By NANICYLNN GATTA, Correspondent
SEP 23, 2023
WARREN — From the moment you walked under the blue and white balloon arch toward the registration, information and raffle table, it was a celebration at Fosters Pavilion in Perkins Park, where the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Trumbull County hosted its second annual Friends of the Poor Walk on Sept. 16.
“It takes a community to support a community,” said Kyle Jones, communications manager of the event, regarding the great response and participation in the event and the chapter’s work throughout the year.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society is a Catholic lay organization that serves the poor with respect, love, hope and compassion. The Trumbull County society offers meals, clothing, beds and mattresses, and a thrift store.
The Friends of the Poor Walk takes place nationally at 245 St. Vincent de Paul Society chapters to raise awareness of the needs of the poor within their communities. All money raised at the local Friends of the Poor Walk stays in Trumbull County.
The walk is one time around the Perkins Park soccer fields and is just less than a mile long.
Of the 300-plus people who participated this year, quite a few walkers brought their dogs, including Lenore and Bobby Mangiarelli of Cortland, who brought their Australian Sheepdog, Augie. The Mangiarellis participated in the event for the second year in a row.
“We are proud to partner with SVDP Trumbull because we believe in the important work that they do in the community. SVDP not only works to provide for the physical needs, but also does so from a Christian perspective in serving those in the community with kindness and prayer. It is an honor to partner with an organization like SVDP to give back to our community. We look forward to supporting future Friends of the Poor Walks,” Lenore Mangiarelli said.
Angie Davenport and her husband Bruce of Warren and their Jack Russell terrier, Mayah, took part in the Friends of the Poor Walk.
“We wanted to support St. Vincent de Paul because they are doing such a great job to help people in the area,” Angie Davenport said.
Participants were of all ages. John F. Kennedy High School students Harmony Williams, Madison Miner and Adriana Yannucci took part in the walk as a service project.
“I took photos of the event for the website,” Yannucci said.
Mary and Jim Pipino of Howland made the walk a family event.
“We want to support the good work that SVDP is doing and it is a beautiful fall day to be with the community. Last year our daughter and her family walked with us. This year, our Cleveland family and our four granddaughters walked or were pulled in a wagon,” Mary Pipino said.
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin, a member of the advisory board of the Trumbull County St. Vincent de Paul Society, in his opening remarks before the walk said he knows the council is making a difference.
“I want to thank so many of you for coming. I see the passion that the staff and volunteers put in to try and address poverty. Participation grew significantly since the initial Friends of the Poor Walk,” he said.
The Rev. Christopher Cicero, pastor of Blessed Sacrament, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and SS. Mary and Joseph parishes, all in Warren, gave the opening blessing while adding a lighthearted moment.
“When I see this many people here, I want to take a collection,” he said.
The event was also an acknowledgement and thank you to the staff and volunteers for the many accomplishments they achieved in helping the area’s poor.
Some of the things that the nonprofit provided to the community in 2022 was serving more than 100,000 meals, providing $51,000 in clothing, $72,000 in furniture vouchers, placed 17 individuals through the Back2Work program and six full-time placements with SVDP and provided 439 mattresses and beds to families.
“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a 5-year-old cry with joy because she will be able to sleep in her own bed,” said Darlene Jones, CEO of St. Vincent de Paul Society Northeast Ohio District, which includes Trumbull, Portage and Ashtabula counties, in reference to a bed that was donated by the society.
However, the event was about more than just a celebration. Its other purpose was to remind everyone of the work that still needs to be done.
“This second annual Friends of the Poor Walk is an opportunity to raise awareness of poverty issues and raise funds in Trumbull County,” said Laura Bennett, Director of Development / Fundraising for the St. Vincent de Paul Northeast Ohio District Council.
Organizers already have begun planning for next year’s event.