Society of St. Vincent

de Paul Omaha

January 2023 Newsletter

Special Edition

Welcome to our new

Executive Director!


The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha is thrilled to share that we have selected our new Executive Director – Jill Lynch-Sosa – who will begin her tenure on Monday, January 16th.


Jill comes to the Society with a wide variety of professional, educational and personal experiences that are extremely well-suited to help her lead our vibrant, growing non-profit organization into the future. Jill is replacing outgoing Executive Director, Marty Smith, who retired on December 31, 2022, after leading the Society since October 2018.

 

Combining a passion for social justice with a master’s degree in business administration, Jill’s career began as a volunteer for a non-profit organization in Mexico and Guatemala, before working in a variety of leadership positions at three Omaha-area non-profit organizations.


Look for a subsequent email next week which will provide a more detailed professional and personal “snapshot” of Jill, as she begins her new role as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha’s next Executive Director.

 

Please join us in welcoming Jill Lynch-Sosa into our Vincentian family! And, if you wish to welcome Jill to the Society directly, she can be reached at executivedirector@ssvpomaha.org or at 402-779-8499, extension 101.

HOLY FAMILY COMMUNITY CENTER & MINISTRIES

Holy Family - the Newest Joyful Special Work of the Society

of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha 



In November 2018, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha began renting office space in the rectory of Holy Family Catholic Church. In April 2020, as the pandemic hit, the church was closed and Omaha’s Archbishop Lucas asked the Society to care for the 140-year-old building, which was the oldest existing Catholic Church in Omaha and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

More importantly, he charged us with enlivening the Catholic presence and continuing Holy Family’s legacy ministries, welcoming our neighbors in need, many of whom are homeless or sheltered, by giving our friendship, support, and food and clothing. 

SSVP honors Holy Family’s history of service and friendship to the poor through our Sack Lunch, Street Outreach, and Closet Door programs:

 

  • Volunteers from around Omaha continue to work together to prepare about 250 sack lunches each day, given out at our door and driven to parking lots, senior hi-rises, and nonprofit social service organizations in northeast and southeast Omaha, supporting homeless and other Omaha neighbors in need.
  • Our neighbors also still come to us each weekday morning to be given clothing by our teams of volunteers through our "Closet Door" ministry, clothing purchased by donors or shared with us by our SSVP thrift stores.

With the help of countless volunteers doing as much renovation as possible, we have been able to reopen the Holy Family building for a variety of uses:


  • Omaha Alternatives to Violence Project offers its training sessions to the public and to those currently incarcerated.
  • Former Holy Family parishioners and current members of Saint Frances Cabrini meet regularly for faith and fellowship.
  • The Nebraska Criminal Justice Review continues its work as one of the decades-long social justice ministries of Holy Family.
  • SSVP members celebrate Mass and hold meetings and trainings.
  • High school and university students and other adult groups gather for spiritual retreats.
  • Volunteers from Omaha corporations, Creighton University and area high schools find meaningful service, as they interact with and provide support for those living on the edge. 

We have transformed the grounds through natural landscaping and gardening:


  • The Churchyard Community Garden partners with the non-profit organization - Big Garden - to provide raised-bed garden boxes where volunteers and neighbors grow healthy produce for themselves and for our sack lunches.
  • The Giving Grove fruit orchard allows neighbors to pick and eat during harvest.
  • The front lawn is a gathering place to relax under the trees in one of the neighborhood’s few green spaces.
  • We used $3,330 from the Omaha Mayor’s Neighborhood Grant Program to create a sustainable landscape on our grounds.
  • At our Harvest Festival we offered 350 free dinners and hosted three musical performances on the Omaha Mobile Stage.

We share the blessings of our building and grounds by partnering with other groups who also offer help and hope to our neighbors:

 

  • Least of My Brethren offers breakfasts in our social hall.
  • Hope of the Poor provides coffee and friendship on our lawn and in our garage.
  • Aspire of Life sets up tents on our driveway to offer its health and hygiene services.
  • St. Vinny’s Sidewalk Band plays outside weekly during lunch time.
  • Cornerstone Church fires up the grills to cook lunch during the summer months.
  • Cricket Wireless provides cell phones and service through a federal program.
  • The Archdiocesan Black Catholic Implementation Team partnered with us to create the Black Catholic Stories video series filmed in our choir loft. 
  • The Omaha Musicians Association donated Sunday Sessions weekly performances by union musicians and audio technicians.

The use of this beautiful chapel and facility is the perfect venue for our mission to serve and encounter Christ in the poor. Because of this partnership, Hope of the Poor has a vibrant new ministry, and a safe place to host mission trips and volunteers! Not to mention a warm place out of the wind to brew coffee for all our neighbors!

Danny Leger

Hope of the Poor

Least of My Brethren has been so blessed to partner with Holy Family Community Center/Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha. We have made connections with individuals who are working to get off the streets and help them furnish apartments when they are ready. Without the support and partnership of the Holy Family/ Society of St Vincent de Paul community, we would not be able to reach these folks.  


Kathy Wendlandt

Least of My Brethren

Among the blessings SSVP has received through this gift of Holy Family is the lovely, warm upstairs sanctuary. The Chapel is a jewel of a room where we provide sustenance for the heart and soul. At Holy Family, we are committed to providing performance arts and community gatherings, always free to the artists, performers and organizers - and always free admission and open to the public. Some examples:

 

  • Liz Gre’s dazzling performance in The Chapel with Omaha Symphony musicians.
  • Omaha Conservatory of Music’s violin lessons for low-income preschool and elementary students.
  • Creighton University’s Dance Company performance during a three-day event.
  • tbd Dance Collective’s Making Space Dance Festival packed the house with its three-day biennial event, with an audience of over 300.
  • Anastasis Theater brought two of its productions devoted to lifting unheard voices of the unhoused and those in or affected by prison.
  • Great Plains Theatre Commons’ The Guadalupes celebrated Latino family culture.
  • Goldenrod Anecdotalist Society hosted local storytellers during a Moth-style evening.
  • Leadership award-winning artist Alajia McKizia continues to offer food, music, poetry and dance in her Union for Contemporary Arts funded 5-part Sunday Soul series which celebrates Black women’s lives and contributions.
  • Mister K’s Clubhouse performed his song and dance show for children.
  • Tessa Wedberg and friends presented A Journey Through: An Evening of Poetry, Music, Art, Film &Food.
  • Truth Beauty & Goodness presented stories of Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Our Lady of Guadalupe. 
  • Omaha refugee community celebrated Somali Independence Day.
  • Classical string quartets, indie-rock bands, Omaha jazz legends, R’n’B and hip hop musicians have graced the stage.

We have felt extremely welcomed and invited into the Holy Family community.  Their gracious sharing of the beautiful chapel has been a tremendous gift to Omaha Alternatives to Violence Project. 


Suzanne King, President

Omaha Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)

The Anastasis Theatre Co. has a mission to lift unheard voices and to eliminate any barriers to full participation in theatre and storytelling. Holy Family Community Center is a perfect partner because they share these values. The beautiful chapel performance space vibrates with warmth and possibility.

Haley Haas

Anastasis Theatre Company

Working with Holy Family is a delight and provides the type of nourishment that artists, and the wider community thrive on. The leadership team there are deeply kind, supportive, and fully committed to sharing artistic work with everyone.

Kevin Lawlor

Great Plains Theater Commons

Working with Holy Family has been invaluable for our organization and opened the door to countless possibilities for us. Holy Family has been an incredible partner (for our) events, going above and beyond to make sure that people felt welcomed into the space and that we had everything we needed to create meaningful and innovative dance experiences for our community.

Kat Lessor

tbd Dance Collective

@bensemisch from Making Space Dance Festival 2022, produced by tbd. dance collective

We look back now to celebrate and marvel at this journey with the Spirit that brings us to this day.

 

When the COVID pandemic challenged the Holy Family ministries - right about the same time that SSVP assumed responsibility of providing them - we not only continued these service unabated, we also adapted and expanded them. We improved and updated the building. We increased the visibility of Holy Family and raised awareness and support for the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Omaha. We brought young people to us and we collaborated with new partners, both of which are critical to the future of SSVP.

 

We make friends with our neighbors, inviting them to share their lives with us and creating a sense of community on our street, in our building, and among our volunteers.

 

We are excited to continue the legacy of Holy Family and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Omaha, serving those who are impoverished, homeless or lonely by providing friendship, food, clothing and uplifting art experiences here in the historic Near North and the ever-changing North Downtown community. Come explore!

Holy Family provides an important gathering location for creatives, artists and individuals who need to restore and reset their lives. Omaha Mobile Stage saw this first hand during our fall 2022 collaboration with its outdoor Harvest Festival. There is nowhere else in town for the homeless community to be so loved and entertained and without judgement for their life circumstances. 

Jessica Scheuerman

Executive Director, Partners for Livable Omaha

Omaha Mobile Stage

Since SSVP began to be involved with Holy Family, we have supported the following, the vast majority since April 2021:

  • Over 70 events
  • Over 30 meetings or trainings, most of which are held monthly
  • Over 10 ongoing programs run by other groups and nonprofits
DONATE TO HOLY FAMILY TODAY

WE NEED YOUR STUFF!


Ready to purge for the New Year?

Please consider bringing your usable goods to any of our Thrift Stores now.


See our website for more details:

https://www.ssvpomaha.org/thrift-stores.html

WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR FOR YOUR SUPPORT!


The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha cannot serve our neighbors in need without the caring and compassionate support and assistance that we receive from those in our community who share our mission – which is you!


Please know how grateful everyone at SSVP is for the many ways that you partner and interact with our organization, whether it’s by making financial and/or in-kind donations, volunteering with any of our life-giving programs, or praying for the Society and those we serve. ALL of your support makes a real, true and meaningful difference in helping our neighbors facing a financial crisis. Frankly, your support is what makes all of our services possible.


Thank You!

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha at

Holy Family Community Center

1715 Izard St. Omaha, NE 68102

402-779-8499

Help Line 402-346-5445 or helpline@svdpomaha.com

info@svdpomaha.com

www.ssvpomaha.org

www.holyfamilyomaha.org

Supporting our neighbors in need through spirituality, friendship and service; providing emergency food, clothing, financial and in-kind assistance, since 1868

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VOLUNTEER

Please contact SSVP Development Director, Tim Sully, to discuss a variety of charitable donation options, including monthly giving, donating stocks or mutual funds, the IRA Charitable Rollover, as well as planned giving / estate planning possibilities at development@svdpomaha.com!