Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Local groups discuss year-round homeless shelter


Please view the below story, which recently appeared in the Ventura County Star.


By Mark Storer
Ventura County Star

A day after the annual homeless count in Ventura County, officials from several agencies met to discuss king the winter warming shelter at the National Guard armory in Ventura a year-round facility.

Dubbed "Gimmee Shelter," Wednesday's meeting was the second since last fall for the group looking to help end homelessness in the county. The meeting included representatives from the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Oxnard Commission on Housing and Ventura Social Services Task Force, volunteers and others.

"We've been running the shelter as a winter shelter since 2001," David Fields, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles council, said before leading a tour through the shelter. Guests gathered at Barber Volkswagen, which donated its showroom for the event. The showroom is just east of the armory.

"Times were good and we were busy even then, but the need is greater now. It would be great if we could do something to fix that," Fields said.

Marc Melinkovich, the St. Vincent de Paul Society's Ventura shelter manager, said: "This is a year-round issue, not a three-months-out-of-the-year issue. We hosted 160 people two nights ago. Last night, it was 152, and among them was a 10-day-old infant. It's hard to send these people out into the world at the end of March and tell them, 'Good luck.' "

Guests are given an inflatable mattress, a hot shower and a breakfast of oatmeal and coffee.

Melinkovich has been manager for a year.

"We want to alleviate suffering and pain," Fields said of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. "We want to spearhead a year-round shelter and get it up and running. We know that's not going to happen overnight, but we need to start."

It won't come cheap, either. The cost of running the winter shelter is around $300,000 each season, Fields said.

"We're looking at about $1 million to run a year-round shelter," he said. "That's why we need to build support and show people that this is a necessary thing."

Fields said he wants to establish an advisory council on the model of Friends of St. Vincent de Paul groups that provide support at a shelter in Los Angeles and a camp operated in Santa Barbara.

"In order to be an effective shelter, you have to have housing afterward," said Joan Sotiros, who runs the shelter program for St. Vincent de Paul's Los Angeles council. "You can't just have people cycling through and going from shelter to shelter. The idea is to fix the problem."

Peggy Rivera, chairwoman of the Oxnard Commission on Homelessness, said: "Homelessness has really changed in the past 30 years. We see more families these days, more women than we used to, and we're working diligently to fix that. St. Vincent de Paul Society does such a wonderful job of operating a safe, clean environment. It's a safe haven for the night."

Al Jones with the Oxnard Commission on the Homeless said: "The commission is driven and focused on having this happen. It serves so many good purposes with so many people coming in. We need to make people aware of this issue and bring the public into the discussion. When we open a year-round shelter, it has to involve a lot of different groups. Let's not weight the scales of justice to any one side. It has to be funded and that has to be sustainable."

Feeling similarly was Shawn McCarthy, a Ventura-area businessman and member of the River Community Church in Ventura.

"Homelessness is a huge problem for the county," he said. "We don't often want to think about those who need help, but people need to step up. It's going to take a large effort."

Photo: Marc Melinkovich, shelter manager of the Society's West Ventura County emergency winter shelter, gives a tour of the facility.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Please remember the Society this week...


As we begin another week...PLEASE help us help countless children, women and men in need during these tough economic times. Your usable donations of clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics, vehicles and more benefit MANY individuals through the Society's outreach programs. Our donation trucks will pick up your donations FREE. Call one of the two numbers on the above flyer today. Thank you.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winter Shelter Tour Puts Face on Homelessness





The Society of St. Vincent de Paul recently held a special tour called 'Gimme Shelter II' at the Ventura National Guard Armoury, site of the Society's emergency winter shelter in West Ventura County.

Individuals and prospective members of the Friends of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul visited the shelter to get a first-hands look at the day-to-day operation. The shelter is a safe haven for more than 100 individuals nightly during the winter. Following the visit, the group went next door to Barber Volkswagen where they spoke with community leaders.

David Fields, executive director of the Society, also spoke about St. Vincent de Paul's thoughts on additional programs to assist the homeless in the cities of Ventura and Oxnard.


Photos (top to bottom): Society staff set up cots for the evening; Marc Melinkovich, who helps oversee the winter shelter, talks to the group about the program; One of the meals being prepared for the homeless at the shelter; The group meets at Barber Volkswagen following the tour to discuss the local homeless problems and possible future goals.
Photos by Ron Mulvhill

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trust your vehicle, motorcycle, boat or RV to the Society


* Click on flyer to enlarge.

No middle-man here. We sell your used vehicle, boat, motorcycle or RV straight from our Los Angeles store at 210 N. Avenue 21, 90031. Your donation helps local families in need through the Society's charitable program. YOU receive a tax deduction and the great feeling of improving the lives of families in need. Call 323-224-6280 or 800-97-HELP-1. Please help us help others.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Circle V Ranch 'Wish List' for 2012 Summer Camp

Clipart

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Circle V Ranch Camp has a Wish List. Are there any individuals or businesses that can help fulfill the following wishes to enhance a child's experience at camp?

* ARCHERY EQUIPMENT (New bows, arrows & targets) - $2,500
* CRAFT SHACK SUPPLIES for CAMPERS (beads, lanyards, string, paper, pencils, markers, glue, etc.) - $2,000
* FLASHLIGHTS & BATTERIES (100 needed for children who don't have one) - $1,000
* MULE ELECTRIC CART/TRUCK (perhaps a used one from a local rancher) - $4,000
* MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (drums & guitars) - $5,000
* SLEEPING BAGS (100 needed for children who don't have one) - $1,500
* TABLES (need Five 72" round and 8' sizes for Craft Shack & Dining Lodge) - $1,000

Information: 805-688-5252 or 323-224-6213.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Summer Camp will be here before you know it!


Time seems to pass by quickly. Before you know it summer will be here. And you know what that means! Summer Camp for children, ages 7-13, at the Society's Circle V Ranch Camp in beautiful Santa Barbara!

For more information, call 805-688-5252 or 323-224-6213. Click on flyer to enlarge.

Friday, January 20, 2012

FINAL WEEK: Food 4 Less 'Bringing Hope to the Table' campaign. Please support, as Society is a recipient.


Food 4 Less, the nation’s largest price-impact supermarket chain, invites customers to help support local food banks and families in need through a special fund-raising campaign that kicked off November 6. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Council of Los Angeles is a recipient of this collection drive.

Food 4 Less and Foods Co customers and team members can support food banks in their community through the supermarket chain’s nonprofit arm, The Food 4 Less/Foods Co Fund, by donating their spare change in collection canisters located at the checkstands in Food 4 Less stores in Southern California, southern Nevada and greater Chicago, and at Foods Co supermarkets in Central and Northern California. The fundraising campaign will run from November 6, 2011 through January 28, 2012. Monies collected will be donated to food banks and hunger relief organizations in the communities served by Food 4 Less and Foods Co in California, southern Nevada, and the greater Chicago area.

“Food 4 Less has a firm commitment to give back to the communities that our customers and team members call home,” said Bryan Kaltenbach, president of Food 4 Less/Foods Co. “Through our ‘Bringing Hope to the Table’ checkstand fundraising campaign, our customers and team members can drive funds to local food banks to help hungry families who are our neighbors.”

The checkstand fundraising program is part of Food 4 Less’ “Bringing Hope to the Table” initiative that is working to reduce hunger in local communities. In addition to the checkstand fundraiser, the “Bringing Hope to the Table” initiative includes an annual cause marketing partnership with Feeding America that generated more than $200,000 for Feeding America-affiliated food banks this year.

Food 4 Less’ ongoing commitment to bring as much food as possible to hungry families also includes our company-wide Perishables Donations Partnership (PDP) program. The program allows fresh, wholesome food such as meat, produce and dairy products to be donated directly from Food 4 Less and Foods Co stores to local food banks that are able to safely handle perishable foods.

Food 4 Less has donated more than 560,000 pounds of perishable foods to food banks this year. This represents more than 400,000 meals for hungry families.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Circle V Ranch Camp available for group rentals

Is your group seeking a location for a retreat? Consider the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's CIRCLE V RANCH CAMP in beautiful Santa Barbara. Click on flyer to enlarge and view information...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Society seeks churches and businesses for donation drop boxes


To ALL Priests/Pastors in the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara:

Help the Society of St. Vincent de Paul help others (and keep your church and business location clean) by having a Society donation box at your church. Each box is 6-feet-high, 4' wide and 4' deep, and benefits many people in need!

Our trucks will pick up ALL donations on a regular basis, and you'll feel good knowing that YOU helped make a difference for the local undeserved. All donations are either sold in St. Vincent de Paul's thrift stores to help fund its local charitable services, or are given to families/individuals in extreme-need through the Society's free distribution program.

Information: Tony Terrazas, Society store director, at 323-224-6214.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. and his wish for equality for all people! Happy MLK Day!

The Society's three thrift stores in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oxnard will be open during regular business hours today, January 16. Store revenue helps all people in need through the Society's various charitable programs. PLUS...YOU save big bucks on clothing and household items you need most.

Help Yourself. Help Others. Shop St. Vincent de Paul.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Society helps family on Animal Planet's 'Pit Bulls and Parolees'





The Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Council of Los Angeles was seen nationally on Animal Planet's 'Pit Bulls and Parolees' last weekend helping a family whose home was destroyed by a fire.

The family, who had to temporarily give up their pit bull to the tv show's featured family and the ranch they operate for parolees and abandoned pit bulls, lost their household items and another pet to the devastating fire.

Upon finding a new apartment in Long Beach that would allow pit bulls, the family and the pet were reunited. Due to finances, though, the family lacked household furnishings. The Society helped with that need, including a gift-wrapped bone for the dog.

This is just one example of how the Society helps those in need throughout the year - every year. No Act of Charity is Foreign to the Society.

Photos (t-b): David Fields, executive director of the Society's Council of Los Angeles, holds the bone that will be given to the family's pit bull; David Fields explains to the family the purpose of the Society's presence; Delivery of some of the household items could be a little tricky as seen here; The camera crew captures the St. Vincent de Paul truck being unloaded.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It may be a new year, but the needs are still great for MANY local families


The calendar year may now read 2012, but NEED knows no year! Please help us help others. Your tax-deductible usable household items, clothing and vehicles WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE for those in need RIGHT NOW! When YOU donate to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul YOU are helping the local economy! PLEASE call one of the (above) numbers TODAY. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Words of wisdom from St. Vincent de Paul


"Envy begins to appear here regarding the employment you expected. Charity, humility and patience will dispel this cloud, I hope."

- St. Vincent de Paul


Whenever I am overlooked or disregarded, Lord, keep me from all thoughts of self-pity or regret. Your love will preserve me in peace.

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

Monday, January 9, 2012

We're Back.....



The Society has a billboard up again at the corner of Broadway, 18th and Spring Streets just west of the 5 freeway in Los Angeles. Located at a busy stop signal, countless drivers see the sign on a daily basis.

As the sign reads: HELP YOURSELF with everyday low prices on clothing and household items you need most. HELP OTHERS when you shop, as the store revenue benefits the Society's local charitable programs. SHOP St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. Named 'Best Giant Thrift Store' in L.A. for 2010 by LA Weekly! Experience the shopping adventure for yourself at St. Vincent de Paul TODAY!

Friday, January 6, 2012

PLEASE SUPPORT: Food 4 Less 'Bringing Hope to the Table' campaign. Society is a recipient!


Food 4 Less, the nation’s largest price-impact supermarket chain, invites customers to help support local food banks and families in need through a special fund-raising campaign that kicked off November 6. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Council of Los Angeles is a recipient of this collection drive.

Food 4 Less and Foods Co customers and team members can support food banks in their community through the supermarket chain’s nonprofit arm, The Food 4 Less/Foods Co Fund, by donating their spare change in collection canisters located at the checkstands in Food 4 Less stores in Southern California, southern Nevada and greater Chicago, and at Foods Co supermarkets in Central and Northern California. The fundraising campaign will run from November 6, 2011 through January 28, 2012. Monies collected will be donated to food banks and hunger relief organizations in the communities served by Food 4 Less and Foods Co in California, southern Nevada, and the greater Chicago area.

“Food 4 Less has a firm commitment to give back to the communities that our customers and team members call home,” said Bryan Kaltenbach, president of Food 4 Less/Foods Co. “Through our ‘Bringing Hope to the Table’ checkstand fundraising campaign, our customers and team members can drive funds to local food banks to help hungry families who are our neighbors.”

The checkstand fundraising program is part of Food 4 Less’ “Bringing Hope to the Table” initiative that is working to reduce hunger in local communities. In addition to the checkstand fundraiser, the “Bringing Hope to the Table” initiative includes an annual cause marketing partnership with Feeding America that generated more than $200,000 for Feeding America-affiliated food banks this year.

Food 4 Less’ ongoing commitment to bring as much food as possible to hungry families also includes our company-wide Perishables Donations Partnership (PDP) program. The program allows fresh, wholesome food such as meat, produce and dairy products to be donated directly from Food 4 Less and Foods Co stores to local food banks that are able to safely handle perishable foods.

Food 4 Less has donated more than 560,000 pounds of perishable foods to food banks this year. This represents more than 400,000 meals for hungry families.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Today is the Feast Day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton


"Live simply so that all may simply live"

~ St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Speech given in the Diocese of Baltimore)

Hello everyone:

Today, January 4, is the Feast Day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, founder of the Sisters of Charity, whose rule is based upon that of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and who was the first native-born citizen of the U.S. to be canonized as a saint. Details of her interesting life, from a young woman born and raised in a devout, well-to-do Episcopalian family, to her loving marriage, life as a widow and devoted mother, to her conversion to Catholicism and formation as a Vincentian, may be found by visiting the Vincentian Family web site’s VincentWiki page at http://famvin.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Ann_Seton.

Also check out the famvin website at http://vinformation.famvin.org/resources-for-st-elizabeth-ann-setons-feast-day/, which features links to a graphical presentation key moments on the development of her legacy, music in the life of Mother Seton, a prayer service commemorating the day, a crossword puzzle, and most especially, a presentation by Sister of Charity Regina Bechtle entitled “Harvesting Theological Abundance from Elizabeth Seton’s Story.”

Blessings to you all,

Manuel

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

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Society's young people help ring in new year at Cardinal Manning Center


Thanks to St. Vincent de Paul's Cal State LA-John Paul II Conference (East LA), Our Lady of the Rosary of Talpa Young Adult Conference (Boyle Heights) and Whittier High School for decorating, serving dinner and having a "New Year's countdown" and singing Auld Lang Syne to individuals at the Society's Cardinal Manning Center (shelter) in downtown LA on December 31.

Special kudos to Larry Ballesteros, president of the Cal State LA-John Paul II Conference, for organizing the event; Annette and Luis Lopez, vice president and spiritual advisor, respectively, of Our Lady of the Rosary of Talpa Young Adult Conference, for their contributions; and Joan Sotiros, director of the Cardinal Manning Center, for the tamales.

I feel humbled by the young 'Vincentians' volunteers and their good cheer and generosity, and blessed to end the year with them.

To find out how your young people can help others through the Society's Council of Los Angeles, which serves the counties of LA, Ventura and Santa Barbara, call 323-224-6298.

~ Manuel Sanchez
Coordinator, St. Vincent de Paul's Youth & Young Adult Conferences, Council of LA

Sunday, January 1, 2012