Friday, July 31, 2009

A special thanks to our Vincentians

As we enter another weekend, the L.A. Council would like to Thank You - our more than 2,000 'Vincentian' volunteers - for everything you do throughout the year to help improve the quality of life for children, women and men. You are the backbone to all that is done to help the homeless, disadvantaged and working poor in the counties of L.A., Ventura and Santa Barbara.
Thank you for your dedication and tireless efforts! Without you, much of what the Council does for the needy would not be possible!
Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A preview of the Council's future

Though the Council's staff is still days away from moving into its new offices, a brief meeting was held in the new board room today. This room, which will be equipped with the latest technology, including flat screens for video conferencing, will enable the Society to be more efficient in it's outreach to families and individuals in need in the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Workshop benefits Ventura District Vincentians

The Council's Ventura District recently conducted a 'Social Services' workshop for its local 'Vincentian' volunteers who help improve the quality of life for families and individuals in need throughout the year. Two human service case workers from the County of Ventura spoke about various benefits that are available for local residents, including: Employment Services, CalWORKS, General Relief, Medi-Cal and Food Stamps.
According to Council Ventura District Conference Coordinator David Garcia, "given the current economic climate, this workshop could not have taken place at a more appropriate time, as the information will help our Vincentians better assist those we serve."
The Society's Ventura District thanks the County of Ventura for this presentation and the invaluable information gained from the workshop.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's not to late to apply for camp sessions 7 & 8!

Swimming, hiking, games, arts & crafts, music, drama, a beach trip and lots of FUN! This is what children, ages 7-13, will partake in at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Circle V Ranch Camp this summer.
There is still space available for children to attend sessions seven (August 7-12) and eight (August 12-17). Each week has a theme. Session seven's theme is 'Flashback Week,' which will include Circle V Idol, where the campers will be able to showcase their creativity and special talents in a show. Meanwhile, session eight is 'Wild, Wild, West Week,' which will include a unique western feel through games, entertainment and a special BBQ.
Financial aid is available. For more information, please call 323-224-6213 or e-mail

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bishop Alexander Salazar blesses Council's new Long Beach store

The long-awaited grand opening of the Council's third thrift store took place Saturday when Most Reverend Alexander Salazar, D.D., V.G., Auxiliary Bishop of the San Pedro Pastoral Region, blessed the Long Beach facility.
In speaking about how the store and the usable donations represent one aspect of the Council's outreach to the community, Bishop Salazar said, "What we do for our brothers and sisters, we do for the Lord. What we neglect to do for our brothers and sisters, we neglect to do unto the Lord. Through the Lord's transformation, our giving and our hearts make it personal. That's why this (store) opening is such a great event."
South Bay residents not only will find clothing and household items at a fraction of the retail price at the new store - saving them dollars in a difficult economy - but some donations will be distributed free to families in extreme need. Proceeds from the store will also benefit various Council programs to help those in need in the local region.
Also speaking: Father Pedro Villarroya, C.M., Council spiritual advisor; Father Guillermo Rodriguez of St. Matthew Parish in Long Beach; Council President Jim Weiss, Council San Pedro District President Cecilia Ordonez; Council Executive Director Jose Rossier; and the Council's new Deputy Executive Director David Fields.
The day also included Jazz music from the James Gentry Quintet, refreshments and a special two-hour store discount following the event.
Photos (l-r): Bishop Alexander Salazar and Council President Jim Weiss cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the Long Beach thrift store; Bishop Salazar, along with Father Pedro Villarroya, C.M., blesses the new facility.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Long Beach Store Grand Opening Tomorrow, July 25th; Join in the festivities

The Council will hold the Grand Opening of its Long Beach Thrift Store at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 25 at its new facility, 2750 Pacific Coast Highway (former site of Al Greenwood's Bedspread Kingdom).
Most Reverend Alexander Salazar, D.D., V.G., Auxiliary Bishop of the San Pedro Pastoral Region, will bless the new store, which underwent major renovation prior to opening on June 1.
Also scheduled to attend are Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and Long Beach City Councilmember Patrick O'Donnell, Fourth District.
Free refreshments will be available, and the James Gentry Quintet will provide Jazz entertainment. In celebration of the new store, from 1:30-3:30 p.m., every shopper will receive a 10% discount on his/her total purchase.
Information: 562-494-9955. Directions to the new store can be found by clicking on the Long Beach store photo on the right side of this blog.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Furniture for Council's new offices arrive

The furniture has arrived and the Council's new offices are nearly complete! The staff's official move from the temporary trailers into the new offices is now close at hand. These photos depict various sections of the new office space. Clockwise from top left: one of the new offices; a view from the new lobby looking down the hall; the new boardroom; a large room that contains numerous cubicles.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oxnard's St. Anthony Conference receives donation from Lucky Store

The Council's St. Anthony Conference in Oxnard recently received a $2,000 donation from Lucky Store during the Grand Opening of its new Oxnard supermarket. Lucky has a tradition of making a donation to a charitable organization when it opens a new store. The Society thanks Lucky for its generosity, as it will benefit disadvantaged children and families through the Council's St. Anthony Conference.
In this photo (from l-r), Lucky Store Director Dale Wade presents a check to St. Anthony Conference Vincentians: President Robert Cruz, Gerald Feltz and Hermie Butler.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New look for Council's donation trucks

The Council's donation trucks have taken on a new and modern look. As a representation of some of the individuals who benefit from the public's donations and the Society's outreach programs, each truck now has a picture of two young people, along with the Council's logo and toll-free number, on both sides. The goal is that the new look will help draw more attention, thus enhancing the donation base, as the Society continues to help improve the quality of life for children, women and men in the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara.
Usable donations of clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics and more can be made by calling 1-800-97-HELP-1. YOUR donations help the local economy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Grand Opening of Long Beach Thrift Store to be held this Saturday

In an effort to reach out to the residents in the South Bay during these trying economic times, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is excited to announce that it will hold the Grand Opening of its new Long Beach Thrift Store at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 25 at 2750 Pacific Coast Highway (former site of Al Greenwood's Bedspread Kingdom).
Most Reverend Alexander Salazar, D.D. V.G., Auxiliary Bishop of the San Pedro Pastoral Region will bless the new building.
Free refreshments will be available. In addition, a grand opening special will be held from 1:30-3:30 p.m. that day, when all customers will receive 10% off their total purchases.
As is the mission of St. Vincent de Paul, the purpose of the new store is to help improve the quality of life for local disadvantaged and working-poor families. Donations of usable appliances, furniture, computers, clothing and more to the Society not only benefit residents seeking everyday items at low prices during this economic downturn but, during the year, clothing and household items also are given free to local families in extreme-need.
Information: 562-494-9955.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Olympic heroes and the L.A. Council break bread at special lunch

Olympic gymnasts' Mary Lou Retton, Bart Conner and Peter Vidmar, and diver Greg Louganis became household names in 1984 when they each captured Gold medals for Team USA during the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games.
To commemorate those memorable Games, all four athletes were together for 710 AM ESPN's 'Lunch with a Legend' on Friday at Morton's the Steakhouse in downtown L.A.
As the title sponsor of this monthly event, the L.A. Council was present to network with local business men and women, and spread the message about the Society's Circle V Ranch Camp, which benefits undeserved children each summer. And yes...the Council members enjoyed a nice steak lunch, too!
The Council also received 100% of the proceeds from a raffle that included beautifully-framed autographed photos of Olympic legends' Mark Spitz, Mia Hamm and Rafer Johnson.
Due to the Society's local outreach in helping children, women and men, ESPN is supporting the Council's ad campaign by giving the non-profit organization all the raffle proceeds from each lunch event, as well as a table to help network with local leaders, businesses and the general public.
David Fields, the Council's new deputy executive director, also recorded a special two-minute, interview-style spot about Circle V Ranch, which aired twice during the live radio show held at the restaurant.
Photos (clockwise from top left): A group photo of the Council's David Fields (second from left) and Executive Director Jose Rossier (far right) with Olympic Gold medalist's Peter Vidmar, Mary Lou Retton and Bart Conner; Jose Rossier and Bart Conner converse about the Council's local outreach prior to the lunch; With the Council's logo on the background screen, ESPN's Steve Mason interviews Mary Lou Retton.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Council's David Fields to receive air time during ESPN's Lunch with a Legend tomorrow

David Fields, the Council's new deputy executive director, will receive some air time on 710 AM ESPN radio tomorrow during ESPN's 'Lunch with a Legend' at Morton's the Steakhouse, 735 S. Figueroa St., #207 in downtown L.A.
David recently recorded a two-minute, interview-style ad about the Council's Circle V Ranch Camp, which will air twice (12:22 p.m. and 12:36 p.m.) during the 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. show that will be hosted live from the restaurant. The interview will focus on the camp's impact on young lives and how the public can help send children, ages 7-13, to Circle V Ranch through their tax-deductible financial gifts.
In recognition of the 25th Anniversary of the 1984 L.A. Olympic Games, Gold medalist's Mary Lou Retton, Greg Louganis, Bart Conner and Peter Vidmar will be in attendance.
A raffle consisting of autograph-framed photos of past Olympic heroes: Mia Hamm (soccer), Rafer Johnson (decathlete) and Mark Spitz (swimmer) will be held, with all proceeds benefiting disadvantaged and at-risk youth through the Council's Circle V Ranch Camp this summer!
It's not too late for you to reserve your seat for this once-in-a-lifetime lunch event. For more information and reservations, click on the Lunch with a Legend box on the right side of this blog.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores benefit countless people in challenging economy!

As we all continue to survive this challenging economy, it's nice to find bargains on everyday items. And...the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store is THE location for $avings!
All clothes without purple tags are just .99 to $4.99 everyday! YOU also will find huge $avings on furniture, appliances, electronics, vehicles and more. Visiting a St. Vincent de Paul store is like sifting through a treasure chest of items. You never know what you'll find.
The Society has thrift stores in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oxnard. Visit the store nearest you and see what YOU can find for a LOW, LOW price. Not only do YOU save, but store sales help the Society's various outreach programs, which means YOU also are helping the local economy. It's a win-win situation!
Directions to the Society's thrift stores can be found on the right side of this blog.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The end (or beginning) is in sight

Depending on how you view it, the end of the office construction or the beginning of the Council's new era is in sight. These photos indicate what the office presently looks like, as it nears occupancy. Other than waiting for the new furniture to arrive and the computers to be installed, only minor tasks remain. The days of working in a small office in an ever-changing world is a thing of the past. We thank God for his many blessings and the direction this Council is heading!

Photos (l-r): the new board room; portion of the lobby area.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Prayer to see Jesus in Others

Being a Council Vincentian volunteer is not always easy. God doesn't promise that our outreach will be a smooth ride every time out. When you encounter a difficult situation, please remember the following prayer:

Oh Lord,
Help me to remember that is not
the irritating neighbor I aid,
the lonely traveller on the bus I listen to,
the sad child I hug,
the frightened friend who I pray for,
the grumpy husband I find keys for,
the sick person whose hand I hold,
but I do this all to you,
coming to me in the guise of the poor, and lonely, irritating and needy.

When my patience grows weary,
and my heart grows cold,
and my fright makes me faint,
may I warm my soul at this knowledge,
and come away,
strengthened to give once more.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Olympic Gold gymnast Mary Lou Retton to attend special lunch event on July 17; Reserve your seat today!

Olympic Gold gymnast Mary Lou Retton has been added to the list of honorees for the 710 AM ESPN 'Lunch with a Legend,' to be held at 11 a.m. on July 17 at Morton's the Steakhouse at 735 S. Figueroa St., #207 in L.A. Also being honored will be fellow Gold medalist's Bart Conner, Peter Vidmar and Greg Louganis.

This month marks the 25th Anniversary of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. ESPN will broadcast its show live from the restaurant. In addition, a special two-minute interview about the Council's Circle V Ranch Camp will air twice during the event.

A special raffle for valuable Olympic memorabilia also will be held, with all proceeds helping to send disadvantaged and at-risk children to Circle V Ranch this summer!

For more information, click on the 'Lunch with a Legend' box on the right side of this blog.

Reservations: Charisse at 213-553-4586.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Council's Marathon Man records his best time at age 55!

Miguel Rodriguez, a three-year employee at the Society’s Lincoln Heights thrift store, recently ran in his fourth consecutive Los Angeles Marathon. The Mexican native didn’t start competing in this 26-mile event until he was 52-years-old! Rodriguez recorded his best time this year – at the age of 55 - when he completed the course in 4:05:28, nearly 40-minutes quicker than last year. Congratulations Miguel on all your hard work and determination!

Photo: Miguel proudly displays three of his four medals.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Camp applications still being accepted; financial aid available

The Council's Circle V Ranch Camp is NOW filled with children who are enjoying themselves in a variety of acitivites: swimming, arts & crafts, sports, hiking, music, drama, nature study, beach trips and more.

There is still time for YOUR child or grandchild, age 7-13, to enjoy everything Circle V offers, as there are six summer camp sessions remaining near beautiful Santa Barbara. Financial aid is available.

The camp schedule is as follows:

* Week Three: Saturday, July 11 - Thursday, July 16
* Week Four: Sunday, July 19 - Friday, July 24
* Week Five: Friday, July 24 - Wednesday, July 29 (Full)
* Week Six: Sunday, August 2 - Friday, August 7
* Week Seven: Friday, August 7 - Wednesday, August 12
* Week Eight: Wednesday, August 12 - Monday, August 17

There will be pick-up locations in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Fernando Valley, Oxnard and Santa Barbara.

Information: 323-224-6213 or

Photo: A high-five for this young boy as he leaves from Los Angeles to attend summer camp.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Society National President recognizes Father Pedro Villarroya, CM

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul recently held its Western Regional Conference in Everett, WA.

Among the highlights was the recognition of Father Pedro Villarroya, CM, Western Region and L.A. Council spiritual leader, and the 50th Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

Joseph Flannigan, National President of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul, presented Father Pedro with a plaque and thanked him for his years of service to the Lord and the Society's outreach.

This was not a retirement celebration, as Father Pedro will continue to impact lives locally, throughout the west and beyond.

Photo (l-r): Father Pedro with his L.A. Council family; Father Pedro and Society National President Joseph Flannigan.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Carpet now being laid for Council's new office

Construction continues on the Council's new office area. With the telephone and computer wiring installed, the carpet is now being laid. It is now beginning to look like an office.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Have lunch with three Olympic champions!

This month marks the 25th Anniversary of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. 710 AM ESPN's monthly 'Lunch with a Legend,' to be held at 11 a.m. on July 17 at Morton's the Steakhouse at 735 S. Figueroa St., #207 in L.A., will honor three Gold medalist's from those Games: gymnast's Bart Conner and Peter Vidmar, and diver Greg Louganis.

ESPN's Steve Mason and John Ireland of the 'Mason & Ireland Show' will broadcast their show LIVE from Morton's. In addition, there will be a special two-minute interview and feature about the Council's Circle V Ranch Camp.

A special raffle for valuable Olympic memorabilia also will be held, with all proceeds helping to send disadvantaged and at-risk children to Circle V Ranch this summer!

For more information, click on the 'Lunch with a Legend' box on the right side of this blog.

Reservations: Charisse at 213-553-4586.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tom Polenzani & family enjoy 'Rick Monday Experience' at Dodger Stadium

Vincentian and Council board member Tom Polenzani was the highest bidder for the 'Rick Monday Experience' at the Society's Camper by Camper Gala in February which, recently, allowed him and three guests an experience of a lifetime at Dodger Stadium.

Tom, who was joined by his two sons and son-in-law, attended Wednesday's game against the Colorado Rockies. Tom's winning package included the following:

* Four tickets & a parking pass to the game
* Four passes to watch batting practice on the field
* An inning in the broadcast booth during the game
* An autographed Rick Monday jersey

Rick, a former major league baseball player and current broadcaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers, hit the game-winning home run in the 1981 National League Championship Series that sent the Dodgers to the World Series, where they defeated the New York Yankees.

Not only did Tom and his group meet and talk to Rick on the field prior to the game and in the broadcast booth, but they also met legendary Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela and Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrin.

The Camper by Camper Gala helped raise funds for the Council's Circle V Ranch Camp near Santa Barbara. Thank you, Tom, for your support during the Gala and throughout the year!

Photo: Tom Polenzani (second from right) is joined by his family and Dodger Rick Monday (center).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

'Theology on Tap' series for young adults

Dear Young Vincentians & Friends:

It’s summer time again, and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Ministry with Young Adults will again sponsor the annual "Renew International Theology on Tap," a "speaker series designed by and for young adults (ages 18 through 39), (which) has proven itself as an effective means of engaging young adults. It offers a weekly opportunity for young adults to gather and to engage a knowledgeable presenter in the areas of spirituality, relationships, sexuality, technology, scripture, and theology.”

Theology on Tap offers a four-session series in (and hosted by) each of the Archdiocese’ five pastoral regions; sessions are stand alone, and participants may attend any or all of the sessions offered, regardless of the region.

Food and drink is available at each venue; attendance is free, but donations are most welcome.

For a schedule of the summer sessions, along a listing of topics for each region, please go to;

Or, for information on one particular pastoral region’s offerings, please go to:

Our Lady of the Angels -;

San Pedro Pastoral Region;

San Fernando Pastoral Region;

San Gabriel Pastoral Region -;

Santa Barbara Pastoral Region -;

To learn about other offerings from the Ministry with Young Adults, please go to;

Hope to see you at one or more of these events.

Yours in St. Vincent de Paul, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam & Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati,

Manuel A. Sánchez
Youth/Young Adult Conference Coordinator
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles