AIC – International Association of Charities – is a network of 100,000 local volunteers, mainly women, who work in their local communities to combat poverty in 55 countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the United States.
The AIC was founded as the Ladies of Charity over 400 years ago by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. St. Vincent was the pastor at a small church in France. He learned that a parish family had fallen ill and was in great need. Members of the church went to the family with food and other necessities. St. Vincent was pleased with the generosity but wanted a way to make serving the poor an organized and permanent activity.
St. Vincent met with some women of the parish and asked for their help. They drew up some rules which were approved by the local Archbishop. This resulted in the formation of the first Ladies of Charity association. He enlisted St. Louise De Marillac to help form and sustain other Ladies of Charity associations in France.
The first association of the Ladies of Charity in the United States was established in 1857. Our local association in North Beach was established over 50 years ago in 1968 as St. Anthony’s Ladies of Charity. Initially the primary ministry was a thrift store. A dozen years later the current primary ministry, a Food Pantry, was established. At first, the Food Pantry served a few clients on demand from the Church Hall. About 20 years ago, the Food Pantry moved to a permanent operation in a house donated to the Parish. In 2019, the Ladies of Charity Calvert County incorporated in the State of Maryland, and received IRS approval to become an independent charitable organization..