ST.VINCENT’S WAY FALL 2019
Betty Daniels Rosemond, who spent more than 40 years as a thrift store manager, was a Civil Rights pioneer, risking her life as a Freedom Rider.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul—Cincinnati District Council
DEAR FRIENDS, It’s not hard to realize that fall is upon us. The air is cooler. The days are shorter. The leaves are turning colors. It’s a beautiful time of year, even if you’re not into pumpkin spice everything. However, at St. Vincent de Paul, our thoughts are a little beyond raking leaves and digging out the sweatshirts. We’re already fully embedded in the holiday season. The months of November and December are so important for our neighbors that we begin preparing for everything we are going to have to do back when the heat and humidity of summer are making us sweat. Each year, for instance, just before Thanksgiving and Christmas, we provide our neighbors all of the food they are going to need for their holiday meals. That means we have to collect turkeys, hams, vegetables, fruits and everything else before we can put them in their hands. It’s a lot
How long have you been a Vincentian? Ten years Conference: St. Teresa of Avila What neighborhood do you serve? Western Hills
of work, but it’s worth it. Gathering family and friends around the table on Thanksgiving and Christmas is very important to our neighbors. For many of them, if it wasn’t for our efforts, they wouldn’t have a holiday meal. The same is true for Christmas mornings. Without our Angel Toy, Christmas Together and other events, there’s a very real possibility that some of our neighbors’ kids would wake up Christmas morning without any presents under the tree. Our Food From the Heart food drive with Kroger supplies us with enough food for our pantries to get us through the long winter. Our coat drives supply more than 1,700 of our neighbors with coats to keep them warm. All of these events take advanced planning. They also require something else in order to make happen: You. While we do the planning in advance, we need help making them happen. So let me encourage you: If you’ve never handed out a Thanksgiving
dinner to someone in need, you need that experience. If you’ve never looked at a mother’s face, knowing her kids will have presents on Christmas morning, you need that experience. If you’ve never helped someone try on a coat that will keep them warm, you need that experience. It’s life changing. Contact our volunteer coordinator, Rachel, at 513-562-8841 and tell her you want to help. You’ll be glad you did. As an added incentive, many of the distributions are going to be at our new Don and Phyllis Neyer Outreach Center this year. Not only will you get the joy of serving, but you can check out our new facility as well. It’s going to be a great holiday season.
Dan Long St. Vincent de Paul Board President
cardboard box that had a checkbook, several boxes of checks, a large wad of bank statements, and a pencil ledger that was both the record of payments and the only record of client contacts. Hmmm. My initial job was handling all incoming calls and client contacts, along with reconciling the checking account. I was doing this in the midst of Deacon Formation.
Most memorable home visit: It is always heartbreaking to visit homes How did you become a Vincentian? where a single mom is trying to care for a child with severe handicaps while In 2009, I was just completing graduate assisting her other children. These neighbors are always grateful for any school at the Athenaeum of Ohio. Our small assistance we can give. parish pastor came to me and asked if I could help with the St. Vincent De Paul Conference. I told him I would give it a try. He then gave me a
Vincentian Spotlight: Deacon David Steinwert
Biggest lesson you’ve learned as a Vincentian? The poor have many faces. Sometimes they are dirty faces. Sometimes they are faces that have self-inflicted wounds. Sometimes they just need a shoulder to lean on. We never did learn from the Gospel story how many times the rich man walked past Lazarus. When the rich man died and went to his eternal place of punishment, we find out that he knew Lazarus by name, and he knew that he had passed him by. Perhaps that was his greatest failure: Knowing that the man needed help and doing nothing about it. Lazarus is always at the gate. What has made you stick with the ministry? It is satisfying work to be able to help people who are suffering through tough times. It has helped me learn compassion for the poor, which also has helped me as a deacon. See more Vincentian stories online at SVDPcincinnati.org. 2
BEATING THE ODDS Vada Rucker stares out into the distance and takes a long drag on his cigarette. “Life will get you,” he says. “It’s not sweet and easy. Sometimes you try so hard, and you kick and scratch just to get by, and it still gets you.” He blows out a hard puff of smoke and shakes his head. “But you just have to stay focused.” Like so many others from the region who live on the edge of poverty, Rucker has been forced to deal with the struggles that life can impose— making ends meet, finding a job, raising a family on the hardcore streets of the city. The struggles are real, but on the verge of improving. Four years ago, Rucker walked into St. Vincent de Paul’s Winton Hills Outreach Center looking for help. He needed vouchers for clothing and a bed. He was also looking for a stable job, so he would sit at a computer and search the Internet. He became such a regular at the Center, in fact, he would make the coffee. “I was working day jobs here and there and getting paid under the table,” he says, “but that’s no way to make a living or support your family. I didn’t have a car, so I applied anywhere within walking distance.” After a little persistence, he was hired in August to work in the
furniture department at the thrift store on Este Avenue. He unloads the furniture as it’s brought in, and then helps load it into the cars of the buyers. “Man, I love my job,” he says. “I’m about to finish my probationary period, which means I get to work more hours and earn a little more money. I’ve got to save up and get to a better place. I don’t live in the bad part of Winton Hills, but you can hear it. Even my grandson can hear the gunshots. He says, ‘Pow pow, paw paw.’ That’s not good.” Rucker isn’t a stranger to work. He spent three years in the Army, getting out right before Operation Iraqi Freedom. “I wasn’t interested in shooting anyone or getting shot.” He came back and spent a few years at a pillow manufacturer, a moving company and various other jobs. “I get my work ethic from my grandfather. He started working at the car wash when he was 9 years old.” Still, despite work ethic and desires, life on the edge is rough and it will get you. But at 36 years old, with a girlfriend, one daughter and two grandkids at home, he realizes the need for stability and sanity. “My motivation is living and my family,” he says. “The things I’ve been through, I don’t want my family to go through.”
The Right Prescription Carol Davis knew she was sick. The unending feeling of weakness and nausea was enough to get her attention, but the day she almost passed out just walking around her house alerted her that something was seriously wrong. “That’s it,” her husband, David, said. “You’re going to the doctor.” The diagnosis: a combination of hypertension and diabetes. Her doctor wrote prescriptions for both, but when she tried to pay for them the cost was way beyond her means. “You need your medicine,” she says, “but you need a roof over your head, too.” It was suggested she contact the St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy. That was 10 years ago, and in September, Carol was a part of the Pharmacy reaching a remarkable milestone: Her prescription became the 500,000th prescription the Pharmacy has filled in its 13 years of operation. “Filling a half million prescriptions wasn’t even imaginable when we started the Charitable Pharmacy back in 2006,” says Pharmacy Director Mike Espel. “Consistent growth began in 2008 and it has mostly been through word of mouth. Last year we filled just shy of 62,000 prescriptions, which is up 68 percent from four years ago.” The Pharmacy was created to serve as a last resort safety net for people like Carol—those who have no other way to access their medication. It is the only stand-alone charitable pharmacy in southwest Ohio dedicated to providing free medication and professional care to people in need—and it’s working. “This place is a Godsend.” SVDPCINCINNATI.ORG
FIGHTING THE GOOD
Longtime thrift store manager Betty Daniels Rosemond saw the Civil Rights fight from
Betty Daniels Rosemond was crouched down at the bottom of a phone booth, one ear tentatively listening to people on the other end of the line while the other was tuned in to a mob of angry voices screaming on the other side of the street. The group of men came storming up to the local bus station when they heard that Freedom Riders were in town. The men already forced three of the Freedom Riders into the back of a pickup truck and drove off, and now were in search of one that got away— Rosemond. Freedom Riders were a key component to the early Civil Rights movement, volunteers who would board buses and travel throughout the South, getting off at each stop to see if federal desegregation laws were being enforced.
He pulled up in a truck and opened the door. After attempts to find her a place to stay failed, he agreed to drive her back to New Orleans. “Don’t tell anyone I did this,” he said. “It will cost me my life.” *** Rosemond sits in the breakroom at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store on Colerain Avenue recounting the harrowing tales of her fight for Civil Rights. The environment is a familiar one for Rosemond. For 41 years she worked as a thrift store manager for St. Vincent de Paul, retiring five years ago. “I’m 81 years old,” she says. “I’ve been working since I was 13. It was time to turn it over to someone younger.”
Managing thrift stores was never her goal. She loved school and was intent on getting a college education so she could be an English teacher. She enrolled at the Louisiana State University campus in New Orleans in 1959, the first year it was desegregated. One day she came home and there was a news program on the TV talking about CORE and the Freedom Riders. The first group started in Washington, D.C., and was headed to New Orleans, but their bus was firebombed by the Ku Klux Klan in Anniston, Ala. As the riders piled out of the bus they were beaten. “That night there happened to be a meeting at our church for people
Often they would get arrested, pushing the issue of Civil Rights into the local courts. Mostly, though, they were met with contempt and distain, sometimes violence, particularly in the Deep South—places like Poplarville, Miss., where Rosemond was huddled and scared. Poplarville was well known among Civil Rights advocates because of a lynching that took place in the city a year earlier. Each Freedom Rider was assigned a task, and hers was to call the Freedom Ride organizers—CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality—if anything happened. When her friends were pushed into the pickup truck, Rosemond ran across the street to a phone booth, only to watch as the bus drove off without her and the mob grew angrier. Crouched low and scared for her life, a man walked up next to the phone booth to see what the commotion was all about. He was elderly, and black. “You have to help me,” Rosemond whispered. “Stay low,” he said. “I’ll be right back.” 4
Still spry but moving a bit slower than she did in the past, she still comes in four days a week, helping out however she can for four hours a day. “When I first moved here, I was working at Rinks, and when they closed I panicked,” she says. “I needed a job. I said, ‘Lord, help me.’ He told me to call St. Vincent de Paul. I called down and got an interview with Mr. Havalon. I was wearing a dove lapel pin because I wanted the Holy Spirit with me, and I walked into Mr. Havalon’s office and he had on the same dove lapel pin. That afternoon my phone rang and they told me I got the job and started on Monday.”
interested in joining CORE,” she says. “Well you know I had to go.” CORE members were trained to be nonviolent. They would be slapped, harassed and pushed by trainers. If the response was violent in any way they weren’t allowed to join. The training paid off. While picketing against the segregated lunch counters at Woolworth’s in New Orleans, two young boys came up and blocked her path. “They spat in my face and called me names and harassed me,” she says. “I was crying, but I didn’t say anything. Finally a preacher came by and wiped my tears and told me to continue.
m the frontline as a Freedom Rider The Lord told me as I stood there, ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And that’s so true. Nobody is born a racist.” *** As she sits there, she thinks back. “I’d do it all again,” she says. “We were motivated by a higher power. God was in the movement and we couldn’t stop. Wherever we had to go, we went.” She rode buses through Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi. She was arrested in Virginia for refusing to leave a whites-only restaurant. She was sentenced to six months in jail and fined several hundred dollars, but her case was appealed and ended up in front of the Supreme Court. She won. “Whenever something happened, it only motivated us more,” she says. “We knew we could have gotten killed, but if we did, we did. I would always tell my mom, ‘I’ll see you when I get back,’ but we didn’t know if we would come back.” During the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, she was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey about her experiences. In 2014, she was inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame, and later invited to the National Women’s Law Center banquet in Washington, D.C., where President Barrack Obama met with the Freedom Riders, giving each one a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Civil rights, she says, has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go. To help, she continues to share her story, speaking on college campuses and churches and anywhere people will listen. Even in the breakroom of the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store on Colerain Avenue. “I wanted to be a high school English teacher, but now I teach history,” she says. “And I would only change one thing: That man who helped me and gave me a ride back to New Orleans, to this day I don’t know who he was.” Read more at SVDPcincinnati.org.
A Look Back
For more photos, go to SVDPcincinnati.org.
JULY: PRESCRIPTION FORE FUN GOLF OUTING AND WINE & BOURBON TASTING Bad putts and good times were all part of the annual golf outing, which raised more than $82,000 for the Charitable Pharmacy.
AUGUST: DAY TO DREAM For the third straight year, we partnered with Morris Furniture and WCPO to give away beds to 50 kids who didn’t have beds.
AUGUST: FC CINCINNATI FOOD DRIVE We kicked off a new partnership with FC Cincinnati and Buffalo Wings and Rings, creating a food drive to kick hunger. It generated enough food for 1,200 meals.
Give Smarter, Save Taxes, Help More Neighbors in Need People like you who give to St.
Vincent de Paul do so primarily because you care about our mission to provide comprehensive, compassionate basic assistance to neighbors in need. But it’s nice when your generosity has tax benefits too, right? Because of the new tax reform law, fewer people are able to take advantage of tax deductions from their charitable donations. However, there is one tool that can definitely help you save taxes when you donate to St. Vincent de Paul: your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). There are two key requirements: 1) You must be 70.5 years of age or older. 2) You must have a traditional IRA—not a 401(k), a Roth IRA, or other retirement account. If you meet these criteria, you can make a contribution to St. Vincent de Paul directly from your IRA called a “Qualified Charitable Distribution” (QCD). Because this donation passes directly from your IRA to St. Vincent de Paul, you do not have to claim it as income on your taxes, thus decreasing your taxable income. Most importantly, you enable more neighbors in need across greater Cincinnati access critical services such as rent and utility assistance, food, beds, and life-saving medications. As the end of the year approaches, please keep your IRA in mind as an effective way to support St. Vincent de Paul. You can contact the plan administrator of your IRA to get started on making a donation today. If you have questions or want more information, please contact Daniel Flynn, Planned Giving and Grants Manager, at 513-345-4994 or dflynn@SVDPcincinnati.org.
NOVEMBER 8 DON AND PHYLLIS NEYER OUTREACH CENTER OPEN HOUSE
After operating out of our old building for nearly 60 years, join us as we open the doors to our new outreach center and step into the future. The new and larger space allows us to better serve our neighbors, and that’s worth celebrating. Join us from 3:00-6:00 p.m.
NOVEMBER 12 DAY OF ONLINE GIVING
As the holidays approach, our neighbors have increasing needs, so they turn to us. We can’t do it alone, so we turn to you. Each November, we hold our Day of Online Giving—the one day of the year when gifts are matched and help is doubled—and you always come through. Thank you!
NOVEMBER 26 THANKSGIVING FOOD DISTRIBUTION
Thanksgiving is a holiday built around gathering family at the dinner table and giving thanks. Many of our neighbors can’t enjoy the celebration without a little help, so we fill that need by handing out 1,300 turkey dinners. Volunteers are needed. You will be thankful for having spent the day with our neighbors.
NOVEMBER, DECEMBER FOOD FROM THE HEART
For the last 28 years, we have collected food at local Kroger stores to help stock the shelves of our food pantries and meet the huge demand for food during the holiday season. You can help: Grab a few extra non-perishable food items and drop them in the barrel near the door when you’re doing your grocery shopping.
NOVEMBER 16, DECEMBER 7, JANUARY 4 COAT DISTRIBUTIONS For many families, a clean, warm winter coat is a luxury, so we collect new and gently used coats, and give them away to those in need. Donate a coat (or two or three) or volunteer at one of the distributions. Helping others find a warm coat makes you feel warm all over. Watch the website for locations.
DECEMBER 19 CHRISTMAS FOOD DISTRIBUTION
Opening presents on Christmas morning is a great family event, but so is the Christmas dinner. That’s why we give out ham and all of the ingredients for a great Christmas dinner to our neighbors. Volunteers are needed. Join us as we help spread the meaning of Christmas with those in need.
DECEMBER 25 CHRISTMAS
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying Glory to God in the highest.
DECEMBER 31 NEW YEAR’S EVE
Yes, it is a time for celebrating as we look forward to a new year and get ready to ring it in in style. But it’s also the last chance to make a gift to St. Vincent de Paul and still receive the tax benefits of your charitable donation. Donations can be made online up until 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve at SVDPcincinnati.org/give.
FEBRUARY 20 LENT
Let us help you give up something for Lent this year—and clean out your closets at the same time. We’re handing out garbage bags this year and encouraging you to fill them with one item each of the 40 days of Lent, and then donate them to our thrift stores.
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1125 Bank Street Cinti., OH 45214-2130
Donate to our thrift stores and give hope and help to our neighbors Proceeds from our thrift stores help to support all of our programs, including our Charitable Pharmacy and food pantries. Donate today. Call 421-CARE to schedule a pickup. Go to SVDPcincinnati.org to find a drop box or donation center near you.
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After three years, the Upward Spiral Comprehensive Campaign is coming to a close at the end of the calendar year. We have nearly reached our $12 million goal. Help us finish strong. Donate now at: UpwardSpiral.SVDPcincinnati.org
THE END IS NEAR