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Good Afternoon

Letter: Charity paid back many times over

St. Vincent de Paul volunteers Ken Hall, Pat

St. Vincent de Paul volunteers Ken Hall, Pat Ryan, and Marie Wagner, from left, organize nonperishable foods in the food pantry at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Levittown Thursday. (Jan. 2, 2014) Credit: Barry Sloan

As we were closing the pantry door at the St. Bernard Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society on the Saturday before Christmas, "Valerie" came to the door and asked if she could make a donation ["Stressed-out safety net," News, Jan. 6].

It seems she had received help from our organization about nine years ago. She said, "I don't have much, but please accept this, because if it weren't for St. Vincent de Paul back in those days, I wouldn't have been able to manage my life or care for my son properly." She gave us $200 and a bag of new toys.

Then on Jan. 4, a young man came to the door of our pantry. He said he also wanted to make a donation. "Mike" is 19 and a seaman in the Navy. He said he was leaving the next day for San Diego to begin three months of combat training, after which he would be assigned to a Marine combat unit in Hawaii as a medical corpsman.

He told us that when he was 10, St. Vincent de Paul was such a help to him and his mother that he wanted to do something in return. In case you haven't figured it out yet, Mike is Valerie's son.

He reached into his pocket and nervously pulled out a very large wad of bills. He said, "Here's $1,000 for being such an important part of our lives. Can I give you a hug?"

Patricia Rosalia, Levittown

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the St. Bernard Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.