Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha September 2022 Newsletter

Tuesday September 27

Feast of St Vincent de Paul

Mass and Reception 

Holy Family Community Center 1715 Izard St. 

5:00 Mass, 6:00 Reception 

Yours must be a work of love, of kindness, you must give your time, your talents, yourselves. The poor person is a unique person of God’s fashioning with an inalienable right to respect.

- Frederick Ozanam

As the difficulties increase around us, we are tempted to focus more and more on the logistics of problem solving – how can we help more people? How can we find more money to support their financial challenges? How can we connect people in need with the professionals who can most help them escape the causes of their plight?

Frederick Ozanam, one of the founders of the Society, captured the essence of how our “service” is different. We are called to give of ourselves, to a genuine relationship with the other; to see Christ in the other and to let them see Christ in us.

We have much to learn from the poor. “In their difficul­ties [the poor] know the suffering Christ.…We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to em­brace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them.” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 198.)

As you’ll read in this newsletter, in our encounters with our neighbors that special, even mysterious, relationship comes through. Consider how it may come through in you, in your daily life and in connection with the Society. - Marty Smith, Executive Director


Does Your Support Truly Make an Impact?

Renae Knows Better Than Anyone


A couple of weeks ago, a Help Line Vincentian volunteer was monitoring incoming communications and took a phone call from a woman named Renae. Renae was calling our Help Line, as she has recently been experiencing terrible financial difficulties and hardship, to the point that she was fearful of even possibly becoming homeless. Renae needed assistance – from someone, from anyone – and had pretty much lost hope that that might happen.


Renae’s experience with our Helpline Vincentian volunteer epitomizes the core values and mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul – which is for our Vincentians to be of service to, and to make a real connection with those most in need in the community – and to grow in holiness through this ministerial relationship.


Below is an email message from Renae, which our staff received, following her phone call to the St. Vincent de Paul Help Line:


I sent a message to your helpline not knowing who, if anyone, would respond. I think more than anything else I just need to get everything off my chest that was weighing so badly on my heart and body. Right away I got a message back, instructing me to call the helpline, which I did. A very nice woman with a soft-spoken, soothing voice answered almost immediately. I just want to say what a great feeling it was to have someone who – I could tell – actually cared about listening to me.


I’m not Catholic, but I am a person who is scared to death right now. I’m a single mom, with three children, am disabled, due to a car accident, and about to have a major back surgery. I lost my job during the pandemic and, to top it off, someone recently stole the catalytic converter from our car, and now it doesn’t run at all. My bills having been piling up, utilities are about to get disconnected and I’m feeling lost, so lost that sometimes I don’t even know if I should be in this world anymore because I don’t know what to do. I feel like my kids deserve better because there’s nothing I can do about my situation…physically, mentally, emotionally. I’ve felt 100% hopeless.


I had messaged countless places that claim to be able to help, only to go onto their websites and all you see is information on how to donate, where to donate, and how much money they have raised. But on those sites I could never find even a paragraph about how to get the kind of help I needed. I left messages on those sites, requesting assistance, but no one ever got back to me. Not one of them. I have never had to ask for help before, and having to do so has hurt my pride, severely. I walk with my head held down instead of up


But I do want to say to all of you at St. Vincent de Paul - Thank You! Thank you for listening, thank you for having volunteers and thank you to all of those volunteers that are there literally to listen and help…on their own free time. The nice woman I spoke with even shared with me a bit about her own life….that her husband had passed away, and she was volunteering because she enjoyed it so much.


By the end of our conversation, I did have peace of mind knowing that there are still good people in this world, and that I can have faith in humanity – something I was starting to truly question. Your kind volunteer gave me hope and rejuvenated me. And I just wanted to say thank you for that. Based on of my conversation with that St. Vincent de Paul volunteer, I am convinced that yours is the most genuine organization in this community!


Sincerely, Renae


Following that Help Line phone call, Renae was put in touch with SVdP volunteers who have helped her obtain the financial resources she so badly needed, including paying her recent water and electric bills, as well as offering her $100 vouchers at our Thrift Stores, along with a Target gift card (which she used to purchase back-to-school items for her children).


So, yes, your support really does make a difference to people who are truly in need. The kind of situation that Renae found herself in could really happen to anyone – and often does – as our Vincentian volunteers know so very well. So, on behalf of Renae, her kids, and the thousands of individuals and families we serve each year, thank you for support of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha.



Are you a good listener? We are searching for volunteers to return calls to those who reach out to us in their time of need. Time commitment is as little or as much as you would like and can be performed at your home or at the district office. Plenty of training and mentorship is available.

We have many other ways to volunteers with us as well. From our Thrift Stores to Gardens to the Food Pantry to special events. 

Contact us today!




8:00am - 1:00pm

New location: Omaha Home for Boys

Coat collection drives and volunteer sign ups start now!

Call the office more info: 402-779-8499



Current Pantry needs include:

  • large diapers (sizes 4, 5, and 6)
  • hygiene products
  • toilet paper
  • sauces (e.g. ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, etc.)
  • baking mix
  • canned fruit

Drop off donations on Monday and Wednesday mornings at the Pantry 2101 Leavenworth St.


Northwest Store:


5505 N. 90th St

Mon-Sat 9a-6p



Downtown Store:

2101 Leavenworth St

Mon-Sat: 9a-6p 


Papillion Store:

807 Tara Pl

Mon-Sat 9a-6p


West Center Store:

12301 W Center Road

Mon-Sat 9a-8p

Sun 12p-5p, also donation drop off


Check out our website for more information on volunteering, donating, and more!

Visit our Website

Let It Be(es)

at St. Vincent de Paul!

 Early last month, approximately 150,000 new residents moved into St. Vincent de Paul’s Holy Family Community Center. There’s no reason to be alarmed by such an influx, though, as each and every one of these – honey bees, distributed among three hives – was very much invited to be here by our Churchyard Community Garden Coordinator, Chris Combs (pictured, next to a hive).


The backstory for the presence of these bees is part of a larger story related to our community garden. For the past couple of years, Chris has been working hard to ensure that our ever-expanding garden is planted with vegetables, flowers and native grasses which he knew would “thrive” in this climate. A grant from Mayor Jean Stothert’s “Neighborhood Grants Program” also helped fuel this effort.


Earlier this year, a mutual friend of Chris and Mark Welsch (a local climate crisis / community health advocate and avid beekeeper – aka “apiarist” – pictured, holding a panel of bees) introduced the two. Knowing the important role that bee pollination plays in a successful garden, Chris asked Mark about the possibility of moving some of his bees to St. Vincent de Paul. Mark toured our site and agreed to bring several colonies of bees to our campus. With the formal approval of the Douglas County Health Department, Mark began planning the move. Since August 7th, these 150,000 bees have been making themselves at home, transferring pollen among our many plants, allowing them to successfully grow seeds and fruit.


The homeless and non-homeless `neighbors’ who visit St. Vincent de Paul – often requesting a sack lunch or emergency clothing – seem to like the idea of having bees nearby. States Chris: “Hey, like anybody else, these folks realize how vital bees are to the growth of every community, including ours here at SVdP. I’m definitely `all in’ on these bees, and truly appreciate the role they play in our garden.”


The current plan is to keep these bees at St. Vincent de Paul for a very long time. And, for as long as these bees remain on our grounds, we know that our community garden will continue to flourish. Please feel free to stop by for a tour of our community garden and say hello to its newest residents!


Van Update


In our recent summer financial appeal to donors, St. Vincent de Paul’s Executive Director, Marty Smith, included a note about the state of disrepair of our organization’s two aging cargo vans – and asked for financial help in replacing them with either new or slightly used ones.


Having reliable cargo vans is absolutely essential to fulfilling our mission, as our staff utilizes them 5-6 days a week, to:

  • Pick up and deliver food from the Food Bank, grocery stores and other food-providers for use in our Pantry and in our Holy Family Ministry’s Sack Lunch Program.
  • Deliver meals to the homeless and to individuals & families living in affordable, low-rent housing apartment complexes.
  • Move donated clothes from our warehouse to our Holy Family Ministry’s “Closet Door”.
  • Pick up other in-kind donations in the community.

Moved by Marty’s note – and, no doubt, the Holy Spirit – a number of donors got in touch with him and donated approximately $100,000…which was enough to purchase one used, 2-year old cargo van with low mileage and one brand new cargo van. The donor who contributed the largest amount worked with Marty to ensure his gift would not only cover the purchase of the new van, but would also pay for its taxes and undercoating, along with wrapping both vans with our organization’s name and logo.


We have already taken ownership of the used cargo van (pictured) and are currently using it, daily. The new cargo van is on back order, and we are looking forward to utilizing it, as well – when it arrives in 4-6 months!


Needless to say (but, we’ll say it anyway)…We are SO very grateful for these donors to the cargo van fund, and to ALL donors to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha. We cannot fulfill our mission of serving the poorest of our community without your support. Nearly all of the contributions to our organization come from compassionate members of our community, like you! 


Sunday Soul

Pt. 1: Keeping Grace in Mind

Sunday September 17


Sunday Soul is a five part performances series hosted at Holy Family Community Center in Omaha Nebraska. Sunday Soul will occur on 5 Sundays beginning in Fall 2022 and is focused on centering women artists while providing events free to the community.

AVP Workshops

The Omaha Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) is offering a

Making Friends with Conflict workshop

at Holy Family Community Center, 1715 Izard, Omaha.

Participants will discover their personal style for dealing with conflict and learn about how it affects their daily life. We'll achieve this with a mini-quiz, exploring conflict styles, and small and large group discussions. At the end of the workshop, participants will have an opportunity to continue discovering new methods of how to change lives through future AVP non-violence workshops.

Workshop dates (choose 1):

Sept 17 2:30 - 4:30

Oct 8  2:30 - 4:30

Oct 16  2:30 - 4:30

Participation is limited to 30. Registration/questions:

tbd dance collective presents

Dance Club! 

Saturday September 24


Come dance with us! This high energy class is for anyone interested in moving their bodies together. This is not a technique class, or a class to be taken too seriously - it is meant to be fun, and a way for people to move together in a judgement free atmosphere. The style of movement and technique typically lives somewhere between modern and contemporary dance. 

For those joining us virtually, make sure you have a space in your home that you can move around in - you don’t need a large amount of space, but enough to move freely without running into furniture. Movement can be modified to fit any size of open space.





on the Omaha Mobile Stage!

Free food and alcohol-free drinks for all!


 Mr. K's Clubhouse providing fun for kids and adults

Hip hop artist Jesus LilBrother

Irish band Danny Leger and Easter Rising

Omaha indie favorites, Hartford/Focht

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Omaha at
Holy Family Community Center
1715 Izard St. Omaha, NE 68102
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