Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Rain Doesn't Dampen Enthusiasm For Friends Of The Poor Walk

Society of St. Vincent de Paul volunteer and spokesperson Bill Hussmann waves as his alter ego, Phillip D. Foodbank, during the 2018 Friends of the Poor Walk. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

Three hundred – maybe more – participants didn’t let light rain dampen their spirits on Sept. 22. Instead, they seemed to celebrate the respite from the tri-state’s recent 90-degree daily deluge by making the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s 2018 Friends of the Poor Walk one of the most successful in the event’s 11-year history.

“We have set an all-time record in sponsorship this year,” SVdP volunteer and spokesperson Bill Hussmann told the crowd before the walk began. “We hit $27,000 in sponsorships alone. After we take care of expenses, the sponsorship funds and your donations will enable us to provide $25,000-$30,000 directly to the people in Posey, Vanderburgh and Warrick counties who need assistance to keep their utilities on, and with other necessities.”

Hussmann also announced a special donation made to the walk in honor of the 50th wedding anniversary of Carolyn and Jim Harmon. “Anyone who knows Carolyn knows what an important role she has played in St. Vincent de Paul and this walk over the years,” he said.

Hussmann told the walkers that they were helping 19 conferences of St. Vincent de Paul across the three counties, and the conferences are affiliated with parishes. “There are around 400 Vincentians in those conferences,” he said.

He introduced Benedictine Sister Donna Marie Herr, director of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Evansville, and John Payne, director of Evansville’s St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. He noted that the food pantry served 1,378 families in August, and that the thrift store has provided clothing at no charge to hundreds of people in need.

Following the introductions and a brief description of the course by Hussmann, Father Bernie Etienne, diocesan Vicar General, lead the walkers and volunteers in prayer. Walkers then set out to walk one of three distances – 1.1 miles, 2 miles or 3.1 miles (5k).

Hussmann told The Message that about 90 volunteers showed up on the grounds of the Evansville State Hospital, near the intersection of Lincoln and Vann avenues on Evansville’s east side, to help with the 2018 walk.