Spring Newsletter 2023

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Faith, Friendship & Service

Nurturing a lifelong dedication to the Vincentian Values

Society of St. Vincent de Paul—Cincinnati District Council


Spring is the season we are eager to welcome the changes unfolding around us. We embrace the additional hours of sunlight as the days grow longer, rejoice as the gray skies of winter fade away, make way for the warmth of spring to settle in, and allow ourselves to be led, day by day, to summer’s doorstep.

In my first spring at St. Vincent de Paul, I would like to thank each and every one of you who have made me feel welcome here. Starting as CEO in the height of the holiday season, I was blessed to have had opportunities to meet and speak with so many of you, our supporters, volunteers, partners, Vincentians, neighbors and friends. SVDP is an organization with a long history and tremendous legacy in the Cincinnati community, and I am grateful to be part of it.

This spring, we have been keeping a close eye on how several changes are impacting our region’s families and individuals in need. Throughout the pages of this newsletter, you will

read just a handful of the many ways we are working to respond and be present for our neighbors.

In March, SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) began to be reduced to pre-pandemic levels. Combined with historic increases in grocery store prices that we experienced in 2022, the capacity for many families to put healthy food on the table has been impacted. We reached out to our community to collect food and personal care items to help keep our food pantry shelves stocked for neighbors who may need a little help to make ends meet. We called this effort “Share What You Can,” and had tremendous results. You can read about it on page 6.

With the recent expiration of the federal public health emergency that was put into place during the pandemic, Ohio has begun resuming normal eligibility reviews for Medicaid. In turn, we are prepared to help neighbors who may lose health coverage or experience new barriers to accessing health care. Read how our Health Insurance Navigator is playing a frontline role in our response on page 5.

And, whether we consistently get it or not, adequate sleep is an essential need in all of our lives, 365 days (and nights) of the year. You can read how we are working to get more beds into the homes of neighbors who need them on page 3.

None of this important work can be done alone. As our mission statement reads, we are a “network of neighbors.” Each day, I am witnessing how powerful this network is when we work together, realizing our call to grow in faith, service, and friendship with one another and with God.

I thank you for your continued support and prayers, in this season and throughout the year.


The signing of this bill into law will mean the SVDP Charitable Pharmacy will eventually be permitted to accept donations of unused, non-expired medication directly from people in the community. Look for more information coming this summer about how you can donate your insulin, inhalers, and blood thinner medications to help save the lives of our neighbors in need.

SVDP’s Director of of Pharmacy, Rusty Curington (third from right), Pharmacy Operations Manager Lydia Bailey (fifth from left), and retired Pharmacy Director Mike Espel (lef t) traveled to Columbus on March 29 as Gov. Mike DeWine hosted a bill signing ceremony for House Bill 558.

St. William Vincentian Celebrates 40 Years of Faith-Filled Service

On April 5, SVDP’s St. William Conference honored Carol Herbert as she stepped down from her role as Vincentian, following 40 years of compassionate, faith-filled service.

“God directs everything in my life,” Herbert says, reflecting on her four decades of involvement with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Seventeen of those years included serving the Conference as President, followed by many years as Conference Vice President. Among her achievements, Herbert helped grow the SVDP food pantry at St. William from a closet in the basement of the parish center to a thriving operation in the modular extension of the school building that serves an average of 30 families in the West Price Hill community each month.

“For us, Carol has been the face of St. Vincent de Paul in the community,”

says Mary Beth Gramman, current President for the St. William Conference. “She has been our guide and a mentor.”

Through it all, Herbert says it’s the people, especially the neighbors, who have motivated and sustained her involvement. Among countless interactions, Herbert recalls a visit with a neighbor who had no furniture in his home or a chair for her to sit. “I ended up interviewing him over the kitchen sink,” she says. True to the Vincentian spirit, Carol’s conversation with the neighbor extended beyond his physical needs, to his emotional wellbeing and one small thing that could brighten his day: “I ended up helping him fix the television remote!”

“When I hear someone say, ‘thank you, Jesus,’ they get it. It is not us helping, it is the love of Jesus,” Herbert says.

Following her retirement from service with St. Vincent de Paul, Herbert says she will continue to pursue her love of volunteering at Bayley, the continuing care ministry of the Sisters of Charity. Please join us in wishing Carol Herbert the best as she continues to inspire us as a model of Christ’s enduring love. Thank you, Carol!

Helping More Families Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Far too many of our neighbors do not have a proper bed to sleep in and are laying down each night on the floor, on couches, or doubling up in a bed with family members. Through the Rahe Bed Program, SVDP provides twin and full-sized beds at no cost, helping to ensure more children, families and individuals can get a good night’s sleep.

In 2021, the Clothing & Home Resource Center, located on the ground floor of SVDP’s Liz Carter Center, became the central access point for bed distribution. That same year, SVDP secured resources to double the number of beds distributed, as we continued to recognize the importance of sleep for the health, safety and dignity of our neighbors.

Any neighbor, whether they are served by our Social Services team or by Vincentians in one of our Conferences, can now come to the Clothing & Home

Resource Center to redeem vouchers for new bed frames, mattresses, and mattress covers.

SVDP is always looking for ways to improve its service model for our neighbors, and as we expanded this program, we worked to address the challenges many neighbors were facing to transport beds across town. Beginning in January, we have added another improvement to our Rahe Bed Program: new, compact mattresses

that come rolled-up in boxes measuring less than 3.5 feet wide. These mattresses are packed compactly enough to be transported in a regular sedan, and we have even had several successful transports by neighbors utilizing the bus.

Since implementing these new mattresses and bed frames, we have seen an increase of 34% more neighbors accessing and transporting their beds. Additionally, the new, compact bed models are easier to deliver for our volunteers, including Vincentians and the Mighty Men of Crossroads Church, who deliver beds on a monthly basis from the Liz Carter Center to neighborhoods across our city.

Your donation today can help provide a bed for a neighbor in need. If you would like to contribute, please use the enclosed envelope or go online at www.SVDPcincinnati.org/give.

The Mighty Men of Crossroads

SVDP’s “Mini Vinnies” Are Making An Impact See, Think, Do

Though they may be young, members of St. Vincent de Paul’s first Mini Vinnie Conference are eager to make a difference in their community. Over a dozen students make up the “Mini Vinnies,” a Youth Conference for seventh and eighth graders, which launched at Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori in Madisonville in 2021. The students meet twice a month after school to learn about issues impacting people experiencing poverty, what SVDP does to address them, and to engage in service projects that connect to SVDP’s outreach programs in Cincinnati.

The Mini Vinnies follow a curriculum used internationally by SVDP, says Maggie Sheehan, SVDP’s Youth and Young Adult Program Manager. “SVDP England and SVDP Australia have robust Mini Vinnies programs, and their materials have inspired us and informed how we have crafted this Mini Vinnies group within our district council,” Sheehan explains.

Those materials include a focus on “See, Think, Do,” a model in which participants are introduced to social

justice issues (See), engage with faith formation and reflection (Think), and participate in service to their community (Do).

This spring, the Mini Vinnies have been putting that model into action through the SVDP Thrift Stores. Students were invited to go behind the scenes to learn how the stores not only generate financial support for SVDP through sales, but also how neighbors are impacted directly through free clothing, furniture, and home goods provided through the SVDP Voucher Program.

“They were very engaged in their conversation with the staff at the Este Thrift Store,” Sheehan says. “They had a lot of questions for them, asking what vouchers are, how they are distributed, how the voucher is used, and how a neighbor might get connected with SVDP.”

The Mini Vinnies returned a few weeks later to volunteer at the store by sorting and stocking shelves with new merchandise, as pictured on the cover of this newsletter.

“It’s opened our eyes to new experiences,” says Mini Vinnie, Jack. “We are able to see firsthand our community in Cincinnati and that we can contribute to make it better.”

Mini Vinnie, Audrey, adds: “It is a good way to get to know the people around you and help out…This is a great way to give back and I like that everything gets reused.”

The students will round out their service project for the thrift stores through a clothing drive at their school.

“One of our goals of this programming is lifelong inspiration through the Vincentian charism,” Sheehan says. “I would love for every middle and high school student to have the opportunity to join a Youth Conference through their school or parish.”

Campus Ministers, teachers, or parents who are interested in starting a Youth Conference are encouraged to connect with Sheehan by emailing YYA@SVDPcincinnati.org.


Helping Neighbors Navigate Health Insurance

SVDP expands hours for its Health Insurance Navigator, as thousands could lose coverage this spring

As COVID-era rules expire this spring, nearly 200,000 Ohioans could lose health care coverage through Medicaid. During the federally-instated Public Health Emergency, states were required to keep people continuously enrolled in Medicaid, the nation’s public health insurance program for low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly individuals and people with disabilities. That rule ended March 31, allowing Ohio to resume its normal eligibility operations.

During this process, called Medicaid unwinding, Ohio Jobs and Family Services is asking all Medicaid recipients to take action, including updating their information and responding to renewal packets sent in the mail. Recipients who do not do so could run the risk of losing coverage, even if they still meet all eligibility criteria.

It’s a challenge that Beverly Ramsey, SVDP’s Health Insurance Navigator, has been keeping a close eye on over the past few months. “If neighbors don’t know about it, during their next visit to the doctor or pharmacy, they could find out their insurance is no longer valid.”

Ramsey joined SVDP in 2021, thanks to a generous partnership with the Charitable Healthcare Network (CHN), a statewide organization dedicated to providing resources, education and advocacy to strengthen and ensure high quality health care for vulnerable people. Ramsey works one-on-one with neighbors at SVDP’s Neyer Outreach Center but receives training and funding from CHN, along with other navigators serving across the state.

“{CHN Executive Director Jason

Koma} tells us our purpose is to make a difference in peoples’ lives, and it’s true.” Ramsey says.

While health insurance navigators can help with either marketplace or state-run insurance, Ramsey says her role at SVDP is unique in that most of the neighbors she works with are either uninsured or are enrolled in Medicaid but have special circumstances that require extra assistance. In coordination with the SVDP Charitable Pharmacy, where 51% of patients served are uninsured, Ramsey works with neighbors to help identify and address the barriers they are experiencing to the care they need.

“{Before coming to SVDP}, many neighbors may have given up or have accepted that they’ll always have medical bills. By the time they come to the Charitable Pharmacy, that’s when they start asking questions,” Ramsey says.

The best part of her job, Ramsey says, is helping neighbors to relieve their stress around health care. “I try to encourage them, now you can go to the doctor. Now, you can go to the dentist. Because, without insurance, that can be a big worry.”

With the changes for Medicaid recipients this spring, hours for SVDP’s Health Insurance Navigation services are being expanded from three to four days per week. Neighbors are encouraged to call ahead at 513-345-4997 to make an appointment, but some walk-in appointments are available.

The SVDP Charitable Pharmacy is ready to help neighbors who may experience a critical need for their prescription medications or primary care services due to losing Medicaid coverage. New patients should call our Patient Advocates at 513-562-8841 ext. 223 to get started.

Beverly Ramsey


FEBRUARY – APRIL: ‘SHARE WHAT YOU CAN’ FOOD & HYGIENE DRIVES To help keep shelves stocked at our network of food pantries, SVDP asked the community to ‘Share What You Can.’ Over a dozen groups, including businesses, churches and schools, generously delivered, collecting 2,851lbs. of food and 365 lbs. of personal care items.

MARCH: FCC PLAYER PAYS IT ‘FORWARD’ FC Cincinnati Forward Dominique Badji teamed up with Last Mile Food Rescue to raise awareness for food insecurity in our region, delivering over 400 pounds of food rescued from TQL stadium to SVDP’s Becky & Ted Catino Choice Food Pantry.

APRIL: VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION LUNCHEON Each April, we recognize our dedicated army of volunteers, who bring our mission to life each day at our Neyer Outreach Center. We celebrated during a special luncheon. We are eminently grateful for the time our volunteers spend with us and the compassion they bring to serving neighbors in our community.

St. Jude Young Adult Conference Seeking New Members

SVDP’s St. Jude Young Adult Conference is an opportunity for young adults in Cincinnati to make an impact on their community through faith, service, and friendship. Young Adult Conference members are compassionate leaders who seek to grow closer to God and expand their understanding of the lived experiences of our neighbors in need. Like any SVDP Conference, the St. Jude Young Adult Conference gathers regularly to pray and serve together.

We are currently seeking new members! Anyone ages 18-39 is welcome to join us on the first Saturday of each month to meet and volunteer alongside members of the St. Jude Young Adult Conference. Members and interested individuals will be cooking and serving breakfast for neighbors visiting the Neyer Outreach Center. Please contact Youth & Young Adult Program Manager, Maggie Sheehan, to sign up by emailing msheehan@SVDPcincinnati.org.



a celebration OF SERVICE



Join us as we celebrate Rob and Julia Heidt’s commitment to the Cincinnati community and our neighbors in need. Our 8th annual Celebration of Service will take place at Anderson Pavilion and Carol Ann’s Carousel at the Banks. This event will generate resources to support our Charitable Pharmacy. Special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, Protective Life. Secure your tickets today: SVDPcincinnati.org/COS.


The summer heat can bring many challenges for neighbors, especially the elderly, families with young children, and people with certain medical conditions. St. Vincent de Paul distributes free fans and air conditioner units from May through July to provide relief from the heat to our most vulnerable neighbors. Your donation at KeepCoolCincy.com can help a family keep cool this summer. Just $20 provides a box fan, and $150 provides an A/C unit.


Come help us fill 1, 2, 3 barrels of food (and more!) at the old ball game! St. Vincent de Paul is once again partnering with the Cincinnati Reds to collect non-perishable food items at Great American Ball Park. Bring donations before the games on July 21 and July 22 to help us feed local families! Your donations help ensure our food pantry is stocked and can support our neighbors, including children, who experience food insecurity throughout the summer.


Are you ready ‘fore’ our annual Golf Outing? Your participation at our Prescription Fore Fun Golf Outing and Wine and Bourbon Tasting at Western Hills Country Club on July 31 supports the SVDP Charitable Pharmacy. Every $1 donated provides $11 worth of prescription medication for our neighbors. Sign up your foursome at CincyGolfOuting.com or join us for the reception only by purchasing a ticket at CincyWineTasting.com.


Far too many children in our community are lying down to sleep each night without a bed. SVDP’s Bed Program works to help families across Hamilton County have a safe, comfortable place for each family member to sleep in at night. In partnership with Morris Home Furniture, Ashley and WCPO 9, Hope to Dream helps make our dream of a better night’s sleep for more children come true by gifting beds to 50 kids in need. More details will be released later this summer with opportunities to be involved. Stay tuned!

1125 Bank Street Cincinnati, OH 45214-2130 Non Profit Org US Postage Paid Cincinnati, OH Permit #1106 YOUR OLD CLOTHES CAN BECOME NEW AGAIN WHEN YOU DONATE. Free pick-up of donated goods & vehicles 513-421-CARE (2273)

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