St. Vincentde Paul head to speak at Kiwanis Prayer Breakfast

Staff reports

Michael J. Acaldo,  President and CEO of St. Vincent de Paul in Baton Rouge, will be the guest speaker for the annual Kiwanis Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday, Nov. 16.

The popular event will again be held the week before Thanksgiving at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Price Street in Plaquemine.

It will be catered by Danny's Cajun Catering, and, again this year the event will feature announcing the Kiwanis Citizen of the Year Award winner. Music will be provided by the St. John the Evangelist Church Choir. Breakfast will be served at 7 a.m., with the program starting at 7:30 a.m. The event is open to the public.

Acaldo is in his 21st year as president of St. Vincent de Paul.  He is a native of Baton Rouge and graduated from Catholic High School in 1985.  He received both his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management (1989) and MBA (1997) from Louisiana State University. 

Michael began his career with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in 1990.  He has witnessed the Society’s growth from an annual budget of approximately $200,000 to more than $8 million today.  As the Society’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael has been blessed with the opportunity to see the Society establish many community firsts.  Some examples of these community firsts are: 

§       In 1991, the Society opened the first Bishop Ott Shelter for Homeless Men.  This was the first completely free emergency shelter for men in the capital city.

§       In 1995, the Society opened the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy.  This was the first St. Vincent de Paul charitable pharmacy in the nation.  In the first year, more than $75,000 worth of prescriptions were dispensed to the needy; in 2009, over $2 million.

§       In 1997, the Society opened the Bishop Ott Day Center, a comprehensive center offering a variety of services to the homeless.  This program serves over 1,700 homeless men, women and children annually.

§       In October of 2000, the Society opened their second thrift store/distribution center.  Since then, St. Vincent de Paul has opened six more stores and now has a total of eight in our community. 

§       In 2001, the Society opened the Bishop Ott Sweet Dreams Shelter for Women and Children.

§       In 2003, the Society built a state-of-the-art dining room to meet the growing need in our community.

§       In 2004, the Society built a new community pharmacy. 

§       In 2005, St. Vincent de Paul responded quickly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, providing assistance to more than 70,000 evacuees.  In addition, St. Vincent de Paul established a disaster case management program in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport.  The Baton Rouge Council of St. Vincent de Paul was the first and only group in the Society’s history to undertake this type of program in three separate cities. 

§       In 2008, in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav, St. Vincent de Paul responded by providing food, water, clothing, medicine, toiletry items and basic essentials to those in need. 

§       In 2010, St. Vincent de Paul opened a $250,000 expansion of the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy to position it for continued success in providing this critical service. 

Michael was selected as one of the top “40 under 40” business leaders in the community by the Baton Rouge Business Report (1995).

In 2002, Michael was honored by Pope John Paul II with the Benemerenti Medal, meaning “to the well-deserving,” for his work with the Society.

Michael was also chosen by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation as a 2002 John W. Barton, Sr. Fellow.  This honor recognizes excellence in community non-profit leadership.

Tickets for the Kiwanis Breakfast for adults are $7.00 and for students $2.00.  They can be purchased at the door or in advance at the following locations: Bank of Commerce in White Castle, Citizens Bank, First Financial, Iberville Bank in St. Gabriel, the Iberville Chamber of Commerce, Plaquemine Bank, and Charlie Edwards State Farm Insurance on Belleview Road.