Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Allen Lund Company's Nora Trueblood Talks Partnership With Navidad En El Barrio and SVdPLA

Laura Hillen
Monday, Nov. 28th, 2016   


LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE, CA - As 2016 draws to an end, the Allen Lund Company’s (ALC) has another noted engagement to add to its year of charity-minded acts. First kicked off in March with pledged acts going until the company's anniversary on January 29, 2017, ALC will add to its now surpassed 40 Acts of Kindness through its continued partnership with Navidad En El Barrio

As ALC Director of Marketing and Communication Nora Trueblood recently told me, the company is now in its 12th year of supporting the holiday-themed charity organization, and looking to contribute even further.

"Mr. and Mrs. Lund have always been community minded–they raised their children that way and have continued that spirit within the company," Nora says of the company’s involvement. "Navidad En El Barrio is a great fit for us, as we invite our grower/shipper customers and our carriers to participate with us."

Navidad En El Barrio was first established in 1972 by former NFL player David Villanueva to provide Christmas dinners to families in need all throughout Southern California. The team serves over 15,000 families and 75,000 people each year through the program.

ALC Director of Carrier Development Bill Bess (second from right) surrounded by carriers working towards Navidad En El Barrio donations in 2013

ALC will spearhead contributions through its own company by helping donated product arrive to a Southern California warehouse for Navidad En El Barrio. Nora says that ALC will be at the donation’s warehouse from December 5-10 to accept produce contributions. 

ALC will also be on site and providing employee volunteers at the Society of St. Vincent de Paulon December 17 to help assemble Christmas dinner food baskets, and hand out toys and coloring supplies to waiting families. There will also be a Toy Drive under way, with items being collected at ALC and delivered to St. Vincent de Paul. 

Distribution of goods through ALC and Navidad En El Barrio to families in need at St. Vincent de Paul in 2015

"What started in just assisting with the transportation of Christmas dinners to agencies throughout Southern California to the most under served families, has grown to include more and more of ALC grower/shippers, carriers, and our employee volunteers who want to participate," Nora tells me. "It is one of the most rewarding events ALC participates in each year." 

ALC is encouraging its growers in the Western U.S. to do a kind deed themselves by arranging product to contribute to the program that would enliven recipient’s baskets. Nora says that throughout the company’s length of participation, ALC has helped feed almost 1 million people.

Companies interested in participating with contributions to Navidad En El Barrio can contact Nora for more information and coordination for transported goods.

ALC has already performed 61 Acts of Kindnessthroughout the year, with more events and charity-minded occurrences planned over the holiday season. The Acts of Kindness pledge was sparked from ALC’s 40th year in business, and marks the company’s biggest community outreach program yet.

As ALC continues its charitable acts through the year’s end and beyond, stick with AndNowUKnow for all the latest updates.

Thank you #GivingTuesday Donors!!!

SVdPLA thanks our #GivingTuesday donors who believe in giving everyone a second chance to get back up and receive life’s most basic needs... a home and a meal this Christmas. Because of you, families in our community will receive the best gift of all...peace of mind this Holiday Season.  

On behalf of those whom you have blessed, thank you and Merry Christmas. 

Thrift Thursday

Thrift Store Thursday kicks off a day early! Today (11/30) and tomorrow (12/01) only, all clothing with a WHITE tag is just 99 cents. New color tags are revealed every Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

7.5 hours left of #GivingTWOsday!

It's not too late to KEEP A FAMILY IN THEIR HOME this Christmas! Make a donation and ask two family members to 
donate with you! to give the gift of peace for a family in need this Christmas. 

Happy #GivingTuesday!

Make a difference today for #GivingTuesday! Don't miss out on the chance to impact a family for Christmas by making a donation of $10 or more! Make your donation at

Monday, November 28, 2016

1 Day Left!

1 day till #GivingTuesday! We are raising $10,000 to house and feed 100 families. Last year SVdPLA helped over 300,000 neighbors in need. Learn how to donate:

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lendlease Foundation Feeds CMC

Michael Concannon and employees of Lendlease served a delicious Thanksgiving lunch to homeless men and women from Skid Row this week at the SVdPLA’s Cardinal Manning Center (CMC) in Los Angeles. Thank you Lendlease Foundation!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tzu Chi Foundation Serves CMC

The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation with Miss Asia Noble International Queen 2016 Linn Kalayar Oo joined Lendlease at St. Vincent de Paul’s Cardinal Manning Center (CMC) homeless program this week in a day of service for Thanksgiving. Lendlease served Thanksgiving lunch while Tzu Chi passed out blankets and socks to the homeless men and women of Skid Row. Thank you Tzu Chi!

Black Friday Sale!

We’re starting early for Black Friday at 8AM! Happy shopping!

Hal Bastian to SVdPLA LA Thrift Store

Thank you Hal Bastian for coming down to shoot our story for your web series What's Up, Downtown? Hal says our show will be on sometime in December 2016. Check out all of his videos at!


Yesterday SVdPLA and Sysco LA Corporation gave 325 families in need  a bountiful Thanksgiving feast. Sysco, the world’s largest food distributor, generously donated 325 turkeys for the giveaway event at St. Vincent de Paul of Los Angeles, and donors John and Tess Clair of Santa Monica and Shoe Palace made generous contributions to help complete the meal for each family. Maracas Catering donated 325 pies to round out the meal and friends and board members of SVDPLA made additional donations. 

 Holidays are a difficult time of year for many people, and we want to ensure that as many families as possible can share the Thanksgiving holiday and enjoy a day of good food, gratitude and joy,” said David Fields, Executive Director of SVdPLA.  “Thank you for the food, it’s such a blessing!” said a recipient named Maria. “We are so grateful for the food at Thanksgiving,” said another recipient, “Especially for those families in need.”  Families of all ages and races left laden with food and smiling faces.

Sacred Heart Makes Lunches for CMC

Sacred Heart High School students kindly made lunches for the homeless men residing at SVdPLA’s Cardinal Manning Center (CMC) Homeless program on Skid Row. Thank you Sacred Heart!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Make A Difference Day (All Month)

Make a difference and drop off a new, unwrapped toy in celebration of National Make a Difference Day. Help us this holiday collect toys for needy children and receive 20% off your purchase. Excludes mattresses and cars. LA Store only. Drop off the toy with security. #MDDAY

LA5 Gives SVdPLA $18,839 for Homeless

Photo (L to R): Njambi Kingori, SVdPLA Deputy Director of Social Services; Chris Sariego, SVdPLA Public Relations and Marketing Director; David Fields, SVdPLA Executive Director and Gina Doyle, SVdPLA Director of Development.

St. Vincent de Paul of Los Angeles received a check for $18,839 today from LA5 Rotary Club Foundation of downtown Los Angeles for SVdPLA to help the homeless of Skid Row off the streets and into housing. Thank you LA5! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Winter Shelter Program for 2016-2017

The Winter Shelter opens on 
December 1st and operates continuously until March 1st. | 626-333-7204

Vincentian Inspiration

"More is required of us than to go, to come, and to give;
our intentions should be pure and thoroughly devoid of self-interest."
- St. Louise de Marillac

“Más es requerido de nosotros que el ir, venir, y dar;
nuestras intenciones deben ser puras y enteramente libres de intereses personales.”
-Santa Luisa de Marillac
Lord, remove from me the desire to please others or have
 myself noticed
because of what I do in your service. Let the good deeds be 
done for you alone.

Señor, remueve de mi el deseo de complacer a otros o de 
que otros me vean
por lo que hago en servicio tuyo.  Permíteme que las buenas 
obras sean hechas solamente por ti.

Vincentian Services Department
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Shop Amazon Smile to Donate to SVdPLA

Shop and select St. Vincent de Paul Council of Los Angeles Corporation when shopping during Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday to support  SVdPLA to help keep families housed and fed this holiday season.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

#GivingTesday Nov. 29

Bring your family together by selecting two friends/family members to help us raise $10,000 to house and feed families in need for Christmas by donating whatever you can...$10 or $100...and calling out TWO friends or family members to donate on #givingTWOsday with you to triple your impact! 


Thrift Thursday

Thrift Store Thursday kicks off a day early! today (11/16) and tomorrow (11/17) only, all clothing with a BLUE tag is just 99 cents. New color tags are revealed every Wednesday.

SVdPLA Cathedral Conference in Angelus

A helping paw: Companion animals care for veterans with PTSD

November 11, 2016 - By R.W. Dellinger

Miss Bella leads guardian Kevin Lewandowski on a hike in Griffith Park. (photo/Dima Otvertchenko)

Nov. 5, a brisk early Saturday morning near the merry-go-round in Griffith Park. Diego Ortiz of PAWS/LA was standing in front of a white tarp trying to get the attention of two dozen dogs and their guardians. Since 1989, the nonprofit has been dedicated to preserving the healing benefits of animal companionship for low-income elderly and others facing life-threatening illnesses like HIV/AIDS. But today he was talking about the launching of a new program called Project Petstrong geared to veterans suffering from PTSD. And part of the kickoff was with a two-mile “pets’ hike” in the sprawling urban park.
“There are 1.9 million veterans in California, 350,000 in Los Angeles County alone,” he said. “And according to PAWS/LA estimates, there are approximately 6,000 low-income veterans with PTSD and/or depression who count on their companion animals to cope with the devastating effects of PTSD. That’s 6,000 just in LA County. That’s why we started Project Petstrong.”
Ortiz pointed out that more than two-thirds of today’s veterans reported difficulties adjusting back to civilian life. And up to 45 percent of post 9/11 veterans suffer from PTSD, with nearly 14 percent demonstrating suicidal tendencies. “As we all know, our companion animals can bring us out of the darkness,” he said. “They can take us out of that dark place, and give us a reason to live.”
Kevin Lewandowski, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who was homeless for 28 years, spoke passionately about his transformation out of that darkness and addiction. He testified how living on the street had left him with a “hardened heart.” It was during a three-year stint in two California state prisons that he finally turned his life over to God, returning to the Catholic faith of his youth.
But after serving his sentence and even finding permanent housing in Los Angeles, the Philadelphia native found himself terribly lonely and on the edge of going back to his former destructive lifestyle.
That’s when a black five-pound Reindeer Chihuahua named Miss Bella came into his life.
“Since I’ve had her, I can’t explain it, but she ripped down that hardened heart that I had,” said Lewandowski. “And I cried for the first time in 20 years. You know, good tears. Just the love that she gives me.
“I was in a dark place of depression. I had all these dark thoughts. And that doesn’t happen anymore because she keeps my mind occupied. In my apartment, I’m always talking to her: ‘Miss Bella, what are you doing?’ She does something silly and I’m laughing.
“That’s why I know that somebody with PTSD, it will help them,” he said. “And I’m here to testify that it does work. You get this dog in your life, and they just transform you. And they transformed me to a much better person that I was before.”   
Dog hike
A little after half-past-nine, hikers with their Golden Retrievers, Black Labs, Chihuahuas, Dalmatian and English Bulldog started up a cracked asphalt road to where the old Griffith Park Zoo stood from 1912 to 1966. The Oak-Walnut woodlands above the merry-go-round soon gave way to shades of green and brown chaparral, the dominant plant of these Santa Monica Mountains.
The grade was enough to get at least the guardians breathing harder. Soon they and their dogs were stretched out into small groups. Miss Bella and Lewandowski were towards the back, pacing themselves like they were in a marathon.
Near 10 o’clock, the road narrowed and turned to dirt, with a beautiful view of Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountain in the distance. Miss Bella, her legs moving like a machine on overdrive, had now moved to the lead. Meanwhile, the English Bulldog simply flopped on the ground, legs spread out, panting. Her handler — a muscular middle-age guy wearing a black T-shirt with a yellow insignia on the back, “1st Battalion, 9th Marines” — tried to coax his charge up, with no luck.
It was better, of course, going down, with Miss Bella leading most of the way. But the former Marine had to carry his pouch a few times. And the Golden Retrievers and Black Labs seemed a little beat, too, lying on grass with the English Bulldog after the 90-minute hilly hike.
Coming-home trauma
The bulldog’s name turned out to be Smedley Butler, after a legendary Marine Corps General. His guardian was 49-year-old William Chau. He mustered out in September 1994 after far-flung deployments.
“I remember my mother when I got off active duty, she was afraid of me,” he said. “I’d wake up aggressive, you know, on the defensive. It’s kind of a self-preservation thing. I literally had just come off a deployment all over the western Pacific. You don’t have to be in combat, you just see a lot of inhumanity. Young kids begging on the street. Girls in their early teens being forced into prostitution for survival.
“It’s just crazy. You get exposed to a lot of cruelty that you don’t see in the U.S.”
So Chau thought Project Petstrong was awesome.
“A lot of young warriors are getting off active duty. They really don’t have a support network at home. They just don’t have somebody there for them,” he pointed out. “And pets are always going to be there for you. So to have basically an animal that just loves you unconditionally is just a tremendous psychological and emotional help.”
Yvette Kelley, a retired U.S. Army colonel and current president and CEO of New Directions for Veterans, went on the Griffith Park hike even though she doesn’t have a pet. She had heard about the launch of Project Petsmart and just wanted to support it.
Kelley’s 30-year military career, which ended in 2013, mostly involved flying helicopters. Her combat contingency operations included Panama, Somalia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. But she agrees you don’t have to experience combat to wind up coming home with serious problems.
“We help over 1,200 veterans a year at New Directions,” she reported. “But a lot of these guys have just served during peacetime. They’ve never been deployed. But that still doesn’t mean that they’re not going to end up homeless, that they’re not going to be addicted to substances or alcohol, or even have PTSD or military sexual trauma. That doesn’t have to occur in a combat condition.”
About Project Petstrong, Kelley believes many hurt veterans will really respond to caring for a dog or cat. She hopes the program will be widely promoted for veterans to learn about it.
“About half of the homeless veterans that we have on Los Angeles streets are the Vietnam era vets,” she said. “So these are guys who have had problems, issues like PTSD for decades now. And we can’t repeat that pattern. That’s just not right.
“With this pet project, I see a lot of care, a lot of compassion. Kevin [Lewandowski] mentioned about his situation how you’re looking outside of yourself with a pet. When you’re a soldier, an airman, a sailor or a Marine, you’re used to looking out for your brother or your sister.
“And so here again you’re focusing outward from yourself caring for a pet,” she said. “So I think there’s a lot of therapeutic value in that.”     
‘Love of Jesus’
Care, compassion and concern for others have become an integral part of Lewandowski’s life — and not only for Miss Bella.
He goes to the weekday 7 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, where he now works in the parish’s outreach program, making sandwiches and stocking the food bank. He has become a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus and officer. And he’s the spiritual advisor for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Our Lady of the Angels Conference.
Last year after reconciling with his mother, he returned to see her and also Pope Francis during a visit to Philadelphia. “He went right on by us in Logan’s Circle, and he blessed Bella and me,” he told Angelus News. “We were pretty close, so I think he spotted us. But even if he didn’t, who would have thought that a homeless person, 28 years in the streets, that only by God’s divine intervention that I get sober and be in the presence of the pope?”
After a moment, he looked into the dark marble eyes of the Reindeer Chihuahua he was holding. “I have a special love for her that I’ve never had for any animal,” he said. “I didn’t want a dog, nothing to do with one. I thought people who feed a dog and dressed a dog were nuts.
“But I feel it now,” he admitted in a softer voice. “And when I look at her, I see the love of Jesus. I see the love of Jesus because I know she’s a gift from God. Because I prayed about my loneliness. And I’m not lonely anymore.”

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to deliver remarks of solidarity with all Angelenos

Archbishop José H. Gomez will lead a prayer service tonight uniting people of all faiths in prayer for peace, unity and solidarity at a moment when the community as a whole, and the immigrant community in particular, are expressing increasing uncertainty and fear. Prayer service will take place at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., in downtown Los Angeles

During the prayer service, Mayor Eric Garcetti will address the assembly.

Livestream of the Mass will be available via Facebook at

Interfaith prayer service for peace, solidarity and unity

Archbishop José H. Gomez; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Thursday, November 10 at 7 p.m.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 90012
METRO: Red Line, Civic Center stop

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Layettes to California Hospital Medical Center

SVdPLA Vincentian volunteers brought layettes to newborn moms and babies at California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles recently.  The moms and dads were very appreciative

Claire Padama Honored by LA Rams & Honda

Vincentian Inspirations

"It was said of St. Catherine Labouré that 
some sort of electric current
[existed] between Catherine and humble people, 
between her and children.
Those who were puzzled or embarrassed went 
to her as if she were a beloved granny,
a staunch member of the household, but would 
later leave the 'old lady'
when they had learnt to fly with their own wings."

“Se decía de Santa Catarina Labouré que un tipo
 de corriente eléctrica
existía entre Catarina y personas humildes, 
entre ella y sus niño/as.
aquellos que estaban confundidos o 
avergonzados iban a ella como si fuera
una amorosa abuela, un devoto miembro 
de la familia, pero al tiempo dejaban a la ‘viejita’

cuando habían aprendido a volar con sus propias alas.”
St. Catherine’s incorrupt body is encased in glass beneath the side altar at 140 Rue du Bac, Paris, beneath one of the spots where our Lady appeared to her.

El cuerpo incorrupto de Santa Catarina se encuentra en una caja de vidrio, bajo un altar en el 140 Rue du Bac, en Paris, bajo un lugar donde Ntra. Señora se le apareció.

St. Catherine, I admire the good influence you 
had on others, especially the ability
to empower them to become self-sufficient.  
Teach me how to do this in my relationships.

Santa Catarina, admire la influencia tan positive 
que tu tenias en otros, especialmente
tu capacidad de habilitarles a ser auto-suficientes.  
Enséñame como hacer esto mismo en mis relaciones.
Vincentian Services Department
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Thrift Thursday

Thrift Store Thursday kicks off a day early! This Wednesday (11/9) and Thursday (11/10) only, all clothing with a YELLOW tag is just 99 cents. New color tags are revealed every Wednesday.

Giving Tuesday Nov. 29!

During the Christmas season, when the whole country sits at a bountiful table and exchanges generous gifts, it's unimaginable that parents need to choose between feeding their children or paying rent. On November 29th, we ask you to help keep families in their homes and have food on their tables this holiday season.  

This year St. Vincent de Paul of LA is raising $10,000 to feed and house 100 families for Christmas for our one-day #GivingTWOsday fundraiser!

Double your impact by telling two friends on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter all month as you see demonstrated below, to join you in donating Nov. 29! 

This woman has Tami and Kirsten joining her Nov. 29! #GivingTWOsday helps keep families housed and fed this holiday season! Donate whatever you can ....$10 or $100... and call out TWO friends to join you.

Donate here:

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Your Donation Helps

Donating to St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store contributes to our Cardinal Manning Homeless Shelter on Skid Row! Learn more about the center here: