The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP), a non-profit 501(C)3 charity invites members of the public of all ages to participate in the Friends of the Poor Walk/Run on Saturday, September 24, at River View Park, 151 Sycamore Drive in Buellton.

This event is being held in Santa Barbara County for the first time this year; and nationally, is the 8th annual FOP Walk/Run. All proceeds and donations from this event in Buellton will directly benefit people in Santa Barbara County to ease the financial stresses of the working poor. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and the Walk/Run will begin at 9 a.m.; participants will be encouraged to walk/run laps around scenic River View Park until the conclusion at noon. There will be refreshments, games for children and free information about SVdP services available throughout the morning.

“Year-round, our SVdP volunteers in Santa Barbara County provide housing and utility assistance, auto repairs, medical and dental assistance, food, furniture, clothing, and other emergency needs. None of our works of charity could be accomplished without the generous support of many people and the dedicated members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. We encourage the community to participate in the Friends of the Poor Walk/Run this year in Buellton,” said Susan Megliola, SVdP Santa Barbara District President, a resident of Solvang.

Within the Santa Barbara District of SVdP, there are seven Conferences of Charity comprising more than 125 active volunteers from parishes including Old Mission Santa Barbara, San Rafael (Goleta); San Roque (Santa Barbara), La Purisima (Lompoc); Old Mission Santa Ines (Solvang), St. Mary of the Assumption (Santa Maria) and Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 2015, Santa Barbara District SVdP paid out $150,000 in direct aid and an equivalent amount of in-kind goods and services to 1,800 neighbors.

Anyone interested in learning more about the SVdP Friends of the Poor Walk/Run, participating or making a pledge can visit  or go to the Santa Barbara District site

The Friends of the Poor Walk/Run is held near September 27, the feast day of the Society’s patron, St. Vincent de Paul, who ministered to the poor in Paris in the 17th century. One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul  is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of more than 800,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 150 countries on five continents. With USA headquarters in St. Louis, membership in the United States totals more than 150,000 volunteers in 4,400 communities.

SVdP offers a variety of programs and services including: home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, and assistance with transportation and utility costs. In 2013, SVdP provided more than $795 million in tangible and in-kind services to those in need, made more than 1.7 million personal visits (homes, hospitals and prisons) and helped approximately 11 million people regardless of race, religion or national origin throughout the world.