Monday, September 24, 2012

Mayor Riordan Visits L.A. Thrift Store

Former mayor of Los Angeles Richard Riordan visited the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store Friday, September 21, 2012 in Los Angeles.  Riordan currently directs the Riordan Foundation, among other ventures. The Riordan Foundation's mission is to provide mostly low-income students with access to high-quality education.

"He wanted to know what we do," said Society Deputy Executive Director David Garcia. "We were glad to see him stop by."

"With all the mayor has done he is still committed to the community," said Society Director of Operations Jim Bibb.  Mayor Riordan toured the Society's administrative offices and store with Society Assistant Executive Director Susana Santana, Deputy Director Garcia, Director of Operations Bibb and Riordan Foundation President Jessica Flores.

"Do you need donations?" asked Mayor Riordan. "Of course we do!" answered Garcia.

Photos: (top) Mayor Riordan with Santana; (side) Santana, Garcia, Flores, Bibb and Mayor Riordan.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Low–income mothers will receive an estimated 50 layette sets - collections of supplies for newborns - to honor St. Vincent de Paul on his feast day of September 27, 2012.  The layette sets will be distributed at California Hospital Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles at 10 a.m. by the Society's Our Lady of Angels District.

Donations are sought for distribution: receiving blankets, infant shirts, infant bodysuits, infant socks, wash cloths, diapers, Onesies, sleeping gowns/sleepers and jumpsuits.   

Please bring your donations to Catalina Miller, Director of Vincentian Services, Society of St. Vincent de Paul administrative offices, 210 N. Avenue 21, Los Angeles, CA 90031.   

Thank you for your generosity and may God bless you!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The Society of of St. Vincent de Paul, Ventura District, invites you to its 3rd annual Black and White Dinner Dance Fundraiser Saturday, October 6, 2012 at the Oxnard Performing Arts and Convention Center, 800 Hobson Way, from 6 p.m. to midnight. 

Tickets are $50, proceeds going toward the operating costs of the West Ventura County Winter Shelter for the homeless.  

The shelter served an average of 120 men, women and children each night last year from December through March. Guests were served a warm evening and morning meal, provided with clothes and bedding, and of course a warm and safe place to sleep.


Employees Roxanne Chavez, Shonnise Harston, Johnny Marin and Sam Uribe were honored by Society Executive Director David Fields and Deputy Executive Director David Garcia September 9, 2012, for the employees' performance during a donation pickup in August. 

Fields received a letter stating: "I have just had the most rewarding, satisfying experience with the St. Vincent de Paul.  A couple of weeks ago I made arrangements to have a pick-up at my home for a TV and 40 Samsonite chairs.  The girls at the pick-up desk were most accommodating.  This morning they called to verify the pick-up and everything worked out on schedule.

The huge truck pulled up to my house and the two pick-up workers came to identify themselves and proceeded to move the donations in a most professional manner.  They were extremely courteous.  They were a wonderful living example of Christian living and a valuable asset for St. Vincent de Paul. Their names were Johnny (the leader) and Sam.

I told them both how impressed I was with their service...Give a hand shake to these valuable  workers when the occasion occurs.  They deserve it."

Target gift cards for $25 were presented to Chavez, Harston, Marin and Uribe by Deputy Director Garcia for the employees' excellent work.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Backpacks with school supplies were given to 48 low-income Catholic students September 12, 2012 in Los Angeles by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles and the Specialty Family Foundation Catholic Schools Consortium. 

“I feel blessed getting a backpack that my mom doesn’t have to spend money for,” said Cristina Camacho, of Saints Peter and Paul School in Wilmington. Cristina’s mother just lost her job as a housekeeper.  

Shyah Bland of St. Raphael School in Los Angeles was too shy to comment on her pack, but glowed with happiness.  

Gerardo Pech of Santa Teresita School in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights said he liked the art supplies best, “Thank you for everything and for inviting me.”  

Santa Teresita Principal Sister Mary Catherine Antczak, O.P., said “What a terrific support for our students and parents.” 

Photos: (top) Gerardo Pech, Sister Mary Catherine Antczak, O.P., and Eduardo Pech from Santa Teresita School in Los Angeles;  (side) Shyah Bland from St. Raphael School in Los Angeles.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles' Shelter Director Joan Sotiros and Winter Shelter Manager Tom McLaughlin, were honored September 10, 2012 by the City of Oxnard Commission on Homelessness.

"We would like to say 'thank you' for your outstanding work on behalf of our community" said Commissioner Chair Peggy Rivera.

Sotiros gave credit for the winter shelter's success to McLaughlin, "He did all the work."

Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Director of Social Services Gigi Srajer attended the commission meeting and said, "Joan's dedication and presence as a professional in the homeless community has been unreplicated.  It's something to look up to." 

Larry Dennis, who joked with McLaughlin at the meeting, has stayed in both Oxnard and Ventura shelters since 2009.  Dennis said, "Tom brought a lot of compassion and understanding to the homeless...he was always there with a joke. Never judgmental. Always there to listen."

Dennis said he had mixed feelings about faith-based services, but "At St. Vincent de Paul they treat everyone the same no matter what your beliefs are, or lack of.  They treat everyone the same."

Photos:  Oxnard Commissioners with Joan Sotiros in the center, holding her commendation; Tom McLaughlin holding his commendation with Commissioner Chair Peggy Rivera.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


“We must do what is most agreeable to God.  Therefore, we must do what our Lord Jesus Christ did when preaching the Gospel. Let us go to the poor.”  - Blessed Frederic Ozanam

Reverend Kevin Collins C.M., celebrated Mass in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's thrift store near downtown Los Angeles to commemorate the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul's founder Blessed Frederic Ozanam, who died September 8,1853.

"Ozanam hoped that everyone in the Society, especially the young, would have the experience of meeting the poor 'on the ground'," said Rev. Collins. 

Ozanam and six friends founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in France in 1833, to serve the impoverished in the slums of Paris. The Society now exists in 142 countries with 1,000,000 members worldwide, with a mission to "seek and find the forgotten, the suffering or the deprived."  Society members are guided by the credo "No Act of Charity is Foreign to the Society."

Most shoppers walked around the Mass, which was attended by 35 Society employees and Vincentian volunteers, but one shopper came and joined in the celebration.  He appeared poor.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Society's David Fields Warmly Received by Oxnard Rotary Club 

Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles' Executive Director David Fields spoke to the Rotary Club of Oxnard September 4, 2012, at the city's Courtyard Marriott. The 33 Rotarians were receptive to Field's message of helping the less-advantaged, including Oxnard Rotary President Cris Fulwider (above with Fields) and Rob Foster who said the society was his only response years ago when he wanted to donate household goods. "None of the charities in the county would come to our house," said Foster. "You guys came, took everything and I knew it would be put to good use." Foster said that while an impoverished college student, he was given items from his local St. Vincent de Paul store, such as cooking utensils, "because the ladies knew I was broke." Foster said he never forgot the Catholic charities' kindness.