Mission committee, pastor honored for charity work

Staff Report

A charitable committee and the pastor at Mission Santa Ines received a regional honor at a recent gala to provide scholarships at the Circle V Ranch Camp near Lake Cachuma.

The Mission Santa Inés St. Vincent de Paul Conference of Charity, along with Father Matthew Elshoff, were honored by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles.

Established in 2000, the Mission Santa Inés St. Vincent de Paul Conference of Charity is comprised of more than 34 volunteers known as Vincentians.

The regional award was presented by Allen Lund, president and CEO of The Allen Lund Company and a long-time St. Vincent de Paul volunteer leader, to Mission Santa Inés Pastor Matthew Elshoff and Mary French, president of the mission’s Conference of Charity.

In accepting the award, Conference of Charity President Mary French said, “Our mission is simple: With the spirit of love and compassion, we help the needy of any religious background throughout the Santa Ynez Valley. We are so honored to be recognized by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles for doing what we have done for the last seventeen years, and we are blessed to continue.”

Community services by the Mission Santa Inés parish community include support of a hotline for those in need of emotional or financial support, the Christmas Basket program, the Low-Interest Loans to Low-Income Families program, Bundle Sundays clothing and houseware collections, and support of Circle V Ranch Camp.

Mission Santa Inés was established by Franciscan Friars in 1804, the 19th in the chain of 21 California missions. Today the parish has more than than 1,400 registered families and offers a museum, gardens, religious education classes and community services.

“I am humbled to represent the parish here tonight at this gala,” Father Matt said at the dinner. “In the words of Blessed Frederic Ozanam, the founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in 1833, ‘One cannot avoid the social issues; because they are formidable, God does not want us to turn them aside. We must lay a bold hand on the core of poverty.”

All funds raised at the event, attended by more than 500 guests, are earmarked for scholarships at Circle V Ranch Camp; 95 percent of the 1,200 children attending the camp each year need financial help to do so.

“We are blessed to have Circle V Ranch Camp so close to Solvang and help many children experience a caring, supportive connection in a place of God’s natural beauty,” Father Matt added.

Those who have needs or are interested in volunteering and becoming members of the Mission Santa Inés Conference of Charity are invited to leave a message for President Mary French at 805-686-9933 or learn more at http://missionsantaInés.org/society-st-vincent-de-paul.