Fall 2021 Development Day: Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
On November 13, we gathered virtually for an unforgettable day of learning about reconciliation with our Indigenous sisters and brothers. Among the speakers was Archbishop Emeritus Sylvain Lavoie OMI, who has spent over 30 years ministering among the aboriginal peoples of north and central Saskatchewan, including three years as director of a team that offered sessions on faith renewal, leadership and community development. He is author of Drumming From Within, a book on stories of faith and hope in the Canadian North, and Together We Heal, a 12-Step approach to the healing of sexual abuse. He currently serves as spiritual director at Star of the North retreat centre in St. Albert. He has generously agreed to share his audio-visual presentation with us here:
Take a look at our Fall 2021 Newsletter.
Weekender Program for Kids
Good Shepherd conference in Edmonton provides 50 weekend baggies for two schools every week.
We started this program in January 2018 after reading in the Vincenpaul newsletter, May 2017 edition, about a conference from Brockville, Ontario that started the Weekender Program for Kids.
We communicate with the social worker who works at the two schools. Our Vincentians meet once every three weeks to pack 150 baggies. We have four or five Vincentians who buy the food items needed. As we have limited space, we can only buy for six weeks at a time. Another Vincentian delivers the 150 baggies to the schools.
We do not know the children involved as the social workers are in the best position to know who would need this food over the weekend. During the time of COVID-19 from March to June 2020, children were not going to school, so we provided the items and the social worker delivered the baggies to the homes of families in need. During this time we also helped with buying fresh dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and margarine for families. We continue to provide food hampers as well for those families in need.
In the baggies, we provide two instant oatmeal packages, two juice boxes, one box of mac and cheese, one package of dry chicken noodle soup, two granola bars, two fruit snack packages, one fruit cup, one pudding cup, two packages of crackers and two rice crispy squares. The social worker has told us that this has helped the families who are struggling and that the children like the instant oatmeal as this make their tummies full!
We currently have two other schools that do a mac and cheese drive to help us, and our parishioners are very helpful in providing food items as well. This is a program through which we can invite others to become aware of those who truly are in need of our help!
Dolores Vande Brink, Weekender lead Good Shepherd Conference, Edmonton, Alberta 6 -
Two stories, one from a donor and another from a recipient
Holy Family Knights of Columbus (on behalf of the Neil M. Ross Elementary School children) donated $500 to the North of 60 Project. Here is an excerpt from the letter that accompanied the cheque. “Every year our council provides a Shrove Tuesday breakfast for the children and staff at Neil M. Ross Elementary School. This year the precious little children at the school brought in donations to give to our council. This year they donated $500. Our council has decided to pass along this donation to North of 60.” Thank you message from Emily Kudlak and Brenda Egotak, Community of Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories: “Quana so much for all the hard work the volunteer group does to provide a means to sew clothing for their families.” The Fabric from Grannies for Africa donations was distributed to the Ulukhaktok Anglican Women Sewing Group.
Linda Tutt, WRC North of 60 Team, St Albert, Alberta
North of 60 Arctic Community Visits to Inuvik, Tsiigehtchic, Aklavik, Tuktoyaktuk, Yellowknife
A highlight of our northern experience last January was sharing food with the people we visited. Sharing a commodity in high demand and short supply reinforces the sharing nature of those we met. The whitefish locally caught was delicious cooked in a cast iron fry pan on a pot-bellied stove. It joined the caribou stew, caribou soup and caribou macaroni as we shared with folks after a small Mass celebration. I mirror this with the homemade buns and caribou stew whose aroma filled the cabin of our contact Grace in Tsiigehtchic before our tour and meeting with local assistants at the school. We were told that people know where to get food if they are hungry and we can attest to the warmth and welcome that goes with the food. The pelts curing outside showed the prowess of nephews enhancing our experience of the north. People told us how much they appreciated the goods shared with them and we received the thanks on behalf of those who shared from the south. The -45 degree weather was warmed by the relationships we shared in the five communities we visited.
Mary Dunnigan and Stef Michniewski WRC North of 60 Team, Edmonton, Alberta
North of 60
North of 60 The Western Regional Council shipped eight sea containers this year (2020) by truck from Edmonton to Hay River where they were transferred to barges to sail down the Mackenzie River and then by ocean barge for movement across the Beaufort Sea. The Western Region of SSVP serves the following Arctic Communities: Tuktoyaktuk, Ulukhaktok, Paulatuk, Inuvik, Aklavik, Sachs Harbour, Tsiigehtchic, Fort Good Hope, Fort McPherson
Peter Ouellette, North of 60 Team Western Regional Council
Quilting for Humanity, Athabasca
Just in time for this weather!
We are so grateful to Quilting for Humanity in Athabasca, who made over 70 beautiful quilts, for adults and children, for St. Vincent de Paul Edmonton to distribute to our friends in need.
Catholic Social Services Day of Mercy - September 28, 2019
The Catholic Social Services UPLIFT - DAY OF MERCY held on Saturday – September 28 was a huge success.
We arrived on site at St. Alphonsus Church shortly after 10:00 am with one of our SSVP trucks to act as a sorting and distribution point for the clothing that we were asked to distribute at this event. We hauled a large number of boxes and bags of clothing that had been collected for the event from the church basement. 8 tables were then setup behind the truck and we began to sort all kinds of donated women’s, men’s and children’s clothing.
At 11:00 am the people attending the event lined up by the tables ready to go through the piles of clothing on the tables. As the event continued and our piles of clothing rapidly disappeared as we continue to sort clothing to replenish the clothing on the tables. After the sorting was completed, we continued to assist people with finding items they were looking for and provide directions to other events taking place at the event. Maria and Cathy spent some time assisting a couple of children, ladies and men by suggesting some items they should try on and then we all commented on how they looked. The rest of the people, in the area, enjoyed the fun we were having doing this.
Winter coats and clothing were being distributed in the church basement. They estimated that nearly 3,000 winter coats had been donated for the event. A delicious free hot meal was also being served in the church basement and entertainment was also provided. Bike repairs were also offered at the event, as well as haircuts for all attending and portraits were being taken also.
As the event came to an end around 3:00 pm, all of our clothing was gone and we were asked if we would like to take some winter coats with us. We packed 4 large boxes full of winter coats for the SSVP Distribution Center.
All in all it was a lot of work and also a lot of fun. It is nice to meet and then help people on a one - on - one basis and get to know them in some small ways during the small talk we shared. They were all very appreciative of the help that they received from us and from the event. Definitely a repeat event for the Society next year.
Maria Lupul – Uplift event participant from St. Theresa’s Conference.
NEW DELIVERY TRUCK ADDED TO THE SSVP FLEET
AS A RESULT OF A PARTIAL GRANT RECEIVED FROM ALBERTA CULTURE
On Tuesday – September 10 the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul took delivery of a new 2019 Isuzu delivery truck with a 20 ft. box. This new delivery vehicle, worth $63,000, was purchased as a result of a $31,500.00 matching grant received from the Alberta Culture. Edmonton Central Council matched the grant to purchase this new vehicle.
The grant was the result of work by the Society of Saint Vincent De Paul – Grant Committee under the leadership of Tricia Cisakowski and Rick Makus – SSVP Truck Fleet Manager who researched and negotiated the best deal for the truck.
A large Thank You is also to be expressed to Tom Fath and Mike Schaaf, with Hi-Signs of the Fath Group, for the donation of the SSVP graphics placed on both sides of the truck and the rear door.
The truck will be shared by Divine Mercy and St. Theresa’s conferences to do furniture pickups and deliveries to SSVP clients in the southeast area of the City of Edmonton.
We are so grateful to @Rotary Club of Edmonton Sunrise for their very generous donation to purchase whole powdered milk to ship to kids in need in the Canadian Arctic.
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul's North of 60 project help ours neighbours in the Canadian Far North who are living in extreme poverty. Employment opportunities are few in these regions and the cost of food and other basic necessities is exorbitant.
We have been very active over the last few years, sending sea containers filled with donated goods to remote northern communities.
Many thanks to our friends at Rotary Sunrise!!
This month we picked up the keys for a 2016 Isuzu, 16 ft. box truck!
This delivery vehicle, worth $60,900, was purchased as a result of a $58,000 grant received from the Stollery Charitable Foundation.
The grant was the result of work by the Society of Saint Vincent De Paul Grant Committee under the leadership of Tricia Cisakowski and Rick Makus, SSVP Truck Fleet Manager, who researched and negotiated the best deal for the truck. Resource information to complete the grant wasprovided by Mary Dunnigan and Daryl Dittrich.
A large Thank You to Tom Fath, with High Signs of the Fath Group, for the donation of the graphics placed on both sides of the truck and the rear door.
The truck was used the following day, by St. Joseph Basilica conference, doing furniture pickups and delivery to SSVP clients in the inner city.
A special Mass on the World Day of the Poor, recognizing the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. This was the daily Mass on Vision TV Salt and Light. Listen to the beautiful homily. Just click on this webpage:
Canada honours Sister Fay Trombley
We are delighted to share that Sister Fay Trombley has been honoured with the Polar Medal, presented by Governor General Julie Payette, in recognition of her exceptional contributions to Canada's North.
After retiring as a professor at Newman College, Sister Fay moved to Tuktoyaktuk and, in collaboration with local community leaders and the help of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Edmonton, started the North of 60 Project. North of 60 delivers sea containers of non-perishable food and household goods to remote communities north of the 60th parallel.
For more details, and an interview with Sister Fay visit https://grandinmedia.ca/canada-honours-sister-fay-trombley-beloved-educator-retired-serve-people-tuk/
Saturday October 14, 2017
What a marvelous Development Day October 14, 2017!
The Police Information Check area was kept busy with Vincentians signing up and signing on for this important aspect of work. Thanks Eleanor Saito for your expertise.
If you did not get a chance to sign up for one of the Tasks, feel free to contact your Conference President.
Monday, September 30, 2017 | Mary Dunnigan
We have been blessed with food donations this month! At a time when our stocks were low, schools, parishes of St. Albert stepped up. We are so very thankful to all, and happy that we enter the new school year experiencing food donations which we can pass along to those in need—of the most basic sort, food. From the many tables surrounded by fed families thanks to your generosity, we send our thanks.
Canada 150 Barbeque
Saturday September 9, 2017| Mary Dunnigan (Administrator)
Thanks to all who helped to make our BBQ a fine celebration. This joint celebration was co sponsored by the City of Edmonton, Ward 6. City of Edmonton pins were shared, and birthday cake was eaten! The group that works together deserves to share food, stories and good times. We enjoyed music, camaraderie and burgers to celebrate Canada being here for 150 years, and the Society for 150 years in Canada.
The food was awesome, the music enjoyable, visiting with those who use our services was enlightening as we shared stories.
Thanks to the crew, under Cecille Cyr, who helped organize and serve. Committee Members Rita John and Mike MacKay organized us into a fine celebration
August 2017| Mary Dunnigan (Administrator)
Thanks so very much for a successfully completed Summer Charity Sale. The teams under leadership of Jean and Daryl did an outstanding job. Lauren took on and handled the fine publicity aspects in print, audio and visual media. Using the Square Reader added a note of modernity to the process. Dan Dunnigan worked his magic in the kitchen, fueling hard working volunteers. Financial income will allow us to carry on. Vincentians are an amazing lot. Thank you to St. Joseph's Bailica for use of their facility. Thanks heartily to all volunteers!!
Making a Difference !
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Two home visitors for the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP) recently visited an elderly gentleman who was suffering with invasive and painful cancer and had to move to a place with lower rent to accommodate his reduced income with no longer being able to work.
During the home visit, we reviewed with this gentleman what he would need to set up this new space. We set up a plan to help him settle in and worked with his new landlord to help with furniture and basic supplies. As an avid cook and believer in good nutrition as a powerful healer, “James” was given a variety of cooking utensils and dishes, as well as a gift card to help stock his fridge with fresh fruit and nutritious foods.
Three weeks later we revisited “James” to ensure he was still doing okay. We were surprised and delighted to see a smiling happy man who walked easily without his walker or cane and who felt he had been given a new chance at life. Through a better diet and having a comfortable home to call his own, he was able to better manage his pain and improve his strength.
Because he worked closely with computers during his career, “James” wanted to get one to help him stay in touch with family in other parts of the world and hopefully regain his skills to perhaps take on some work in this area. Through the generosity of local parishioners we were able to get a used computer and help him arrange for an internet package allowing him to re connect with the outside world.
Experiences like this remind us all the value of an organization like Saint Vincent de Paul and the impact we can have on the lives of people in need. It also reminds us of the privileged role we can play in improving the lives of God’s most vulnerable. Saint Vincent de Paul does make a difference, and we appreciate your support for this work.
Author M O
Ft McMurray moves forward
Wednesday, July 13, 2016 2:37 PM
On Monday July 11 Peter Ouellette and Mary Dunnigan attended the first of the Fire Relief Committee set up in Fort Mac with members of both the St John and St Paul Catholic Parishes.
There is a strong sense of urgency from the members of the Catholic Community to do something to help the approx 10% of their neighbours (2000 families) that lost much of what they had. Most all in attendance have knowledge of the Works of SSVP across the country and they are interested in modeling their actions to the practices that we have well established in our Conferences with the intent of starting a new Conference in their Community.
They have a lot of resources both financial and people skill sets to apply to home visits, needs analysis and providing goods and other services needed by the families in need.
We will continue to work with the Core Committee to help in their tasks. Their commitment was evident, the stories were touching, and their willingness to help those in need was/is most evident.
Ft. McMurry Steps Ahead
The summer of 2017 found us heading north to set in motion steps by National Council to work with five First Nation Communities to help students in school be identified as being fragile as a result of the fire of 2016.