On Saturday, April 13, we hosted our annual Easter Open House for 54 families and 187 children. With the help of 16 volunteers, including photographer Sacha and a group from Pledge to Humanity at San Ramon Valley High School, we were able to give every family a Safeway gift card, Easter baskets, photos with the Easter bunny, free books and Easter themed crafts. A special pizza lunch was made by our kitchen staff and Kitchen of Champions cohort. Our open house events are a great way to celebrate important moments of the year and bring our community together for a bright spot in our lives. Thank you to all who continue to support the open house events. Our next open house will be celebrating back to school in August. If you would like to sign up to volunteer or donate, please contact our volunteer team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bay Area Council Economic Institute, a key local think tank, released a new study on homelessness in the Bay Area, and, at Mayor Schaaf’s suggestion, they wanted the study to be rolled out to the press and the community at St. Vincent de Paul. Executive Director Blase Bova was invited to participate in the roundtable discussion, along with some noted civic and corporate leaders including President and CEO of Kaiser Permanente Bernard Tyson and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Participants discussed the need for a regional plan to address homelessness, as well as unity amongst the entire Bay Area, including the Sacramento area, to support each other’s efforts in housing the unhoused.
The Bay Area has the third highest homeless population in the country with over 28,000 homeless residents, behind New York City and Los Angeles. The report says part of the problem is low income people are becoming homeless at a faster rate than communities can move existing homeless people into housing. “We can subsidize rents when they fall on hard times, we can purchase buildings and turn market rate housing into affordable housing, we can provide rental assistance, so they don't have to choose between medical payments and rent payments,” said Jim Wunderman with the Bay Area Council. St. Vincent de Paul thanks the work of our Vincentians across the county through their eviction prevention work. You are addressing a crucial aspect of the homeless crisis that needs more widespread support, and the Bay Area Council agrees.
Please read the story of our West Oakland direct service campus guest Jerry, in his own words. Your support of St. Vincent de Paul helps community members, like Jerry, enjoy a safe place to eat. We are happy to prayerfully serve alongside community members who inspire us each day.
“I’ve been coming here off an on for a few years. I usually sit down and have a meal. I like to talk to people when I come. I’ve known the security guard, Eddie, for a long time. There are a lot of nice people here. I used to take showers but I don’t need them anymore because I am no longer homeless.
“I like to hang out at the library and read books. I play basketball, too. I do some odd jobs when I can. My SSI is pending, but I don’t want to rely on it for the rest of my life. I like reading nonfiction, like autobiographies and biographies of Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali. I also like to read Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins for thrillers. I’ve been in transitional housing since 2017. It’s not a bad place. They help with permanent housing if you want it. I have a housing coordinator I’m going to meet with this month. I want a space of my own. I want a home.
“I joined a rehab program called Options in 2017 after I was hit by a hit and run driver and was in a coma for one month. I was asleep for a lot less time than they expected or than people usually are from injuries like mine. After I woke up I was too scared to ever use again, so I entered the Options program and I’ve been straight ever since. When I was doing nothing, I had nothing to lose. When I survived and came out of a coma and almost lost my life, I didn’t want to risk it again. The man upstairs was with me. He had to be. It wasn’t me who woke me up. It had to be him.
“If I can help somebody, I’m willing to do what I can, even though I need so much help. I can be there to talk with others. People have helped me with no strings attached and I’m alive to talk about it. I’m not where I want to be, but thank goodness I’m not where I used to be.”
St. Vincent de Paul ended 2018 on a good note by filling our dining room with fresh pizza on December 29. Little Caesars brought their 18-wheeler Love Kitchen to the West Oakland direct service campus to serve enough pizza for 900 people.
Thanks to the pizzas made and donated by the Love Kitchen, we served almost 600 trays to our guests for lunch, with plenty leftover for a pizza night in the shelter. during lunch service. There was a party-like buzz throughout the kitchen and dining room as volunteers, staff and guests shared their glee about pizza day. It goes to show how a simple menu of pizza, salad, fruit and a sweet treat can bring joy and levity to our community. We are grateful to have Little Caesars as a partner and look forward to having the Love Kitchen back in our neighborhood soon!
The St. Philip Neri community consistently supports St. Vincent de Paul through its service. This fall, sixth grade students at St. Philip Neri School provided over three hundred new towels to our men’s and women’s centers. They were collected at the school and church, and at St. Albert’s Church in Alameda. “The students took pride in this project. They were so excited to count the number of towels that came in,” Vincentian volunteer Marianne Henderson said. The towels will be used to provide showers to hundreds of people each week at SVdP.
At St. Philip Neri, service learning is engrained in their curriculum. Each class chooses a service project to administer throughout the school year.
St. Philip Neri School emphasizes the role of leadership and community. The school was given the Outstanding School Award by Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl at their grant awards breakfast on December 13. Representatives from the eighth grade class attended the reception to accept their award. St. Philip Neri represents the positive impact young people can make within their communities. Thank you for your generosity!
Jack Dice is the Muffin Man. He’s one of many who regularly pick up donated food from distributors in Alameda and Contra Costa counties and deliver it to organized food programs in Oakland. He recently made a delivery to SVdP with his granddaughter and shared a bit of the history of the Muffin People:
“When we started thirty years ago the big thing for breakfast was muffins. You could get muffins everywhere. One day we brought food over to St. Mary’s Center and one of the ladies started saying “Here comes the muffin man!” and it stuck! We became the Muffin People since ladies joined and we made it gender neutral. It takes 23 vehicles a week to do this. We bring food six days a week and on the seventh day ECAP (Emeryville Citizens Assistance Program) makes our run. I set that up for them. We drive to four different organizations: SVdP, St. Mary’s Center, ECAP and A Friendly Manor. We’re always looking for new people!”
Our dining room guests love the treats the Muffin People bring, and the cupcakes from Suzie Cakes are especially popular. Thank you to Jack and the Muffin People for finding a creative way to decrease food waste through food reclamation and for helping our community!
As we celebrate 80 years of service throughout Alameda County we are excited to be able to offer 80 ways to volunteer and get involved with St. Vincent de Paul.
If you are interested in doing one or more of these activities please reach out to Katie Troy, Volunteer Coordinator, at 510-877-9252 or at email@example.com, or visit our website at www.svdp-alameda.org.
Media, Networking, and Community
We all know times when a song plays, and we are transported. We go to another time, another place – it’s a powerful feeling. Music can impact us in important ways, including benefits to our health, concentration, and in improving our stress and anxiety. We support you in your quest for feeling better, looking better and getting great music right here at SVDP thrift.
To support your habit we are putting everything music on sale- you get better deal on it all! CDS, vinyl, instruments, books- anything you find that is music related is yours for 30% off!
That’s right folks, spin up your turntable, wipe down your fretboard- (or get one of ours, we have 12 guitars in stock) and come on in to get great deals at SVDP thrift, April 8-14
The best thing you can do to reduce your use of resources that are used for clothing is to not buy them- to reuse something you already own.The second best? Shopping at a used clothing store. The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world … second only to oil. We are a nation of shoppers and that shopping results in the use of precious resources for items that may last in your closet a matter of months, or even weeks. Some top clothing designers, are on the leading edge of reforming the fashion industry and are reducing water use and carbon emissions and working to make their supply chain sustainable by 2020. But all of us need to take part and focus on more sustainable shopping NOW! The best way to start? Buy your clothing at secondhand thrift and vintage shops and we happen to know a few Great Ones around the East Bay. Shop our stores and help us fund the programs that feed, provide job training and other vital life resources while you shop! For more great thrifting in the East Bay our friends over at Thrift Store Junkies have a complete list