40 Items – 40 Days Lenten Challenge

We LOVE this idea! It’s the 40 Days, 40 Items Challenge. Here’s the deal:  Instead of giving up something for Lent – the 40 days and 40 items challenge is a way of giving back. Each day of Lent, remove one item from your home, which you don’t use or wear anymore, and place it in a bag.  It can be clothing items, shoes, boots, accessories, household items, small kitchen appliances, kitchen utensils, cups/plates/bowls, blankets, sheets, electronics, furniture, toys, and more!
Our Thrift Stores are NOT able to accept Mattresses, Organs, and Pianos. 

At the end of Lent, donate these items to SVdP Libertyville or Orland Park Thrift Stores.
Click here for store hours and contact information. 
Did you fill more than 1 bag? We have all heard if something doesn’t bring you Joy or get used after 1 year of owning it to donate.  Now is your chance to organize, declutter, and give back to help others.
Your donations will be shared with our Friends in Need!
Are you up for the Challenge?  Start Today!

Leyden Township Town Hall Clothing Donations a Success! Thank You!

We asked for your help to help those displaced and needing clothing after a motel fire in Melrose Park.  Your response blew us away! We are incredibly grateful to everyone who came out in cold, snowy conditions to donate.  

On hand was Melissa, with Leyden Township, Jim P. – SVdP Chicago Disaster Coordinator, Dennis – our SVdP Driver, and Harry O. (not pictured because he was taking all the photos!) –  SVdP President

Dennis, Jim, and Melissa On-Site to Accept Donations

     

All donations were processed and sorted by our Libertyville Thrift Store Staff and Volunteers and made ready for distribution to the 47 adults and 2 children in need.

Your donations are very much appreciated, thank you for answering the call and helping our neighbors in need!

Critical Call for Clothing Donations – Sat. 2/13 10AM-3PM at Leyden Township Town Hall

We are reaching out with a critical call for Clothing Donations Only this Saturday.  SVdP Chicago Disaster Services is involved with assisting 46 adults and 2 children who have been displaced due to a fire earlier this week.

Our SVdP Chicago truck will be answering the call for need this Saturday, February 13th.
It will be located at the Leyden Township Town Hall Parking Lot
2501 N Mannheim Rd. Franklin Park, IL, 60131
from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm to accept clothing donations only.

Your donations are very much appreciated, thank you for helping our neighbors in need!

 

New SVdP National Website is Live and Ready to Use!

The New SVdP National Website is now LIVE!

Click here to visit www.svdpusa.org now!

We hope you enjoy the improvements that were made and SVdP National would love to hear your feedback!  They would appreciate if you would fill out a brief survey after you cruise through the new site. To complete the survey, click here.

The Member’s Site is will be updated in the near the future, according to SVdP National. We will share with you when those updates are complete!

Updated 2/2/21 – Spiritual Growth and Formation Opportunities 2021

Dear Vincentian,

We are sharing information on upcoming Formation and Spirituality opportunities that are being made available by the SVdP National Council along with some other valuable information today. All events are being presented virtually. An upcoming opportunity that we will receive more details about later this week is the Spiritual Advisor Formation & Training offered by the National Council on February 23rd-25th. Delivered in person, it usually runs from 9am-3pm, the Council is splitting it up over the three evenings virtually, led by Tim Williams and by James Davis, Spiritual Advisor for the South Central Region, and a member of the Formation Committee.

The Training will be covering Vincentian Formation, Roles and Responsibilities, Tool and Reflections, and Discernment and Consensus. Watch for more details in the weekly National E-Gazette, on our Facebook page, and website! Not signed up to receive the weekly E-Newsletter from National? Click here to email jwitzel@svdpusa.org

Formation & Training for Spiritual Advisors
Offered by The Society of St. Vincent de Paul National Council
February 23 – 25, 2021
7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. CT

For new Spiritual Advisors, those thinking of becoming a Spiritual Advisor, or those who just want a better understanding of what a Spiritual Advisor does, join us for this three-part session

In this three-part virtual Formation and Training, you will learn about Formation, the role of the Spiritual Advisor, tools, resources, and reflections you can use, and Vincentian Discernment and Consensus.

This is designed for all Spiritual Advisors and Associate Spiritual Advisors and recommended for Conference and Council Presidents. Any members interested in becoming Spiritual Advisors are also welcome to attend.

Click here for more information and to Register

 

2021 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering
“Make justice your aim”: Rebuilding Together
February 6-9, 2021, Virtual Gathering

The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG) brings together people from around the country working to combat hunger, poverty, and injustice at home and around the world. SVdP National is among 18 national Catholic organizations that are part of this gathering. This year, we will pray, learn, and advocate together on the disparities revealed by COVID-19 and re-imagine new models of justice and solidarity.

The people we serve, while increasing in number over the past year as Covid19 has ravaged all corners of the world, are ever more vulnerable than at any time in recent history. The magnitude of the problems they face is beyond what we can tackle on our own. We all know that for most the trigger to seek assistance is always at the last minute when the dreaded eviction notice or utility cut-off notice has been received. Like any other disaster, it is up to us to prepare for the inevitable. The moratoriums are not solutions we can take comfort in as they merely extend that stillness before the storm.

In his latest encyclical – Fratelli Tutti the Holy Father beckons us to look deeper into the parable of the “Good Samaritan”. The poor have been beaten up and now on the side of the road left for dead. We see their needs. After doing what we can (providing food), we must seek the assistance of the “inn keeper” in the form of our legislature to help us create a more equitable world. No other organization has a more intimate knowledge of the plight of the poor as Vincentians do. Please consider joining other Catholics by participating in this year’s Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG). Please click the link below for registration details:

USCCB – Catholic Social Ministry Gathering – CSMG 2021

Check out special opportunities and events for young leaders in Catholic social ministry and learn more about the Diversity Outreach Initiative as well.

This year the fee is greatly reduced – a mere $50 for the whole workshop per person. For those that are interested in learning further, there is the day for visits to Capitol Hill – again these will be done virtually and are done by state. We have an Illinois State Captain – Cheryl Sommer (CRS), so for those that will sign up she will reach out to you and give you details.

 

The Demands of Encounter Today
Spring 2021 Lecture Series

Join the Loyola Institute for Ministry for its virtual lecture series entitled The Demands of Encounter Today. The three lectures (Feb 8, Mar 15, Apr 12 – 7:00-7:30 pm Central) explore the demands on us of Pope Francis’s call to create a culture of encounter. This series is intended to draw out theology’s public implications and so inspire people to work for the transformation of our Church and world with special attention to racial justice. All lectures take place at 7:00 pm Central Time and are free and open to the public.

The first lecture takes place Monday February 8 at 7PM Central time. Click here for more information and to register.

 

Poverty Awareness Training
If your Conference is making plans for 2021, why not include a refresher on poverty awareness?

Dr. Donna Beegle, a nationally-recognized expert on understanding, fighting, and overcoming poverty, produced If Not Me, Then Who? Empowering Our Neighbors especially for Vincentians. In this 7-video series, Dr. Beegle busts poverty myths, shares a deeper understanding of the lived reality faced by poor and vulnerable families and gives us the tools and resources we need to accompany them to stability.

You can access Dr. Beegle’s entire curriculum at the National SVdP Systemic Change website by clicking here.

Support Catholic Education – Academy of St. Benedict the African Donation Opportunity

Academy of St. Benedict the African Donation Program
6020 S. Laflin Ave Chicago, IL 60636
Patricia Murphy, Principal: pmurphy@academystbenedict.org
Jennifer Farrand, Assistant Principal: jfarrand@academystbenedict.org

 

Our Goal is to share ways that individuals can support students/families of the Academy of St. Benedict the African.

Why support St. Benedict the African school and students/families?

  • School is located in the West Englewood Neighborhood of Chicago
  • Average income of families is <$25,000 (tuition is over 18% of gross income)
  • Many single mom/dads and grandparents as primary caregivers
  • 100% of students qualify for Federal Free Lunch Program (used as a tool to measure need based aid programs)
  • There is no Parish or School Board to help support families in need that wish to have their students attend.
  • SBTA works with the CPD to establish and maintain a positive relationship with the school community and law enforcement to keep students as safe as possible and help build the community.
  • Education is documented to be the primary tool for students to break the cycle of poverty.

Impact of COVID-19 on St. Benedict the African school

  • Enrollment is down by 30 seats as of October 2020
  • Early Childhood Program was suspended for the 2020-21 school year
    • Loss of funding due to program not happening
    • Loss of students/seats
  • Currently only Special Class is Art
    • E. Class is limited due to COVID-19
  • Resources are stretched thin
    • Each student must have individual supplies and tech equipment. No sharing due to COVID-19 procedures

Impact of COVID-19 on Families

  • Many families are impacted by job loss/unemployment due to the pandemic
  • Less financial resources available to families to afford tuition and fees to attend

How can you support St. Benedict the African school and families?

Sponsor-a-Student

  • Help pay tuition payments of $250 each month
  • Help pay After Care Program fees of $150 each month
  • Help provide financial assistance towards technology, book, and other fees charged at beginning of school year or when student enrolls.

School Wishlist

Please visit the school website at https://www.academystbenedict.org/  to learn more about The Academy of St. Benedict the African. 

Vehicle Donation Program – Donate Your Vehicle and Help Support Your Neighbors in Need

Donate Your Vehicle and Make a Difference in Someone’s Life!

The National Vehicle Donation Program is coordinated by The National Council of The Society of St. Vincent de Paul® (SVDP USA), a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul offers tangible assistance to those in need on a person-to-person basis. Your vehicle donation will help fund St. Vincent de Paul Society’s programs in your local Chicagoland communities. Your generosity is greatly appreciated! Donate a car to The National Council of The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul USA and help those in need. Each vehicle donation helps SVDP USA Feed, Clothe, House, and Heal those in need. Make a difference today!

We accept all types of vehicles:

we accept all types of vehicles: cars,trucks, motorcycles, trailers, boats and more.

Making a car donation is EASY!

It’s as easy as picking up the phone and speaking to a live operator. If you have any questions just call one of SVdP National’s friendly operators toll-free at 800-322-8284 seven days a week.  You can also click here to start your donation online.

How it Works

  1. Call us at 800-322-8284 or contact Elvia Rojas at the SVdP Chicago Central Office at 773-779-6700 Extension 107
  2. We will tow your vehicle at no cost to you.
  3. 3. Get a tax-deductible receipt and help our cause.

Visit The Official National Vehicle Donation Program for St. Vincent de Paul Official Site for more information.

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!

A Christmas Message from SVdP Chicago’s Volunteer President/CEO

Harry’s Christmas Wish List

It’s Christmas Eve we await the birth of our savior. The greatest gift God gave us. There is really nothing else that matters today. The gifts, the decorations, and hustle and bustle. These things are all symbolic of preparing for the birth of our Lord. But the true meaning of Christmas resides in our hearts and is about the love we extend to one another through our acts of kindness, just as our Savior taught us.

This morning I reflect on the year. So much has happened to our world. The media reminds us all day long of the doom and gloom. There are snippets of good however overshadowed by the sadness and misery. I pray for those that are ill. I pray for those that have left our world and the grieving families left behind. I pray for those without jobs seeking assistance for food. I thank God for the opportunity to follow in the actions of his son, reaching out to those in need. Bring witness to neighbors helping neighbors and coming together for the sake of the needs of someone else.
Yes, our world may have been turned around and upside down during 2020, but we must look at the good that was performed, sacrifices of our front-line heroes, and efforts beyond from strangers expressing concern to those in need. The greatest gift we bring forth to 2021 is the kindness and compassion of mankind.

Faith has prevailed! Allowing us to shine our light and carry forward with love in our hearts. Enriching the lives of those around us with small gestures and true extension of sharing the love in our hearts. Through masked faces we turn our attention to looking in the eyes of those we encounter; for in our eyes, we see the love of God. My wish this Christmas is for the world to embrace the gift of faith and love to one another:

My wish list this Christmas for our world is that:

  • The Covid-19 vaccines are effective, and the crisis ends. Bringing health to all.
  • Life gets back to a normalcy enriched with all we have learned.
  • Those in need of jobs find a path to provide for their families and hunger will end.
  • That the homeless will find shelter and warmth and peace in their hearts.
  • That God continues to bring forth those in need so we may embrace them and assist them on a path void of poverty
  • May all of you feel Gods love in your heart and that your faith will bring peace and kindness within.
  • May your light continue to shine, faith remain deep within your heart, and the love of God remain within.

Merry Christmas everyone! Let us rejoice in the birth of our savior!

God Bless,
Harry Ohde
Volunteer President/CEO
Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago

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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