Conference News and Notes

for Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Sent to all Vincentians & Staff

Vincentian Reflection for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 15, 2023

Gospel: (John 1:29-34) John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, :I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

Reflection: Our baptismal task is continually to deepen our own understanding of who Jesus is and to make him known. We don’t come to a one-time understanding of Christ. Our whole lives are spent beholding the Lamb of God. Like John, we go from not knowing to seeing to testifying. More than likely, we aren’t called to testify to the Son of God by going and baptizing or doing great things. We testify to Jesus’ identity by being faithful to the ordinary things in life, by doing God’s will. The revelation of Jesus’ identity - how he is made known in the world - is mediated by the way we live our lives everyday.

Vincentian Meditation: The fields of battle for Frederic Ozanam were not only the arenas of the poor, but also the milieus of the young whom he served at the university. One day he heard that the public were clamoring for him at the Sorbonne, accusing him of self-indulgence and neglect of duty in being so long absent from his course, when he was paid by the State for giving it. The news stung him to the quick. “I will show them it is not true. I will do honor to my profession!” Bl. Frederic Ozanam (Ramson, Praying with Frederic, p. 102)

In what ways have you testified to Jesus’ identity by being faithful to the ordinary things in life, like Frederic? In what ways will you today and tomorrow?

Your Formation and Training Opportunities & Tips

Accompany with Love – New Prayer Partners: Join with fellow Vincentians, staff, and volunteers over the coming months as we embark upon our next round of “Prayer Partners”. The next quarter will go from the week of 1/23 until Easter Sunday on 4/9/2023. Please accept this invitation to invest some time to get to know a fellow Vincentian, volunteer, or council staff member and accompany one another throughout these coming weeks of the new year and through Lent, leaning on one another as we grow closer in service. If you are looking to join this accompanying ministry, which only takes a few minutes per week, please signup using this link or contact Chris Kelley before Monday, 1/23.


Formation Moment: As mentioned last week, Formation offers us the opportunity to understand the work we do in a new light while also helping us grow or be strengthened for the road ahead. With the new Formation calendar for this year, we are slimming down our options to better accompany you and more directly help you live out the core of our Vincentian life well. To keep you updated on when events will be happening, we encourage you to pay attention to your weekly Conference News and Notes, your bi-monthly Formation Newsletter, regular Formation Postcards, and check out our website to stay informed of updated offerings.


Our Next Ozanam Orientation: The next Ozanam Orientation for new Vincentians, as well as those seeking to reflect more on their Vincentian identity, will be at Good Shepherd (Montgomery/Symmes Township) on Saturday, 2/18, 9:00am-3:00pm.To sign-up, please follow this link here , or reach out directly to Chris Kelley to register. The Ozanam Orientation is a great way to gain a deeper insight into who we are, how we strive to live out our call to serve Christ in our neighbor, and meet Vincentians from across our area. We look forward to seeing you!


Chris Kelley, our Formation and Service Learning Director, can be reached at 513.345.1767 or [email protected]

Sharing the Impact of Your/Our Good Works

Can You Offer a Story?


Efforts are now underway on our District Council’s Annual Report for our 2022 fiscal year which concluded September 30, 2022. Each year, this report highlights our organization’s community contributions & accomplishments, thanks donors for their support, builds trust with our partners, and inspires readers through the mission of our Society...and the zeal with which our Vincentians & staff advance this mission.

Sharing personal stories is a crucial aspect of our annual report. We strive to do so in a spirit of love and in a manner that is respectful of the dignity we all share as children of God. Your help in this effort is deeply appreciated.

We’d like to hear from you - our Vincentians and staff - in one of the following ways: 

  1. “No work of charity is foreign to the Society.” We know there are many forms of support offered to our neighbors that can’t necessarily be captured in a number, chart or graph. Additionally, we know our Vincentians are infinitely inventive in the ways they find to help. We ask you to consider this – “In the past year, how did I find myself providing support in an unexpected way? In what way(s) was I inventive?”
  2. Rising to the challenge. What unexpected challenge did you face last year, and how did you overcome that challenge? This does not necessarily need to be in relation to providing service to a neighbor. In what ways did your Conference grow?

For those who are interested in providing this vital feedback, please reach out to Kristen Gallagher, Marketing & Communications Manager, by email at [email protected] , or through a phone call at 513.562.8853. Kristen is eager to connect with you. Thanks in advance for helping make this Annual Report a more engaging testimonial to our impact and a more compelling call to action for all who value our Vincentian way.

Our District Council's Next Strategic Plan is Taking Shape! 

As SVDP-Cincinnati nears the conclusion of its Upward Together strategic plan, which has been in place since 2018, we are progressing through the creation of our next plan. This plan will take effect at the beginning of fiscal year 2024, which begins on October 1. Your feedback from our recent Vincentian Survey has played a key part in the development of this plan; we thank you for sharing your candid perspectives! In addition to integrating this feedback, the Vision Team leading the creation of this plan includes three Vincentian leaders (Alison Zlatic, CDC President & member of Nativity Conference; Bart Kohler, Vincentian member, St Bartholomew Conference & CDC Board; and Sunnie Johnson-Lain, Spiritual Advisor of St Gertrude Conference, & CDC staff). 

The key areas of focus for this plan, at this time, are:

Relationships: Vincentians and Conferences, spiritual growth, and material support

Roots: Belonging, partnerships, and collaboration

Resources: Responsive and responsible stewardship, optimized systems

We continue to refine the plan; the next step will be to identify specific objectives and action steps. We expect the Board to vote on the plan in June. Between now and then, please look for updates here in your Conference News and Notes to learn about further developments in the plan, including the length of time for which it will be in place. We also hope to hold one or more Strategic Plan Information Sessions for Vincentians this summer; it is critically important that Vincentians are aware of and deeply involved in our plan. 

If you have any questions about our current or future strategic plan, please feel free to contact Sunnie Johnson-Lain at 513.345.4966 or [email protected] .  

Health Helpers from our Charitable Pharmacy


Smoke-Free in 2023

Smoking costs the average smoker nearly $2,000 per year. Research also shows that every cigarette someone smokes reduces their life by 11 minutes. You can save lives and resources by referring neighbors who smoke to our Charitable Pharmacy. Our Charitable Pharmacy is accepting new neighbors to participate in its expanded tobacco cessation program. This program includes:

·    FREE nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum or lozenges)

·    Weekly text reminders

·    Biweekly phone calls

·    Monthly face-to-face counseling

To enroll (and we currently offer rolling open enrollment!), neighbors can come to either location of our Charitable Pharmacy (Neyer Outreach Center or Western Hills Thrift Store) to meet with a pharmacist. They do not need to be certified for other Pharmacy services to participate; this program is open to all who are serious about quitting tobacco products. The next time you discuss budget with our neighbors, try asking the questions, “Want to find some money every month? Want to feel better and live longer? Would you like to be smoke-free in 2023?”

We can help!


Free COVID Tests Available

President Biden approved (in December) another round of free COVID tests for all American households. We've recently experienced the predicted increase in COVID cases as winter weather has pulled us inside and we gathered during the holidays. If you would like to have COVID tests on-hand just in case, you can order four (more) free tests at .

Winter Coat Vouchers

Any Hamilton County resident who has not yet received a coat from St. Vincent de Paul is welcome to come to our Neyer Outreach Center (NOC, 1146 Bank St) to request a coat voucher. These vouchers can be redeemed at our Clothing and Home Resource Center (in our Liz Carter Center, across the street, 1125 Bank St) or any of our 7 SVDP-Cincinnati thrift stores (our Outlet Store on Chickering Avenue excluded). Neighbors must have a photo ID for themselves and any other member of their household for whom they request a coat. Vouchers are good for thirty days after the day they’re written. The last day to redeem coat vouchers will be Tuesday, February 28. We will continue to write vouchers during February, but all February vouchers will have a February 28, 2023 expiration date.

Vincentians may request a coat on behalf of their neighbor using the following process:

·    Check for eligibility in CMS. Neighbors are eligible to receive one coat per household member per winter (from either a voucher or a distribution event). Previous coat assistance is listed in CMS under Programs – Coats through Liz Carter.

·    Email Erin at [email protected] to request a voucher. Please include:

·    The name and date of birth of each household member who will be receiving a coat (including the head of household)

·    Where the voucher should be sent (the address of either the neighbor or the Conference member who will be delivering the voucher)

·    Please ensure that the neighbor is aware they will need some form of ID for each person listed on their voucher. Acceptable forms of ID are listed below, as well as on the voucher itself:

·    Driver’s license or other photo ID (including VESTA card, MARC ID, or work photo ID)

·    Social Security card

·    Birth certificate

·    Medical/Insurance card

·    Lease agreement with household members listed

·    Our Outreach Center Programs team at the NOC will take care of writing and mailing out the voucher, as well as entering the assistance in CMS.

We are still eagerly and thankfully accepting donations of winter coats which will supply these voucher redemptions and provide a start for our winter coats assistance next fall. Huge thanks to all who have donated, have hosted drives, and continue to attract coats.

CMS Tips, Tricks, & Transformations


Release 4.1 of CMS was implemented for our Cincinnati District Council on 1/4/2023. There are 4.1 training videos on our CMS Support Resources page. This release allows for a bit of streamlining during case entry which should help ease the data entry part as well as provide for more consistent closure of cases.


We have a new CMS Statistics report coming soon to the Member Support and Forms page of our SVDP website. This new report is oriented to your Family of Parishes whereas the other CMS Stats report is specific to individual Conferences. Please keep an eye out for this new report, entitled “CMS Statistics – Parish Families”.


Does your Conference need any CMS follow-up training? Want to refine your CMS skills & learn tips to utilize CMS more efficiently and effectively? Ready to embrace & implement CMS if you are a member of the final 6 of our Conferences who are yet to deploy this powerful tool? If so, arrangements can be made by contacting John Wessel @ 513.562.1823 or via email, [email protected] .


Sharing a few lessons learned as we assembled and consolidated our Conferences' reports for FY2022 ended 9/30/2022:

  • In the transitional year your Conference implements CMS, please be sure that you properly sum your pre-CMS activity with the activity you record in CMS from implementation date forward.
  • Please do not record adjustments from the ending balance of a period just completed to the beginning balance of the new period. If you become aware of an adjustment needed (examples: to correct an error or to write off an outstanding check that has never been and will never be presented for payment), the entry needs to be netted in the activity of the current period. Please ask John Wessel or Alec Jewell if you have questions.
  • If your Conference has more than 1 bank account, you need to sum the activity and the balances in your Conference's CMS record. Otherwise, you/we are under-reporting your Conference's (and our Council's) activity and assets. There are very, very few good reasons for your Conference to have more than 1 bank account. This all falls under the guidance of Keep It Simple whenever possible. Questions? Please ask Tom Roberts, Alec Jewell, or John Wessel.


Our 1st quarter of our 2023 fiscal year concluded on December 31, 2022. Please be sure you have completed your CMS entries for all your good works - including the time & mileage you invested in your Vincentian vocation - so your Conference Treasurer can generate quarter-end reports. Treasurers: Please see the CMS training videos (Treasurer section) if you want a refresher on how to close out your check register and generate your quarterly reports. CMS makes these month- & quarterly-end closes so much easier. Want proof? We already have Conferences who have submitted their reports for the quarter ended 12/31/2022 - and it's only 1/11/2023!

Free Income Tax Preparation Services Available

Free Tax Prep, an initiative of United Way of Greater Cincinnati funded by the IRS, provides free (federal & state) income tax preparation and filing services for low to moderate income neighbors residing in our Greater Cincinnati area. These same services are available to neighbors on fixed incomes, neighbors with disabilities, and those with limited English language abilities. To learn more, explore United Way's webpage by clicking here , or calling United Way of Greater Cincinnati's 211 helpline or 513.762.7900. Please also note that United Way is seeking volunteers to help provide this service. More information about volunteering is available at this link to their website page

More Resources for our Conferences and Neighbors


Conference Assistance Fund (CAF)  

Our December activity:

  • You submitted 176 fresh applications
  • We approved 165 applications; 3 were declined and 2 withdrawn
  • These approvals represent approx $73,000 in assistance extended to these 165 neighbor families/households

Our start to January activity:

  • You've submitted 55 fresh applications
  • We've approved 46 applications; 3 have been declined and 0 withdrawn
  • We have 19 applications currently in process

You can check on the status of CAF applications you have submitted by going to the Member Support and Forms page of our SVDP-Cincinnati website and clicking on CAF Application Status, or use this link: .

This resource is reserved for Vincentian members only; access to this resource can not be shared with neighbors, landlords, etc, under any circumstances.

In mid-October, our Council temporarily augmented our original FY2023 CAF budget provision of $60,000 per month. Our Council subsidized $80,000 per month for October, November, & December, 2022. Our Council has also augmented our January budget provision to $80,000. And we carried over under-extended December provisions as the holidays slowed our applications flow. All this should prove handy as we anticipate a surge in requests this month as the winter reality takes hold. Please note:

We can extend this Council subsidy plus any (welcomed and encouraged) twinning to CAF from fellow Conferences. If your Conference is currently blessed with funds exceeding 2-3 months of your normal operating outflow, please know that we have fellow Conferences in search of funds to invest in lifting neighbors right now. Please contact Tom Roberts, 513.345.4910 or [email protected] for more info or to twin.

We continue to encourage you to guide our neighbors to other publicly- & privately-funded resources available within our community...and to nurture relationships that extend well beyond immediate basic needs (material) assistance to provide lasting impact.


Publicly-Funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA 2)

ERA 2, funded through the City of Cincinnati, was available for qualified/eligible tenant neighbors who reside within the City of Cincinnati. The City's funding was committed to us only through December, 2022. We (Conferences) processed and approved 132 ERA 2 applications (of 139 submitted) which resulted in $398,488 in assistance to our neighbors. (These totals have been revised since last week as we successfully got a last one in "at the buzzer".) Huge thanks to those Conferences and Vincentians who submitted ERA 2 applications...and to Olivia, Alec, Mary Reid, and our Finance team for turning these applications into assistance extended to our neighbors.

We will share any new developments as they present themselves.

Rahe Beds Fund & Program

As we reported via email to Conference Presidents and bed coordinators, we are currently unable to redeem bed vouchers, due to supply chain issues with our new beds vendor. We have received the mattresses, but are still awaiting the delivery of the frames. Our hope is that they will arrive by the end of this week. We will send another email as soon as we’re able to start redeeming vouchers. Any vouchers with a January 2023 expiration date will be able to be redeemed through the end of January.

Due to the shipping delay, we have held off on printing the January vouchers. They will be printed and distributed as soon as we have the beds to fulfill them. Thanks for your patience in this matter.

If your Conference is considering purchasing beds to extend as assistance, you can get info, including current pricing, or purchase by contacting Dave Chidlow, Stores Retail Resource Manager, at [email protected] or 513.853.1002. Your purchased beds will be picked up at our CHRC within our Liz Carter Center. Please be aware that the bed pricing will change slightly with our new bed vendor.

A limited number of cribs are available for neighbors with children younger than two. They can be requested by emailing [email protected] with the neighbor’s name, date of birth, and address.

Do you have questions about our Rahe Beds Fund & Program?

You can find the most updated Bed Fund Conference Guide in the Members section of the SVDP website. Our online request form can be found here .

Metro Bus Passes (Everybody Rides Metro)

Your Conference has access to Metro single-day bus passes to be extended to neighbors for use for any of 3 defined purposes:

1. Commute to/from new employment

2. Commute to/from our Bank St services hub or other community social services

3. Commute to/from medical appointments

Please understand that these passes are sourced through the Everybody Rides Metro program and our Council is required to comply with the above-referenced usages and submit reports of passes distributed. Please also understand that your Conference will need to record bus passes extended in CMS for the neighbors receiving this assistance. Our Bus Pass Guidelines sheet for Conferences is available to you on the Members Support page of our website

or use this link to go directly to this document:

If your Conference wants to learn more about this program or request passes, please contact Alec Jewell, Conferences Manager, at [email protected] or 513.345.4983.


Our Re-Entry Program

Our Re-Entry Program Manager, Dion Crockett, is eager to work with you to assist neighbors you are serving who have been affected by the criminal justice system. If you would like to host Dion at a Conference meeting, get together with him in another way, or discuss a particular situation, Dion can be reached at 513.562.8851 or [email protected]


Cooking Improv with La Soupe

Our partner La Soupe teams with our Catino Choice Pantry to present monthly Cooking Improv demonstrations in the Teaching Kitchen at our NOC. Instructors from La Soupe and volunteers engage participants on basic cooking principles and how to use what you have to create delicious, nutritious meals. All recipes are based off ingredients found daily in our Catino Choice Pantry. Neighbors are encouraged to sample the delicious dishes and discuss preparation and ingredients with our staff, volunteers, and resident La Soupe instructor, Chef Mona! 

These sessions are held on the first Wednesday of each month - which means our next event is Wednesday, 2/1, 11am-1pm. No pre-registration is required.

Feel free to share this information with your neighbors, or if you’re interested in getting involved in our Teaching Kitchen programming, please reach out to Demi Schoenherr at [email protected] for more information. ​

Haircuts from the Heart in our NOC

This is a free haircut program, courtesy of our partner Franciscan Ministries. Stylist Margarita will be in our NOC on the first and second Monday of each month, 9am-noon, cutting hair in a room on the 2nd floor. Our next haircut date is Monday, 2/6. Neighbors are accepted on a walk-in basis, and should sign in at our NOC reception desk upon arrival.


Education Center Within Our Neyer Outreach Center

Our NOC Education Center is available for our neighbors and Vincentians to use during our operating hours: Monday - Friday, 8am - 4pm, and Saturday, 8am - noon.


Language Service Available to our Conferences

A growing number of our Conferences are experiencing increased interactions with Latino members of our community…and are struggling to effectively communicate with neighbors who are most fluent or exclusively fluent in Spanish. We have contracted a dedicated language service to help you engage these neighbors in a welcoming, affirming manner. Any Conference member can download the “LanguageLine InSight” app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer at . You simply need to use the Authentication Code 6NN692GLS2 the first time you login. Through this app you will have access to over 40 different languages, including Spanish, via an interpreter. You will have the option of either audio or visual (for those needing sign language); we strongly encourage using visual only when you must. Please be efficient in your utilization as our Council pays by the minute for this service; visual is nearly twice as expensive as audio. When you access the service, you will be asked for your name and department, you simply need to state your name, then “St Vincent de Paul Cincinnati Conferences”, then your Conference name. Be sure to only call through the app; you cannot use this service through a regular phone call.

Our Charitable Pharmacy, Social Services, and some Conferences are already using this tool to better engage our Latino neighbors.

If you have any questions or are having trouble accessing the service, please reach out to Alec or Olivia of your Conferences Support Team.

A final seed to plant: If your Conference is among those engaging more neighbors preferring or needing to communicate in Spanish, please consider this an opportunity to seek the addition of Spanish-speaking members. This could enhance your responsive communication and expand your Conference’s perspective.


Christ Church Plumb Line

Christ Church Cathedral is once again accepting our referrals after their holidays break.

Olivia Scheper, Conferences Support Coordinator, is our central contact point-person. Plumb Line only accepts assistance referrals from this single SVDP point-person.

As a reminder, Plumb Line can assist with $400 of past due rent for neighbors who are currently working.

Please note: Your Conference does not need to enter your request for Plumb Line assistance into CMS when you submit it to Olivia. Olivia will add the referral into CMS once she submits it to Christ Church.  

All referrals to Plumb Line should be sent to:

Olivia Scheper

[email protected]

Phone: 513.345.4986, ext 239

Please understand and have faith: Plumb Line only communicates with the landlord and the neighbor after our referral is made. Therefore, once we have submitted your neighbor referral to Plumb Line, no news is good news. Christ Church will only communicate with us when they are unable to assist a neighbor or there are difficulties with a case. We should not contact Christ Church for status reports on a referral.


Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW)

GCWW's Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program provides funds for assistance for eligible tenants residing in the City of Cincinnati. There are eligibility stipulations. Tenants must qualify by completing an online application at .

Renters can also call 513.591.7700 to receive assistance from the call center to complete an application. There is also a flexible payment plan through the PromisePay Portal. GCWW customers can visit for details about the program and how to enroll. Renters not residing in Cincinnati city limits but living in Hamilton County can visit for utility assistance. If you need additional materials or information, please contact GCWW at [email protected] .


Duke Energy

Duke Energy has released an updated summary of Financial Assistance Available for Ohio & Kentucky Natural Gas and Electric Customers. To learn more, go to the Duke Energy website, click on the Financial Help tab, and then click on Ohio.

Duke encourages us to follow our standard steps for processing pledges on customer accounts. For questions on accounts or pledges for neighbors requesting utility assistance, please contact Duke Energy's Centralized Agency Team at 800.241.3194. Advocates are available Monday through Friday, 7:30am - 5:30pm.

Should our neighbor / their customer not meet Duke's qualifications for assistance, please refer them to Duke's customer care organization at 800.544.6900 where they may find assistance through a flexible installment plan.


State of Ohio Program for Struggling Homeowners

Save the Dream Ohio helps eligible Ohio homeowners facing foreclosure and/or who cannot afford to pay their mortgage payments, utility payments or other related housing costs as a result of economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The state of Ohio was awarded $280 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for the program. Click here for more information:

Save the Dream Ohio - Managed by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (


Hamilton County COVID Assistance

Our neighbors & you can still find info and resources at . Hamilton County has recently refreshed funding at Hamilton County Job & Family Services (JFS). Neighbors can apply at on their mobile device or desktop. The Hamilton County Rent and Utility Program’s application can be submitted on a smart phone. Please note: this funding comes from the same federal pool as ERA and other COVID relief programs, so a neighbor who has previously exhausted their access to this pool will be ineligible. Community Action Agency (CAA) also has COVID relief funding through the City of Cincinnati. Please refer eligible neighbors to either or both of these service organizations.  


Cincinnati Eye Institute Foundation (CEIF) Vision Clinic in our Neyer Outreach Center

The Vision Clinic operates by appointment on certain Monday mornings & Thursdays as designated by CEIF. This Vision Clinic will be open on Thursdays only this month and in February; dates: all day tomorrow (1/12); the morning of 1/19; all day on 1/26; the morning of 2/2; all day on 2/9; the morning of 2/16; and all day on 2/23. A limited number of walk-in exams can also be accommodated. To schedule an appointment, or to inquire for additional info, please call 513.207.6140.

Closing Tidbits on Your Conference News and Notes

  • We are averaging approx 930 successful deliveries of our weekly editions, mailing to Conference Members, Conference Presidents, and Bank St Staff via Constant Contact
  • We get excited every time we add a new Conference or Team Member to our Vincentian family and our distribution list
  • We are consistently achieving open rates of 50% or better of successful deliveries, with the vast majority being in the first 3 days of distribution
  • Approx 95% of our “opens” are reported by Constant Contact as occurring on desktop devices vs 5% on mobile devices
  • In November & December, we had 3 editions which were opened by > 500 recipients, a new threshold for us

We thank you for your readership - we welcome your feedback to Tom Roberts at 513.345.4910 or [email protected] - and we are eager for your content, including pictures, to make this weekly connection all the more relevant and empowering for you!

Our Mission

A network of neighbors, inspired by Gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.

Our Call to Prayer


Jesus, in the waters of the Jordan, you were consecrated as God’s Beloved, and now we pray,

Spirit of God, fill us with zeal.

You call us to be people of courage,

Jesus, send forth your spirit of freedom.

You call us to consecrate ourselves to the poor,

Jesus, send forth your spirit of love.

You call us to bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted,

Jesus, send forth your spirit of healing.


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