SSVP Supplementary Needs Action Programme and EduFriends: Part 1World Day Of The Poor

This year, Pope Francis’ key message for World Day of the Poor 2023 is from the Book of Tobit and asks us not to “turn our face away from anyone who is poor, but to keep it always focused on the human and divine face of Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The Pope further asks us to take to heart the words of Pope Saint John XXIII: “Every human being enjoys the right to life, to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, including food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services.”

This aligns with the social mission of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, where we strive to alleviate the hardships of the poor and to empower them to live a dignified life. To commemorate this year’s World Day of the Poor, the Society and our affiliate SSVP Ltd. Have introduced two new programmes: Supplementary Needs Action Programme and EduFriends.

Since the establishment of the Milk & Diaper Programme in 2015, which caters to newborns and babies up to three years old from low-income families, we have received more requests for these essential items for other age groups and those with special needs. The demand for these items from our Friends in Need (FINs) is also rising as we grapple with a greying population.

Addressing the growing and changing needs of financially-distressed families, we started a pilot for SNAP in June 2023 for our FINs. In five months, we onboarded seven FINs with special needs between the ages of four and 77 years old. Each of the FINs face unique medical conditions including enteral feeding, complex medical conditions requiring special formula for nutrition to replace or supplement their diet. Some also require additional personal hygiene items such as diapers and disposable bedliners.

This month, we will also start distributing to our elderly FINs, focusing on the SSVP Conferences in the city. Depending on the needs, it may include nutritional milk formula, adult diapers and bedliners.

During the introductory phase, the Society will prioritise assistance to emergency/urgent cases from external agencies and partners, and existing SSVP FINs. Applicants will undergo an evaluation process and those eligible will receive the essential items monthly, in addition to the befriending and support provided by our Vincentians. In 2024, SNAP will start to accept referrals from external social service and government agencies. For more information about SNAP, email us at


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