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Franklin - Local Town Pages

St. Vincent de Paul Announces 33rd Friends of the Poor Walk

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Mary’s Parish will host its 33rd Annual Friends of the Poor Walk, its only formal fundraiser, at Franklin Town Common on the morning of September 30th, 2023. Come support your neighbors in need!

Saturday Sept. 30, 2023, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. 

By J.D. O’Gara

Rent is up. Prices have increased. COVID-19 subsidies have ended. SNAP benefits have been reduced. Things are tougher for the folks in Franklin who are struggling, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Mary’s Church is noticing the change.


“The need has definitely increased,” says Nancy Schoen, one of the 35-40 members of the all-volunteer Franklin SVdP team, “As rents and the price of food have risen, it has greatly impacted many of our neighbors in need. We’re seeing people who have been always able to make do, but since COVID subsidies have ended, they’ll get a medical bill they’ll have to pay and not be able to pay some ofthe other bills. We’re seeing people that we haven’t seen before, and these are people that are working hard, sometimes two jobs to keep up with the rising costs.” Rent and food, she says, seem to be the biggest areas of need, followed by clothing, furniture, medical and car repairs. 

Last year St. Mary’s SVdP Society helped Franklin residents 392 times for a total of over $76,000, regardless of race, religious belief, or ethnic background. Those helped span age demographics, from younger singles to elderly on fixed incomes and families with limited resources. 

You can help SVdP support your neighbors by taking part in or donating to its 33rd Annual Friends of the Poor Walk, taking place on Saturday, September 30, 2023, from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. (right before the Harvest Festival). Each year, the St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVdP) of St. Mary’s Church walks to bring awareness to the Franklin Community of the struggles some residents experience that impact their daily lives.

The walk takes place around the Franklin Common. Walkers can walk one mile or three miles, with one time around the common a third of a mile. 

“We like the visibility (of the walk around Franklin Common),” says Schoen, “and it’s a safer route.”

“This is our only formal fundraiser,” says Schoen. “People are encouraged to donate, and often they will (donate) in memory or in honor of someone. One hundred percent of the money raised goes back into helping anyone in the Franklin community who is in need. The St. Vincent de Paul Society is thankful to all who have so generously donated in the past.”

SVdP Members assist people in several ways to help them retain their dignity and to help them to become self-sustaining, such as:

• Guide them to other resources, both state and charitable 

• Provide clothing and furniture through SVdP Thrift Stores 

• Supply non-perishable food and paper products from their pantry to supplement other food resources 

• Assist financially during an unexpected crisis helping to pay rent, medical, car repairs etc.

SVdP volunteers are members of St. Mary’s Parish and are always welcoming other parishioners to join in the effort. If you would like to become involved contact St. Vincent de Paul at (508) 918-2291.

St. Mary’s SVdP Society also works closely with other local helping organizations, the Franklin Food Pantry and the Senior Center, notes Schoen.

To sign up for the walk, or to donate online, visit

You may also support SVdP’s mission of helping Franklin residents in need by sending a check to: 

SVDP, 1 Church Square Franklin, MA 02038 

If you have any questions, please call SVDP at (508) 918-2291. All donations stay in Franklin and all information is kept confidential.