The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, president of Niagara University, officiated the blessing of the St. Vincent de Paul Store's new location in the former St. Joseph's School building (Tronolone Place off Pine Avenue) on Saturday, July 9. Since 1950, the thrift store has offered gently used clothing and glassware to Niagara Falls residents in need, albeit at several different locations.
"We know and trust your blessing will become the spiritual and physical foundation for the store to grow in assisting the poor and needy in our community," stated the leadership team of the St. Vincent de Paul Society's Niagara District in a note to Levesque. "God's blessing you to enhance the presence of Niagara University on the streets of Niagara Falls, bringing God's love and devotion to the community."
Originally located at 14th Street (now Tronolone Place) and Walnut Avenue, the store is staffed by volunteers from Niagara University and several area church groups. NU staff and students have been especially instrumental in cleaning the store, removing debris, making needed repairs and soliciting donations of new and usable merchandise.
"Working with the St. Vincent de Paul Society is something that Niagara University takes great pride in and it correlates directly with our mission as a Catholic and Vincentian institution," Levesque said. "NU was involved in getting the store back up and running when it was on the brink of closure several years ago, and we are committed to seeing through the sustainability of this valuable community resource."
The store, open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, is named in honor of St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century Catholic priest who inspired and organized his contemporaries to serve the poor and oppressed.