By Libby Hopkins

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is the largest international non-profit Catholic organization in the world with close to a million volunteers in over 130 countries. The non-profit was founded in Paris in 1833. The first branch of the society was established in the United States in St. Louis in 1845. The society started work in Hillsborough County on April 22, 1932 with the formation of Sacred Heart Conference in Downtown Tampa. In 1982, the conferences united to form the Hillsborough County District.

“We are a non-profit that redistributes all profits back into our community,” said Candice Lane, a member of the St. Vincent de Paul society.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society provides financial assistance for rent, utilities, food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to those in need. Financial support to those in need is administered by church conferences according to geographic church boundaries/zip codes. The society also has two thrift shops in the Tampa Bay area, one of which is located in Ruskin.

“The St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop has been in Ruskin since 1989,” Lane said. A generous donor donated the building to the society in 1988. “Our mission within the community is twofold,” Lane said. “First we provide exceptional, low-cost goods and secondly, we support the St. Vincent de Paul conferences within the neighboring parishes with a percentage of the income generated by revenue from the thrift shop. When you shop at our store, not only are you capitalizing on great deals, you are also giving back and supporting our ministry.”

The shop’s inventory is based solely on the generosity of their donors.

“We have a truck that will pick up large item donations,” Lane said.

The thrift shop has a new website, www.svd pruskin.com, that includes an online Ebay shop.

“You can shop with ease from your smartphone,” Lane said. “Just download the OfferUp application.”

Visit www.svdptampa.org. The Ruskin St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop is located at 13113rd St. NE in Ruskin. Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.–4 p.m. To make a donation to the thrift shop, visit them in person or call 645-5255.