In the 1950s SVDP was formed and operated from churches helping people through small individual donations until through the inspiration of Rev. John Sedlak the first store opened.
In 1991 SVDP rented and opened its first store and center to aid the poor providing basics of food and clothing.
In 2000 there was 1 paid staff and 78 volunteers. Currently, there are 458 volunteers, one full-time and 19 part-time paid staff, i.e. managers, janitors, material handlers, bookkeepers.
In 2002, it built a store paid for completely by donations. Eventually, its urgent services increased to include utility assistance, emergency shelter at motels, assisting Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing with Hear Fayette program, and working closely with Catholic churches and through a partnership with Rendu Services.
In 2005, the volunteers raised more funds, purchasing a building as a furniture store and on-the-job training site in Republic. In both stores, the poor have increasingly volunteered in the operations. Currently, the Republic site is used as a warehouse.
Shortly, before the 08 Recession, SVDP, as part of social enterprise planning, developed a co-op to help those in need market their art. The venture struggled and was disbanded, but it enabled 94 people to generate income and, for some, ongoing careers. SVDP gathered input from the poor before starting the venture and heard but did not value the input. Between the Recession, ignoring input from the poor and not adjusting its business model, SVDP learned a valuable lesson.
In 2014, SVDP obtained the building adjacent to the Thrift Retail Store. Currently, from there the Furniture Store and Seasonal Shoppe operate. With the acquisition of this building, instead of isolated stores, SVDP became a campus of assistance to the community.
In 2016, Tom and Nan Reilly very generously donated a four-unit apartment building a couple blocks from the SVDP campus called The Reilly.
All of the ventures are to assist the poor and change their long-term condition, but they also created positive change to the SVDP organization.