimate goal is to save up enough money to move into an affordable housing option, here in Omaha, and is actively working toward that end, hoping to do so by the end of 2022. Until such time, though, Robert has very much enjoyed – and is grateful for – the opportunity to provide assistance here at SSVP, in his own small way. In Robert’s own words:
“I get up every morning and say my prayers, and then work in the garden, as it is so peaceful, so quiet. I know that I’m not over my wife’s death yet, so that’s a time for me to just thank God that Rebecca is in better hands. She suffered quite a bit with her illness. I’m very happy to be helping out at SSVP, and am grateful for the work. The staff is so nice; you couldn’t ask for better people. They really are like a new family to me. Even after I move out, I fully intend to volunteer here at St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Family. I really do feel like the Good Lord has blessed me by putting these people and this organization in my life, following Rebecca’s death.
Even after I’m able to move into an apartment, I’m going to continue to help out, here at SSVP. And, I’d like to continue being part of this awesome organization until the good Lord decides to take me home.”
Serving in hope,
Gifts to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha are used to care for the people who turn to us during their hour of need and are greatly appreciated. All of our services are provided at no cost. All gifts made to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Our donor information is kept in strict confidence. Our donor lists are never rented, shared or exchanged with other organizations. The stories in our letters are real. Identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy and therapeutic interests of those we serve. For more information about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha, or to include us in your estate planning, please contact Executive Director, Marty Smith, at (402) 779-8499.