SVdP–USA Disaster Services Holds “Better Together” Event

SVdP–USA Disaster Services Holds “Better Together” Event 640 480 SVDP USA

Dear Vincentians,

Recently, SVdP Disaster Services Corporation held a “Better Together” Long-Term Recovery Committee event. Long-term recovery groups, disaster case management agencies, and community-based organization that had actively been involved in recovery efforts for Hurricanes Ian and Nicole gathered at the American Red Cross of Greater Orlando. Hosted by Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Florida VOAD), in partnership with World Renew, the event showcased the power of collaboration in building resilient communities.

Notably, the event featured distinguished presentations from UMCOR (The United Methodist Committee on Relief) and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. The “Better Together” event was designed to provide a platform for stakeholders to come together, exchange knowledge, and participate in valuable training sessions. Through interactive workshops and networking opportunities, attendees gained valuable insights into improving long-term recovery frameworks across Florida.

Impact of Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on southwest Florida and  damages totaled more than $112 billion, making it the costliest hurricane in Florida’s history and the third-costliest in United States history. Hurricane Ian was responsible for over 150 deaths, with the passage of the storm through Cuba and the southeastern United States being particularly deadly. Florida was the hardest hit, where 149 people died, the majority from drowning in the high storm surge.

Addressing the Needs of Families

One of the key topics covered during the Better Together event was “The Big Picture – Families in Need.” Participants explored the unique challenges faced by families affected by the hurricanes and brainstormed innovative solutions to better serve them in their journey towards recovery.

Building the Puzzle of Coordination

Another crucial aspect of the event was “The Puzzle – How Do We Coordinate Together.” Recognizing that effective collaboration is essential in disaster recovery, participants engaged in discussions to identify best practices and strategies for working together seamlessly.

Uniting at the Unmet Needs Table

To strengthen the response to unmet needs, participants took part in a tabletop exercises titled, “Coming Together at the Unmet Needs Table.” Through this exercise, participants collectively explored ways to enhance support and resources for those still in need after Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. In the face of this unprecedented disaster, the “Better Together” Long-Term Recovery Committee emerged as a unifying force. The event was a powerful platform for stakeholders to unite, exchange knowledge, and strengthen their efforts towards long-term recovery.

Leadership and Guidance

The training sessions were led by Shanon Granado, Regional Program Manager for the Disaster Case Management program in Florida. With vast experience in Disaster Case Management and a background in leading FEMA-funded state programs, Shanon’s expertise greatly enriched the discussions and activities during the event.

SVdP–USA Disaster Services Corporation, SVDP-USA’s Impact

As a key participant, the SVdP–USA Disaster Services Corporation played a crucial role in supporting the community through this event. They were actively engaged in the training, workshops, and networking opportunities, reaffirming the organization’s commitment to being there for those in need. At Disaster Services Corporation, we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting communities affected by natural disasters. Our dedication to the well-being and resilience of the communities we serve remains unwavering.

Special Thanks

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Shanon Granado for her leadership, and we appreciate the enthusiastic engagement and contributions of all participants, including Long-Term Recovery Groups, Disaster Case Management Program Agencies, and Community-Based Organizations, which made the event a resounding success.

Looking Ahead

The “Better Together” Long-Term Recovery Committee marks the beginning of a collaborative effort to strengthen Florida’s long-term recovery framework. We are excited about the positive impact we can collectively make in the lives of families affected by hurricanes.

Stay tuned for further updates and upcoming events as we continue to work together towards a better, more resilient Florida.

Thank you for your continued support in our mission to make a difference in the lives of those affected by disasters. Together, we are truly “Better Together.”

SVdP and Other Groups Band Together to Assist Flood Victims

SVdP and Other Groups Band Together to Assist Flood Victims 1264 942 SVDP USA

Today, we bring you an inspiring tale of resilience and community support following the recent flash flooding that wreaked havoc in the Cicero, Stickney, Berwyn, and Austin areas of Chicago.

At the beginning of July, the Chicago area faced an unexpected and severe flash flood, with a staggering 0.5 inches of rain falling every 10 minutes. The impact was devastating, leaving thousands of people grappling with the aftermath of major flooding in their homes and neighborhoods.

An estimated 15,000 individuals were affected by this natural disaster, with homes inundated and streets rendered impassable. The devastation was widespread, with approximately 4,600 homes completely destroyed by the floodwaters.

The resource center, which was made possible by the Town of Cicero’s sponsorship, saw an overwhelming turnout, with between 3,000 to 5,000 families seeking assistance. The spirit of unity and compassion was evident as neighbors and volunteers worked hand in hand to help their fellow community members.

In the face of such adversity, the communities came together to extend a helping hand to those in need. The Town of Cicero, Stickney, and Berwyn, along with the Austin area in Chicago, united to support the affected individuals and families. It was a testament to the strength and compassion that resides within the hearts of these communities.


During this challenging time, Church World Service stepped in to provide aid and donated the much-needed cleanup kits. Although the local Conference of St. Vincent de Paul did not directly provide the kits, they played a crucial role by connecting Church World Service with the impacted communities. The relief effort required a 501(c)(3) organization to sign off on the donation, and the St. Vincent de Paul Conference facilitated this process, allowing the support to reach those in need.


One of the driving forces behind the coordination and assistance efforts was Joe Butkovich of the SVdP Council of Joliet, a dedicated individual who serves as the Vice Chair of the NE IL COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disasters). Joe also plays a crucial role in the long-term recovery board of NVOAD (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). His expertise and commitment have been instrumental in ensuring effective disaster case management and guiding the recovery process.

As the affected communities slowly move towards recovery, it’s important to acknowledge that establishing the Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG) is a work in progress. These efforts take time, and the collaboration and cooperation of all stakeholders are essential to ensure a comprehensive and effective recovery plan.

Though the road to recovery may be long, the spirit of community support, resilience, and generosity shines brightly in the face of adversity. We stand in awe of the compassion and unity displayed by the Town of Cicero, Stickney, Berwyn, and the Austin area in Chicago during this trying time.

Together, as a united community, we can overcome any obstacle that comes our way. Let us extend our thoughts and support to those affected by the floods and continue to stand by them throughout their journey to recovery.

Thank you for being part of our compassionate and caring community. To support communities like Joe’s please visit www.svdpdisaster.org to support our efforts.


08-03-2023 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

08-03-2023 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 1080 1080 SVDP USA

I once drove my AP English teacher Ms. Alvarez a bit crazy. She had just assigned us each to write a 2000-word essay on some subject I have blissfully forgotten. At a break, I privately asked her why we had a minimum word requirement. Could I submit fewer words if I conveyed my message in a shorter essay? After her shock subsided, she said that the word count was needed to make us better writers. I replied that I was actually more interested in being a better communicator. Wouldn’t making my point more concisely be a better career skill unless I had a job where I was paid by the word? She agreed to think about it, but meanwhile, start writing, bucko.

The next day she agreed to my odd request but warned that if I didn’t make my points well, then wasting those available words would lower my grade. Fair enough, I thought, and agreed to her other term that I couldn’t tell the other students about our agreement. Maybe she was the one getting paid by the word – ours!

As Vincentians we are blessed with a long and successful history. We benefit from the work, policies, and traditions that precede our Society experience. Yet we still owe it to ourselves, and especially to those we serve, to ask if any of it should change. I don’t suggest radical revolution, but thoughtful discernment into why we do what we do, and especially why “we have always done it this way.”

Indeed, every human advancement, innovation, and invention started with question “why,” or its corollary, “why not.” We learn the question when very young, asking “Why?” in response to every answer from our parents until natural curiosity is replaced with begrudging acceptance either of “Because I said so,” or “Never mind, just eat those carrots!” We slowly learn to just get along and agree to things the way they are.

Change often comes from major disruptions. New thinking is required to react to some new threat, such as competition or a lost resource.  Some brave souls on their own break the bonds of sameness and innovate or create. They must deal with those who fear and resist change, and those who agree with the change but don’t want to do any extra work required to effect it.  That’s why we say “Change is tough. You go first!”

Soon we will have a new National President and new National Council Board of Directors. Every year, between one-third and one-sixth of our Councils also have new local Presidents. Leadership change is a natural time in which to consider – not always change – how we operate, how we govern, and even how we pray as the Society. It’s a healthy process when we do it together. It can be disastrous when left to individuals! Operating through consensus gives us better opportunities to hear all views, and to understand the reasons why we operate as at present.

Often, radical change is unnecessary and more traumatic to the system than continuous improvement, or at least continuous evaluation. Our Councils and Conferences can usually absorb change more easily than experiencing a sudden stop and re-start. This is crucial when intending to keep serving our neighbors in need during any change cycle. They should not suffer from our change process; in fact, whenever possible we want them to be the beneficiaries!

Whether you are a leader or a member of your Conference, sit back with a cold summer beverage and ponder. What could we do better? How can the Society attract more members to grow spiritually, or serve more people in need, or create better opportunities for friendships when we meet? If these Essential Elements are too weighty at first, start smaller. How can we make our Conference meetings more effective, or fun? Why do we have that process to do whatever it is that bugs you right now? How can we be a better voice, or provide a better voice, for the poor?

How will we celebrate our asking? How do we make questioning a positive experience for ourselves and our fellow members? How can we together question backward to improve our Vincentian lives forward?

Please be cautioned that when exploring why we have such Society rules and customs, we might just find that our founders and later leaders had it right! Affirmation that we are doing the best we can is an important element of a successful evaluative process.

I usually aim for 800 words for these Servant Leader columns. This week I didn’t need them all. Please don’t tell Ms. Alvarez!

Yours in Christ,
Dave Barringer

Stores Corner — Why Thrift Stores?

Stores Corner — Why Thrift Stores? 1080 1080 SVDP USA

Written by: Don Schiffgens, Southeast Region, Diocese of Palm Beach

Funding the SVDP mission — We are certainly blessed to have so many sources for funding our mission including grants, parish collections, our benefactors, various fundraisers like the Friends of the Poor Walk, various special works, etc. One of the biggest sources of revenue for many Conferences and Councils is our Thrift Stores. In my home state of Florida, Thrift Stores in the fiscal year ended September 2022 reported $12.4 million dollars of revenue from 31 stores having a combined surplus of nearly $3 million to assist our Neighbors in Need.

Eco friendly — As we know, it’s all about our environment these days as we see electric cars, energy saving appliances, solar power, etc. Thrift stores do their part in saving our environment by extending the lives of produced products and landfills. Many used commodities that come to our stores are repurposed and sold. Many of our stores rag out to the world textile market.

Vogue — Thrift stores are part of a multi-billion dollar growing industry. Thrifts are prevailing, they are in fashion and provide a fun place to shop for value and diversity.

Employment — Stores provide jobs! In our recent annual reporting cycle, my state of Florida reported $3.8 million in paid wages and benefits providing income for 150 employees and their families. Many stores provide work opportunities and new job skills for community service workers.

Value — Stores offer value to their customers and especially in difficult times. Shoppers are looking to best utilize the declining value of their dollars i.e. thrift stores. Stores also provide a myriad of in-kind donations at no or little cost to thousands of needy families.

I remember seeing a sign on a store entrance door several years ago at the annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin that said it quite well: “Help your budget, help your environment, and help your neighbor in need.”

Lord, we thank you for the many blessings provided by our Thrift Stores!

If you are considering a new store please contact the store committee for assistance: jbeamguard@svdpusa.org.

The National Assembly is fast approaching in September. If you haven’t made plans to attend, we hope you sign up for the day-long Stores Meeting on September 6, 2023 in St. Louis, MO. You will leave this meeting with valuable information to take back to your store.

Here is our agenda for the National Stores Committee Day on Wednesday, August 6
Rooms G & H
THEME: National Store — Success

  • Opening prayer- Agenda for the day 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
  • Motivational Speaker- Dr Snyder- Director of Phoenix Dental Clinic 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Q & A
  • Working Lunch with Executive Directors 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
  • Break 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
  • Stores Committee Members Presentations: 2:00 PM – 3:45 PM
    • Staffing and Donations
    • Productivity and Point of Sale
    •  Innovations
    • Future of National Stores
    • Drawing for prizes will occur after Committee Member Presentations. Must be present to win!

Prizes to include:

  • $250 Amazon Gift Card
  • Trip for 1 to attend the 2024 National Assembly in Phoenix (Restrictions Apply)
  • Trip for 1 to attend training at the National Training Store in Avondale, AZ (Restrictions Apply)
  • Dinner for 2 ($200 value) Executive Director group only

The morning will start with a motivational message from Dr. Snyder-Director of the Phoenix Dental Clinic. This will be followed by important information about the National Training Store’s growth and success in Phoenix during the last three years. You will hear valuable information that could help your store grow just like the National Store has grown. You will hear two testimonials from Rick Bologna & Bryan Engle about their experience either visiting the National Training Store or who requested Jeff Beamguard to visit their store to do an assessment.

The afternoon will be dedicated to hearing information about store staffing, increasing donations, profitability, Point-of-Sale (POS), sharing of innovative ideas to think of new ways to serve and information about a future National Training Store in Fairview, IL.

For those attending the Stores Meeting in its entirety on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, they will be eligible for the door prizes shown on the agenda.

You don’t want to miss out!!

Please encourage your store personnel to subscribe to the e-Gazette, by emailing mboyer@svdpusa.org.

If you have a topic that you would like addressed in a future Stores Corner article, please e-mail our Jeff Beamguard, National Director of Stores Support at jbeamguard@svdpusa.org.

A Week in Prayers June 5 – June 9

A Week in Prayers June 5 – June 9 1080 1080 SVDP USA

Monday, June 5

Jesus Christ, Son of Man,
Through Your endlessly inventive love
You remain present
In the bread of the Eucharist
And in the person of the neighbor.
Heal my soul, O Lord,
So that I may be worthy to receive You
And to serve You.

Tuesday, June 6

Holy Spirit, Breath of God,
Present in the quiet hours,
Like the morning mist
Above the grass.
Fill me with every breath.
Remain present to me,
Just as the mist remains
When made clear
By the Light of the World.

Wednesday, June 7

Heavenly Father, I give You my heart.
Without hesitation,
Without reservation,
I pour myself out before You.
In the neighbor, O God, I will serve You,
In Your name,
And for Your love alone.

Thursday, June 8 

Help me to live my faith, Lord,
In every part of my life.
May my daily work glorify You.
May my family life be in Your name.
May I serve the neighbor for Your love.
May even my sleep be a prayer,
So I awaken each day in Your light.

Friday, June 9

In the name of the Father,
I rise from sleep
And face the day with joy.
In the name of the Son,
I bear my cross
And share His love with all.
In the name of the Holy Spirit,
My heart’s on fire
And I shall never tire.

Daily Prayers are written by Tim Williams, National Vincentian Formation Director.

SVdP Disaster Services Update: Tornado Response

SVdP Disaster Services Update: Tornado Response 150 150 SVDP USA

Officially, tornado season just began on April 1. However, it seems like the season decided to make an early appearance. By April 1, more than 400 tornadoes had been reported and more than 300 confirmed tornados touched down across the country. Totals are still unknown for the storms that hit much between March 31 and April 2.

According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Storm Prediction Center, between March 1 and March 3, there were more than 450 reports of damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes spanning from Texas all the way through western Pennsylvania, and the western Carolinas, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center.

SVdP’s Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) is monitoring the unmet needs of SVdP Councils in 15 states where 32 deaths have been reported from this deadly round of storms. DSC is providing technical assistance, training, rapid response grants, gift cards, and hygiene kits as requested by the impacted Councils (a full report will follow in next week’s Gazette).

Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, CEO of DSC, is in Tennessee this week meeting with Vincentian leadership to learn about ongoing recovery projects,  as well as local authorities on current tornadic activity providing guidance and connecting on long range recovery plans for the most recent weather activity.

Elizabeth will be traveling to Mississippi after next week to meet with the SVdP Council in Jackson to determine what kind of support DSC can offer, provide training, guidance, and discussions on long-term recovery projects for the deadly tornadoes that hit in late March.

Please pray for the Vincentians who are enduring so much tragedy in these impacted areas. To learn more about our other projects visit: www.svdpdisaster.org.


Friends of the Poor Grant Awardees Announced

Friends of the Poor Grant Awardees Announced 150 150 SVDP USA

We received 79 grant applications totaling $379,497.60. Grant awards for this round total $75,000.

Through simple application process, SVdP Conferences and District Councils can apply for up to $5,000 from the National Council’s Friends of the Poor® Fund. The Friends of the Poor® funds available to grant is normally limited to the amount raised and/or approved by the National Council budget process. Individual grant award amounts may vary from the application amount but will not exceed $5,000.

Grants are targeted to specific areas of need, above and beyond available Conference resources: assistance for rent/housing, utilities, food, clothing, medical, transportation, and baby/children needs. No systemic change projects.


Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions 150 150 SVDP USA

Mobile Messaging Terms and Conditions

Last updated: September 13, 2022

The National Council of the U.S., Society of St. Vincent de Paul® operates an SMS program subject to these SMS Terms and Conditions. The SMS program and our collection and use of your personal information is also subject to our Privacy Policy. By enrolling, signing up, or otherwise agreeing to participate in the SMS program, you accept and agree to these SMS Terms and our Privacy Policy.

  1. Program Description: We may send promotional and transactional mobile messages in various formats through the SMS program. Promotional messages advertise and promote our products and services and may include promotions, specials, other marketing offers, and abandoned checkout reminders. Transactional messages relate to an existing or ongoing transaction and may include order notifications and updates, appointment reminders, and other transaction-related information. Mobile messages may be sent using an automated technology, including an autodialer, automated system, or automatic telephone dialing system. Message frequency will vary, but will not exceed 10 messages per month. You agree that we, our affiliates, and any third-party service providers may send you messages regarding the foregoing topics or any topic and that such messages and/or calls may be made or placed using different telephone numbers or short codes. We do not charge for mobile messages sent through the SMS program, but you are responsible for any message and data rates imposed by your mobile provider, as standard data and message rates may apply for SMS and MMS alerts.
  2. User Opt-In: By providing your mobile phone number to us, you are voluntarily opting in to the SMS program and you agree to receive recurring mobile messages from us at the mobile phone number associated with your opt-in, even if such number is registered on any state or federal “Do Not Call” list. You agree that any mobile phone number you provide to us is a valid mobile phone number of which you are the owner or authorized user. If you change your mobile phone number or are no longer the owner or authorized user of the mobile phone number, you agree to promptly notify us at (314) 576-3993. Your participation in the SMS program is not required to make any purchase from us and your participation in the SMS program is completely voluntary.
  3. User Opt-Out and Support: You may opt-out of the SMS program at any time. If you wish to optout of the SMS program and stop receiving mobile messages from us, or you no longer agree to these Mobile Messaging Terms, reply STOP, QUIT, CANCEL, OPT-OUT, and/or UNSUBSCRIBE to any mobile message from us. You may continue to receive text messages for a short period while we process your request and you may receive a one-time opt-out confirmation message. You understand and agree that the foregoing is the only reasonable method of opting out. For support, reply HELP to any mobile message from us. Our mobile messaging platform may not recognize requests that modify the foregoing commands, and you agree that we and our service providers will not be liable for failing to honor requests that do not comply with the requirements in these Mobile Messaging Terms. We may also change the telephone number or short code we use to operate the SMS program and we will notify you of any such change. You acknowledge that any requests sent to a telephone number or short code that has been changed may not be received by us and we will not be responsible for failing to honor a request sent to a telephone number or short code that has been changed.
  4. Disclaimer of Warranty and Liability: The SMS program is offered on an “as-is” basis and may not be available in all areas, at all times, or on all mobile providers. You agree that neither we nor our service providers will be liable for any failed, delayed, or misdirected delivery of any mobile message or information sent through the SMS program.
  5. Modifications: We may modify or cancel the SMS program or any of its features at any time, with or without notice. To the extent permitted by applicable law, we may also modify these Mobile Messaging Terms at any time. Any such modification will take effect when it is posted to our website. You agree to review these Mobile Messaging Terms periodically to ensure that you are aware of any modifications. Your continued participation in the Program will constitute your acceptance of those modifications.

Next Nominee for Youth Award Announced

Next Nominee for Youth Award Announced 2560 1280 SVDP USA

This year, the National Youth Committee hosted a Society-wide search for young people doing amazing work in their community. Vincentians from around the country nominated youth from their Councils for the new Alice Garvey Excellence in Youth Award which will be presented at the National Assembly in Baltimore.

“As a committee, we were blown away by the number of submissions and the incredible projects these youth were doing on behalf of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” said John Paul Brissette, National Youth Committee Member. “Each week leading up to the National Assembly, we will be shining the spotlight on the nominees and their stories. Our goal is to encourage and celebrate our youth involvement in SVdP with excerpts directly written by those who nominated them.

This week, we would like to introduce our next nominee:

Amy Lee – Los Angeles

Amy started volunteering near the end of elementary school because her parents were already Vincentians. She began delivering food to homeless shelters. When Amy entered high school she became more engaged with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. She began to encourage her friends to join and volunteer with her, she succeeded. Amy and her friends began collecting and delivering socks, shirts, pants, and daily necessities as well as serving the homeless at meal sites. In 2019, Amy attended a Vincentian retreat to grow in spirituality with her fellow Vincentians. Her service earned her the 2019 President’s Service Award. In 2021 she attended another Vincentian retreat as well as the San Pedro district annual meeting. I know she will be a member that will continue to volunteer in the future to the best of her ability that is why I nominate Amy Lee for the Alex Garvey Excellence in Youth Award.

Stores Corner — “Round Up for Change” At Your Thrift Store

Stores Corner — “Round Up for Change” At Your Thrift Store 150 150 SVDP USA

Do you know about the SVdP Stores webpage through the National website with tons of great information regarding all things stores!?

The National Stores Committee is a group SVdP store folks that represent each SVdP Region and are committed to best practices in support of SVdP Thrift Stores for success across the nation. Find great topical articles from the Region Reps here in the Stores Corner of the E-Gazette on the last Thursday of each month.

By: Joseph A. Lazarich
Society of St Vincent de Paul Long Island

One simple way to raise additional money at the check-out counter for SVdP is the “Round Up for Change” program. This can be tracked with a point of sale system for easy record keeping. You can post flyers at each register and sporadically around the store advertising this option. It can easily be promoted on your in-store radio application. You can then encourage your sales associates to gently ask the customers to consider donating to our mission by rounding their total to the nearest dollar. Although it may seem like such a simple act, they’ll become one of the many customers donating spare change to SVdP’s programming. In the end, their small act of selflessness, along with other shoppers, yields us between 8K to 10K annually.

Connect with a Region Rep to learn more about what they are doing in your area — list of committee members can be found under theResources drop down here.

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