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.