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Mary Abkemeier - Get Involved


 Criminal Justice Ministry (CJM) – The Criminal Justice Ministry of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louis Council, has the distinct and important mission of serving prisoners, victims, their families, ex-offenders, and others involved in the criminal justice system. The ministry was founded in 1979. http://cjmstlouis.wordpress.com/


What you can do to get involved: 

  • be a pen pal to an inmate
  • lead a prayer service in jail
  • tutor reading or math for GED or teach a class
  • join the Connectors at a monthly meal with housing clients
  • collect  household items for the housing programs
  • offer to pick up donated furniture
  • help a client move into his apartment
  • give a 1/2 day or full day weekly to do clerical work in the office
  • make backpacks for direct service to give to recently released folks

If you would like to help, contact:

S. Rose Rita, Coordinator of Volunteer Services, Criminal Justice Ministry, 314-881-6019 roseh@svdpstl.org


St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVDP)The Society of St. Vincent de Paul leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering. The Society’s members embrace all works of charity and justice.  It collaborates with other people of good will in relieving need and addressing its causes, making no distinction in those served because, in them. http://www.svdpstlouis.org/


What you can do to get involved:

  • Help at the Thrift Stores.   Help is needed Monday through Saturday during all hours of operation. 
  • Help poor seniors with home repairs through the Good Works program.  The contact is Tim  Dunn, 314-881-6015 or TimD@svdpstl.org 
  • Serve as a porter and assist in moving cars around St. Louis as part of the Vinnie’s Autos program, a car donation and transfer program. If you have office experience, you could help by performing data entry, copying, filing, and telephoning marketing contacts. If you want to help us help some poor folks receive basic transportation, please telephone Greg Marino, Vinnie’s Autos Coordinator, at 314-881-6027. 
  • Volunteers are alsoeded in our Council office. If you are willing to volunteer please contact Molly Kertz at 314-881-6032 at mollyk@svdpstl.org. 


Center for Women in Transition (CWIT) - The Center for Women in Transition provides tools, support and resources to help recently incarcerated women make positive choices, achieve meaningful goals and be accountable for past actions. Utilizing restorative justice practices, the Center assures that its clients have safe housing, find meaningful employment, work towards sobriety and lead stable, crime-free lives. http://www.cwitstl.org/


What you can do to get involved:

  • Become a Mentor!
    For over 10 years Center for Women in Transition has been assisting women who have been incarcerated to successfully transition from the criminal justice system back into the community.
  • Share your talents and passion!
    Teach a class or give a presentation in an area of your interest. Do you love to cook, or garden.
  • Donation Crew- On the fourth Saturday of every month volunteers assist the Center in sorting and organizing our in-kind donations. Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Bridging Home- Support the Center by helping share the mission! Invite 10 to 15 friends into your home for a light meal and a presentation by Center for Women in Transition staff. Help spread the word out about the mission. Time commitment: 1.5 hours
  • Special Event Volunteer-Help at two annual fundraisers in April and December with registration, set up, clean up and other tasks as needed. Time commitment: Varies
  • Lunch and Learn -Prepare lunch with women in the program and organize an afternoon of activities or workshops. Must be twenty-one years of age or older. Popular learning areas include gardening, computer skills, and arts & crafts. Time Commitment: 3-4 hours
  • Development Assistant
    Provide assistance to the Center’s development office, including help with special events, managing donor records, sending donor acknowledgments, and running reports.
    Time commitment: 2-4 hours, weekly
  • Garden Club Member
    Share knowledge and a passion for gardening with Center clients in the transitional housing program. Time commitment: 2-5 hours, weekly
  • Saturday Gathering Volunteer
    Summary: Attend monthly Saturday Gatherings and assist with child care of mentees’ children.
    Time commitment: 10:15am-12:15pm, 3rd Saturday of each month
  • Volunteer Office Assistant
    Summary: Provide administrative assistance to the Center’s main office, including help with mass mailings, correspondence, filing, and answering the telephones. Time commitment: 2-4 hours weekly
  • Please contact Erin Whitham at erin@cwitstl.org to volunteer.


St. Patrick Center  St. Patrick Center provides opportunities for self-sufficiency and dignity to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Individuals and families build permanent, positive change in their lives through safe and affordable housing, sound mental and physical health, and employment and financial stability. http://www.stpatrickcenter.org/

What you can do to get involved:


  • Administrative tasks: Volunteers needed Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm for various administrative duties. Shifts are completely flexible during our business hours.
  • Donation Sorting: Sort and distribute donated food and clothing on any weekday between 8 and 4. Great for chaperoned children!
  • GED Tutors: Proficiency needed in: pre-algebra and algebra, geometry, science and/or social studies.
  • Serving Lunch: Serve lunch to the public 364 days a year in our Shamrock Club. Volunteers are needed from 11:30 to 1 each day. All shifts must be pre-scheduled and fill fast.
  • Serving Dinner:  Volunteers are needed to plan, prepare and serve dinner each day. All shifts must be pre-scheduled.
  • BEGIN New Venture Center Front Desk Managers: Friendly volunteers are needed to staff the front desk of our small business incubator. Volunteers should commit to one weekly shift from either 9am-12:30pm or 12:30-4pm on a weekday.


  • Year-End Mailing –Assist with folding, stuffing and sealing the year-end mailing November 1-4 anytime between 8:30am-4:30pm.
  • Give Thanks Giveaway -Assist with sorting donations and distribution to clients on November 21 and 22.
  • Christmas Wishes Giveaway -  Assist with sorting donations and distribution to clients on December 9 and 15.
  • Painter -  Dedicate one day per week or one day every other week for 2-4 hours.
  • Clothing Room –1-2 volunteers to help with the clothing giveaway to clients/public on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 1-3pm.
  • If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities, please contact Kristen Bracken at 314-802-0681or kbracken@stpatrickcenter.org


Grace and Peace Shelter for Homeless WomenThe Grace and Peace Winter Shelter has been offering temporary, overnight shelter during the colder months to homeless women of St. Louis since 1986. November 2011 marks the beginning of the 25th winter offering shelter in the name of Jesus! http://graceandpeacefellowship.org/wintershelter

What you can do to get involved:

  • Prepare an evening meal
  • Spend the evening, 6 – 10 pm
  • Spend the night.  There is always one paid staff person who spends the night.
  • Help prepare and serve breakfast after Sunday services.
  • To volunteer contact Grace and Peace Fellowship: 314-367-8959 or office@graceandpeacefelowship.org.