Donation Drive Success at IJP!

Our IJP Conference in Flossmoor hosted a hugely successful Donation Drive this past Saturday! Not only did they fill the trailer from top to bottom, volunteers also delivered 4 cars full of donations directly to our St. Vincent de Paul Orland Park Thrift Store! We are grateful to the community, who turned out with full hearts and full cars on the gorgeous spring day. Thank you to those involved, Jim Dudley (foreground) and (left to right) at the trailer – Bernie Wiscons- Hoffman, Karen Krystofik, Shannon Wallace, Mike Lamb, Denise Mandichak, Brenda Wallace, and Leslie Dudley. Not pictured, but contributing Alex Wallace. Looking to schedule a Donation Drive at your parish or community location? Visit our website for the updated 2021 Donation Drive Schedule and to contact us: https://stvincentdepaulchicago.org/…/donation-drive…/

Good News from the St. Turibius Conference

Located in District IX in the West Elsdon neighborhood of Chicago, the small, but mighty St. Turibius Conference has been operating their food pantry throughout the pandemic, like so many of our Chicagoland Vincentians. Every second Monday of the month at 6:00 pm and every fourth Saturday of the month at 9:00 am, the pantry is open for the community with contact-free distribution taking place in the Church parking lot due to COVID-19 safety protocols. The pantry has seen a marked increase in demand this past year, including families from the Religious Ed program and new families learning of the pantry via word of mouth. For anyone who needs food items outside the scheduled dates, the conference is sure to share contact information in the bulletin and with the parish office so that all who need may be served.  
SVdP Chicago Council is donating 75 hams to be given out at the Easter food distribution on Monday, March 29th at 6:00 pm. In addition to the hams and sides, the families will also receive gift certificates from Pete’s Market and also Easter treats for the children. Breakfast items will also be given to all of the families who come to the distribution. St. Turibius has also been able to help provide for furry family members during this increased time of need.  Obi’s Pet Pantry, a registered 501c3 nonprofit, has been coming to all of the food distributions to give pet food and other items to the families. The focus is to help keep pets in the home of the families that love them. Sr. Mary Beth B. shares that “being Franciscans we are happy that even the furry family members are able to receive help. Obi’s Pet Pantry has been a real blessing to us and to those we serve.”
SVdP Chicago Council is very appreciative to all the members of the Conference led by Sr. Mary Beth B., and especially to Irma C., Christine G., Edgar Q., and the church Youth Group for all of their help with the food pantry and major food distributions!

Community Connections – Good News from Divine Providence Conference

Guardian Corps of America considers the good people who donate to the GCA mission extraordinary and very special. Approximately two (2) years ago Anthony E. La Piana, founder, and president of GCA was invited to speak before The St. Vincent de Paul Society at Divine Providence Church. The presentation was about the suffering and plight of our homeless veterans in the greater Chicagoland area. Shortly after GCA (La Piana) received communication from Jackie Wasielak, president of The St. Vincent de Paul Society at Divine Providence Church offering support for the GCA mission by donating hygiene products, clothing, non-perishable food, and other essential supplies.
Not long after GCA picked up the supplies at The St. Vincent de Paul Society at Divine Providence Church. La Piana said: “I will never forget that first day we picked up supplies from Jackie and her group. It was an incredible sight to see the abundance of brand-new products carefully organized. There was a lot of everything, including hygiene products, socks, caps, gloves, bottled water, and non-perishable food, which is what we requested. Ever since that day, Jackie makes it her business to contact GCA asking if the mission is in need of more supplies. She does all the organizing and instructs her group of donors on what is exactly needed. It is amazing how fast the supplies are ready for pick up after our request is made. All the people from The St. Vincent de Paul Society at Divine Providence Church are so wonderful to work with and truly compassionate and caring toward our homeless veterans.”
Guardian Corps of America would like to say Thank you to those who shopped and delivered the supplies to GCA. They are; Jackie W., president of The St. Vincent de Paul Society at Divine Providence Church, and Denise S.i, Hillary D., Jo Ann O., Susan M., and Dennis W. Jackie said: “The St. Vincent de Paul Society at Divine Providence Church mission is to help those in need, and the homeless veterans are those individuals we are proud to serve and supply them with the basic needs you ask us for. One of St. Vincent de Paul’s famous quotes: “Go to the poor: you will find God”
Learn more about Guardian Corps of America here

Good News from the Prince of Peace Conference

Prince of Peace Vincentians in Lake Villa gave out holiday meal boxes for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time in 2020. Previously Prince of Peace held monthly dinners for those in need in the community but since the pandemic, those meals have sadly been canceled. The meal boxes provided a wonderful, safe alternative for our friends in need to enjoy at the holidays.

The conference distributed 67 ham dinners for Christmas. Several of the meals were provided to youth and their families who are part of the Youth Conservation Corps program in Waukegan, whose mission is to empower young adults to succeed through education and training. Pictured are some of the youth from the program, the smiley faces are in place to respect the privacy of the young people… and they’re fun! The conference was also able to provide extra hams to local food pantries in Lake County.

Thank you to all who helped organize and carry out these events! Your work is making a difference! Thank you for sharing your good news with the Council!

St. Christopher Conference Annual Giveaway Spreads the Joy of Christmas

Volunteers distributed toys and presents, fresh groceries, gift cards, and Hope this Christmas Season to 128 Families.

The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry operated by the St. Christopher Conference hosted their Annual Christmas Giveaway event this year for families and individuals and were able to help many have a holiday meal and celebrate. The food pantry generously provided a $20 food voucher for fresh meat and a box of side fixings for the meal including potatoes, stuffing, canned vegetables, jello, cornbread, cookies, milk and candy. This year the Greater Chicago Food Depository delivery arrived the day before volunteers packaged the items for distributions, so they were also able to give fresh cantaloupes, mangos, and eggs.

Each week, Monday – Thursday from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, the food pantry at St. Christopher, located at 4130 147th Street in Midlothian, is open to serve those in need. While the normal service area is Crestwood, Midlothian and Posen, they are now serving families from many Southside locations as a result of increased demand and support from the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Catholic Charities. The community also lends its support to the pantry with students at Bremen High School and Dylan Gluszek from Midlothian, IL, operating food drives during the month of December that help to stock the shelves for many months.

Gifts were given out to children under age 10 and were donated from a toy collection run by the Midlothian Community Policing Committee (from Midlothian, IL). Donations were received from the Midlothian Police Officers Association and donation boxes were available at local businesses for donations. This year, due to COVID-19 precautions, in lieu of “Giving Tree tags” for parishioners of St. Christopher Parish to purchase requested items, donors were asked to donate gift cards. This enabled a contact free way to keep the spirit of giving alive. The collection yielded over 250 gift cards in denominations from $10 to $30 for Dollar Tree, Five Below, Target, Visa and Walmart. All families with children over 10 years old were given gift cards as well as families without children to share in the bounty received by the Conference.

Thank you to our St. Christopher Vincentians for all your efforts to spread the joy of Christmas in your community! Through your hands, Hope grows in the hearts of our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

This winter, the call for the Society and our volunteer members to help local neighbors in need is immense. Due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are responding to a significant rise among those we serve for food, clothing, and housing assistance. If you would like to make a donation to help us, help others please visit our secure, online giving page https://stvincentdepaulchicago.networkforgood.com/projects/119193-annual-holiday-appeal-2020.  Your support is truly appreciated!

Our Lady of the Woods (District X) Twins District IX for St. Gall Mobile Event

Volunteers help to make the season brighter for those in need on the Southside of Chicago.

St. Vincent de Paul members from the Our Lady of the Woods Conference in District X “twinned” District IX for their contact-free December Mobile Pantry Event at St. Gall Parish on 12/16/2020. Twinning is a concept in the Society where one Conference (volunteers organized at the Parish level) connects resources with another Conference to better serve those in need within a community.

Every Wednesday from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon the food pantry at St. Gall serves about 250 – 300 needy families from the community with groceries which range from milk, poultry, vegetables, fruit, and non-perishables. For the event on December 16th Vincentians from District IX led an effort to distribute food and essentials, along with toys and holiday cheer items. OLOW Vincentians baked and wrapped Christmas cookies, collected winter hats and gloves, and new toys to share. Paul Dederichs, from Our Lady of the Woods shares “It is inspiring to hear about the energetic commitment of District IX members towards the food pantry at St. Gall Parish throughout the year. It was a privilege to be able to contribute and work beside them during this Christmas event!”

Over 500 vehicles came through the St. Gall parking lot on the chilly, grey December morning. Over 500 families were served with food, toys, and love. Thank you to our volunteers for being the light shining through the darkness and sharing the joy of Christmas. Through your hands, Hope grows in the hearts of our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

This holiday season, the call for the Society and our volunteer members to help local neighbors in need is immense. Due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are responding to a significant rise among those we serve for food, clothing, and housing assistance. If you would like to make a donation to help us, help others please click here for Secure, Online Giving.

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The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Partners with Catholic Charities to Host Mobile Food Pantry at Our Lady of the Ridge

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, in coordination with Catholic Charities and our local Parish Conferences, hosted Mobile Food Pantry Events across the Chicagoland area this week. Here on the Southside, volunteers distributed more than 480 boxes of produce containing fresh fruits and vegetables at St. Gall, located in the Gage Park neighborhood, and at Our Lady of the Ridge, in Chicago Ridge.  Jack Santori, OLOR Conference President, knew that there was a significant amount of food insecurity and need in our communities and with Tom Moritz, District President for OLOR, worked to secure the contact-free,  pop up event that took place on September 17, 2020.  The line of cars that snaked around the parking lot, some arriving over 30 minutes before food distribution was scheduled to begin, was a testament to Jack and Tom’s insight. By 2:00 pm, with an hour left of scheduled time to go, nearly all of the 120 boxes had been packed into cars and sent on their way.

“The mobile pantry went better than I could have hoped,” Mr. Santori was quoted during the event, “we weren’t sure that we would get a turnout, though we know people are suffering from hard times in the Southside currently.  We feel that not enough neighbors are aware that we run a St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry here at Our Lady of the Ridge and were just hoping that by spreading the word at Church and via social media, we’d reach those that need us the most.”

Patti Metsler, who heads the food pantry at Our Lady of the Ridge that takes place on the second Saturday of each month, loved the selection of fresh produce the boxes offered.  “Just because a person is food insecure, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to have quality, nutritious items available to them.” She shared, “We work hard each month to vary our selection because we know these items make up meals that sustain families and individuals.”

A big thank you goes out to Catholic Charities,  the Our Lady of the Ridge Catholic Church St. Vincent de Paul Conference volunteers and Fr. Wayne Svida, pastor of Our Lady of the Ridge.  Your work is so important to your local neighbors and communities!

Partnering with the Northern Illinois Food Bank at Prince of Peace

On Saturday, October 5, SVdP Prince of Peace Conference held a Mobile Food Pantry serving neighbors in need in Lake County. The sun was shining and the SVdP conference members along with other parish volunteers from the Knights of Columbus, the Boy Scouts and our Confirmation Class partnered together to provide food to over 90 families including 276 individuals with 53 of them children.

Over the last three years, the Prince of Peace Conference with the support of the St. Bede’s conference has partnered with the Northern Illinois Food Bank to hold Mobile Pantries three times a year in the church parking lot.

Neighbors in need start lining up as early as 7:30 am to make sure they have an early spot in line. At around 8:30 am, the food truck arrives with 10,000 lbs. of food including meat, fresh produce, dairy products and various canned and boxed items. It is a surprise each time to see what arrives on the truck but there is always plenty of food to support those in need. When it is a client friend’s “turn”, they enter the shopping line where they are accompanied by a “helper” from the Confirmation Classes who pushes a cart to carry all the shopping bags and boxes. Once shopping is complete, volunteers help load the food into the car for our client friends.

It is truly a parish collaborative event which has helped provide service opportunities for our youth and also raised awareness of the need right in our community, all while helping those in need.