The Society of St. Vincent de Paul offers tangible assistance to those in need on a person-to-person basis. The charitable group s primary funding is derived from its thrift and secondhand stores, located throughout the United States and worldwide. It is the personalized involvement that makes the work of the society unique. This aid may take the form of intervention, consultation, or often through direct dollar or in-kind service. An essential precept of the group's work is to provide help while conscientiously maintaining the confidentiality and dignity of those who are served. St. Vincent de Paul recognizes that it must also assume a role of advocacy for those who are defenseless or voiceless. More than 12 million persons are helped annually by Vincentians in the United States. Fr d ric Ozanam, from Lyon, France, founded the society in 1833 as a religious and charitable organization. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was established in St. Louis at the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, popularly called 'The Old Cathedral,' in 1845.