A Kirkland native recently received the St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) Least of My Brethren Award for the second time after serving her community and those in need for 15 years.
Dee Roe, a member of Holy Family Catholic Parish was honored for her charitable work at the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Seattle/King County Council Appreciation Dinner on March 31. Roe had previously received the award in 2011, along with her husband Tom Roe, for her work in the Holy Family conference, which was reformed in 2004.
“I am really honored and humbled to receive this recognition given the 1,100 people in King County that participate in St. Vincent’s,” she said. “Holy Family SVDP has a such a wonderful, dedicated core group of volunteers. It is pretty incredible that Holy Family conference is relatively new and we have had four award recipients the past 15 years.”
Roe has served the poor as a volunteer, vice president and lead home visit team organizer for Holy Family. Roe and her team work closely with Hopelink, New Bethlehem Day Center and the Lake Washington United Methodist car camp to assist in aiding locals in need.
“Many people do not qualify for assistance from Hopelink if they make too much money,” said Gina Casanova, SVDP president of the Holy Family Kirkland Conference. “Sometimes it can just be $2 over the limit. We feel like we can be a safety net to those people. We also help our neighbors struggling with homelessness.”
Holy Family Kirkland answered more than 500 calls for help and made 300 home visits in 2018. SVDP aims to serve with humility, compassion and generosity. The Holy Family Kirkland conference is one of 52 conferences in King County. The Kirkland conference has about 20 active volunteers of the more than 1,100 volunteers who serve throughout King County.
“I feel very fortunate to have stepped into the role of president last year to an already functioning all-volunteer group at Holy Family Church in Kirkland,” Casanova said. “It’s a very caring group of individuals that I am very grateful to be a part of.”
The Least of My Brethren Award is based on a bible passage, Matthew 25:40, “Whatever you did for one of the least of by brethren (Feed the Hungry, Clothe the Naked, Visit those in Prison) you did it for me.”
Roe added that anyone in need should call the King County SVDP call center at 206-767-6449.
“St. Vincent’s mission is ‘seeing the face of Christ in the poor.’ It’s not an easy ministry. We don’t give out aid without meeting people,” Roe said. “Poverty on the Eastside isn’t as visible as it might be in Seattle. That being said, there are over 600 homeless students in the Lake Washington and Bellevue school districts. When we first started in 2004, the homeless were mainly in Tent City which moved every three months to different locations. Today, we have several homeless camps — family car camp at LWUMC, adult car camp at Overlake Church on Willows Road and New Bethlehem Day Center for homeless families. Our Holy Family SVDP conference serves all these neighbors.”