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The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a network of friends, inspired by Gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.
This new section will help you get to know our staff, board, volunteers, and partners. This month we are featuring...
Barb Semerad, Ignatian, Volunteer Coordinator
Barbara Semerad is the new Volunteer Coordinator for SVdP and the Holy Family Community Center. Barbara is an Ignatian Volunteer, which is a corp of volunteers over age 50, many who have retired, who commit to serving the underserved. The volunteer work of IVC is guided by the spiritual teachings of St Ignatius of Loyola.
Barb has a background as a Clinical Scientist where she managed search and transplant teams overseeing bone marrow transplants in the US and internationally for the National Marrow Donor Program in Minneapolis. Barb has a graduate degree in leadership and management, and has served on many boards, worked in volunteer administration, and in countless volunteer roles. She has also developed several volunteer programs for nonprofit organizations.
Barb says she feels honored to be a part of the SVdP and Holy Family community, and hopes to expand the volunteer roles, outreach, and connections to a Society with an already rich history of volunteerism. Barb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barb has been a huge blessing in helping us develop a stronger volunteer program. Her expertise will allow us to find, support, and thank all of our wonderful volunteers in better ways than ever.
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CARES ACT FUNDING
In July we were awarded $1 million through the State of Nebraska Coronavirus Relief Fund. This money is intended to help people affected by Covid-19 with things like rent, utilities, and other emergencies. We have already given over $300,000 of that fund, but have not actually received the money from the government yet. KETV covered this story this week.
Your support would help us cover more costs until the grant is distributed in full. Thank you!
This year our Back 2 School Basics program went virtual with online applications and mailed vouchers for everyone's health and safety. This program offers vouchers for families in need to purchase new socks and underwear for their school aged children. This year we had 1079 applications, serving a total of 2542 children. We were overwhelmed by the response and had to turn off the application within two days because we already had more than double the usual number of applicants but only half of the normal funding. Thanks to several very generous donors, we able to honor all of the requests that did come in that time frame, although clearly the need is still present and more than anyone realizes.
HOME VISITS (AND SO MUCH MORE!)
UP Grant Cleaning Supplies Delivery
The cleaning supplies we purchased through a Union Pacific grant were delivered to Evans Tower. Some extra supplies will go to the Empowerment Network to be distributed as needed.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make this happen, especially Conference member Sue Lamczyk!
Parish Community Garden Project
Communities that have robust, sustainable, local sources of food are much more able to withstand unpredictable disruptions in food supplies caused by weather, health, or economic crises. To promote a more reliable source of local food supplies, especially fresh produce across diverse cultural requirements, we are working with The Big Garden, Catholic Charities, Together, and Whispering Roots to establish a partnership to increase the number of community gardens throughout the Omaha metro.
We are asking Catholic parishes across the city, especially those with SVdP conferences, to locate, build, plant, manage and harvest community gardens within their parish boundaries. These gardens will provide fresh vegetables and fruit, principally to food-insecure people in their neighborhoods and then to local food pantries or larger regional pantries. Individual gardeners will be able to harvest some of what they plant for themselves, but the primary goal for each garden is to provide access to local, robust, sustainable, culturally appropriate fresh produce for people in need in Omaha. The garden(s) could be a project for a parish, organizations within a parish, Confirmation groups or on a smaller scale for an individual to grow small gardens at home with the intention of donating the produce as it's harvested.
Would any of our permanent deacons be interested in volunteering to help with either project: starting and working in a local garden and/or helping deliver food from pantries to homebound individuals? Planning for the gardens would begin this fall; the delivery project has already started in a small way and will grow as more people join in. Please contact us if you are interested in participating!
Annual Winter Coat Giveaway Nov. 7th We will need people to host coat drives or otherwise collect winter coats. You can also drop coats at any of our stores or donate money for us to purchase new coats at a discount through the Knights of Columbus. We will also need volunteers for coat sorting, set up and the giveaway, so please contact usif you can help with a drive or volunteering.
This garden was planted in Bennington at one of the scout's grandparents. The troop planted, watered and weeded all summer and has been able to make some nice sized donations of peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and beans to SVdP! All of the produce is being delivered weekly to the St.Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.
You could start your own pantry garden! Give us a call if you need help getting started! 402-779-8499
Current Food Pantry Needs:
Rice, beans, and staples always needed!
Drop off at 2101 Leavenworth Monday or Wednesday
between 8:00 - 11:00 am
PANTRY DRIVE-THROUGH OPEN
2101 Leavenworth Street
TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS 9:00 - 12:30
SVdP Thrift Stores
Store Donation Pickup: Call Monday - Friday 9am-5pm to schedule
5505 N. 90th St | Mon-Sat 9a-8p, Sun 12-5p | 402-502-7837
We are reaching out to neighbors such as the Siena Francis House and other community partners such as the Heart Ministry Center to find ways that we can offer what is needed without stretching ourselves too thin.
We are also excited to be partnering with the Creighton Catholic Social Teaching class to provide service learning opportunities. While working remotely, they are helping research options for us.
Consider hosting a drive to gather socks, underwear, gloves, hats, coats, shirts, pants, and other needed goods or making toiletry bags as a way for your group to support us.