Local Schools Support St. Vincent for Thanksgiving Season

Posted November 30, 2018 by in All Posts, News, Spirituality

As we wrap up the Thanksgiving season, we want to express our gratitude for the ongoing support of our local Catholic schools. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we received many generous donations as a result of the efforts of the students and their families. These gifts provided meals in our shelters as well as generous distributions in the food pantry so that our neighbors could celebrate with a nice meal.

Here are just a few of the gifts we received in preparation for Thanksgiving:

  • Alter High School provided 137 large turkeys and 689 lbs. of canned goods
  • Bishop Leibold donated 723 lbs. of food
  • Incarnation school provided more than 3,600 units of necessary staples
  • St. Luke school provides monthly support to our food pantry
  • St. Peter school donated more than 250 pairs of socks
  • Bishop Fenwick high school regularly provides hundreds of bag lunches per month
  • A group of students from Carroll, Alter, and Chaminade Julianne high schools served our guests in the Women and Families shelter by serving dinner on Halloween and assisting with a party

The partnership with these and other schools in our area are critical to the support of our neighbors in need and allows the students, families, and faculty the opportunity to show the love of Christ in a very tangible way.

Thank you!


Matt Graybill elected as New President, Dayton District Council of St. Vincent de Paul

Posted September 24, 2018 by in All Posts, News


Matt GraybillMatt Graybill will become the President of the Dayton District Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on October 1.  He was unanimously elected by the Council members on August 12. An installation ceremony will be conducted at St. Anthony Church on September 27 at a special prayer service celebrating the feast day of the Society’s patron saint, St. Vincent de Paul.

A lifelong leader in the Dayton area, Graybill is currently Vice President of Employee Experience at Dayton Children’s Hospital, where he has been employed for over thirty years. Additionally, he has served as a board member and president for several organizations in the region.  “Matt is a talented executive with impressive accomplishments among constituencies whose support is vital to the future of St. Vincent de Paul,” said outgoing Dayton District Council President John Glaser. “We look forward to his leadership.”

Graybill is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Incarnation Conference in Centerville.  He served as the president of the Dayton District Council Community Board for three years and is currently its vice president.  He and his wife, Sharon, live in Waynesville, Ohio.

As president, Graybill will serve as a volunteer for a three-year term convening the Dayton District Council, which is comprised of the presidents of 32 St. Vincent de Paul Society Conferences in the Miami Valley. Led by Executive Director Michael Vanderburgh, the District includes a staff of 135 employees and 2,000 volunteers providing emergency shelter, housing, and person-to-person ministries that in 2018 will touch the lives of 100,000+ people in need in the Dayton area. Among St. Vincent’s most visible ministries are the operation and management of the community’s two emergency shelters for homeless men, women and children, an extensive network of transitional and permanent supportive housing serving individuals with special needs, and the Dayton community’s largest network of food pantries.



Gettysburg Oasis in the Dayton Food Desert

Posted August 15, 2018 by in All Posts, News, Stories, Volunteering
Volunteers from UBS Community Corps and University of Dayton Graduate Students helping shelter guests with planting.

The Dayton Metropolitan area has been called a food desert, a region with limited access to affordable fresh produce and groceries. In a place where fresh foods are in short supply, it can be especially difficult for the people we serve to find quality fruits and vegetables. Thanks to our new partnership with the University of Dayton (UD) and The Ohio State University Extension (OSUE), that’s all starting to change.

This summer we created a new Shelter Farm at our Gettysburg Gateway Shelter for Men.  Shelter guests can volunteer to help maintain the farm, while the University of Dayton and The Ohio State University Extension provide their educational and agricultural expertise.

Suzanne Mills-Wasniak, Extension Educator Agriculture and Natural Resources Montgomery County at The Ohio State University Extension, explains OSUE’s role in supporting this innovative project.

Suzanne Mills-Wasniak: “Our job is basically to make sure green things keep coming up from the ground. We contribute our agricultural research to guide the project, help educate the community, and to ensure the best production possible. We’re working with soil that hasn’t been in production for a very long time, but we’re taking every measure to help this new farm thrive. We are using proven technology and best management practices to achieve maximum production.

Although getting the new farm started was challenging, the plot is certainly thriving. The first harvest yielded about 30 pounds of produce, and already the farm’s impressive assortment of over 1,000 plants has grown to yield over 200 pounds in it’s latest harvest. All of that fresh produce goes directly to feeding those served by St. Vincent de Paul Dayton.

The benefits go far beyond nutritional value as well. The farm is part of the Behavioral Activation Research Project in Homeless Shelters, a special collaboration between St. Vincent de Paul Dayton and the University of Dayton which has been ongoing since 2012. 

Dr. Roger Reeb, Professor of Psychology at UD and licensed clinical psychologist, explains how the farm helps to enrich the lives of those we serve by creating an environment of opportunity.

Dr. Reeb: “What’s really special about this farm is that it crosses all three core areas of our Behavioral Activation project, enhancing:  self-sufficiency, coping, and the shelter social environment. In brief, it’s a strategy that increases productive behaviors by bringing a person into contact with opportunities that are empowering and reinforcing and thereby improving mood, adaptive thinking and behavior, and quality of life.”  

Dr. Reeb’s collaboration with St. Vincent de Paul Dayton and The Ohio State University Extension in establishing the farm was one of the activities that he worked on during the final year of his term as the Roesch Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences at UD, supported with data analysis by Dr. Greg Elvers (UD).  

Under the direction of Dr. Andrew Londo, Professor and Assistant Director Agriculture and Natural Resources at OSUE, Suzanne Mills-Wasniak, and other Extension Educators and Program Specialists developed the necessary plans to establish the new farm.

Josh Alpert, Shelter Manager for the Gettysburg Gateway Shelter for Men, describes the change he’s seen in shelter guests.

Josh Alpert: “You can tell that the guests who volunteer in the farm really feel a strong sense of pride and accomplishment. Pulling weeds, harvesting, tending to the plants, seeing something that you worked so hard at grow can really mean a lot.”

“I’ve never planted anything before,” one guest remarked. “It feels real good to be out here in the farm, raising up something good for us to eat.”

The farm also provides opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to help make a difference, and Dr. Reeb’s research has illustrated civic development in students who assist with the project.

Katey Gibbins, a clinical psychology Graduate Student at UD working under Dr. Reeb’s supervision, is completing her M.A. thesis by examining the potential therapeutic applications of the farm.

Katey Gibbins, Graduate Student at the University of Dayton, harvesting fresh produce.

Katey Gibbins: “Research has shown that gardening can do a lot to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and can even work to reduce some mental health symptomology. Part of that comes from the physical components, getting out into that sunny garden space and staying active. However, it’s also really empowering in a psychological sense. Setting your mind on goals, working with your hands to see something through to the end, collaborating with other gardeners—these volunteers are building important life skills.”

The experiential component of the project is designed to help shelter guests develop life enriching skills that go beyond the farm. In fact, some of the farm volunteers have already earned letters of recommendation through this project.

The Gettysburg Shelter Farm will continue to provide fresh produce for guests at both the Women’s and Men’s shelters throughout this growing season and future seasons as well.

Ground cover is used as a weed barrier, helps to retain ground moisture, and protects the produce from possible soil contamination.

New Urban Outreach Center

Posted January 25, 2018 by in All Posts, News

NEW Urban Outreach Center NOW OPEN! Located in the Montgomery County Job Center, SUITE 345 at 1133 S Edwin C Moses Blvd, Dayton, OH 45417, Thursdays 9am-12pm.

While meeting immediate needs will always be a critical part of St. Vincent de Paul’s mission, we realize that we also need to work with the individuals we serve to move beyond the barriers that keep them in poverty. In 2016, the Dayton District Council made a commitment to incorporate Systemic Change approaches into our work. We began this process with our first Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ by World program. This 18-week program helps people in poverty recognize and address the issues that keep them from self-sufficiency. We graduated our first Getting Ahead group in June 2017.

The next step in our Systemic Change program will be the St. Vincent de Paul Urban Outreach Center, which will be sited in the Montgomery County Job Center. The Urban Outreach Center will assist those who reside in the 45417 ZIP, an area of Dayton where the average per capita income is just $22,040, which is less than half of the average for Montgomery County. The Center will also work closely with other agencies serving the 45417 ZIP in order to connect individuals with existing services. This will be a drop-in location staffed by trained Vincentian volunteers who are familiar with available resources.

This new initiative will offer programs designed to help those in need reach greater self-sufficiency. A pivotal part of the vision of the Center is a focus on self-directed goal setting and empowerment. Volunteers who have been trained on the Ohio Benefit Bank will be available one day a month to process applications, and the Center will offer budgeting programming as well.

While the Center will offer financial assistance for immediate needs such as utility bills, the most critical part of this program will be the face-to-face interaction between neighbors-in-need and trained Vincentian volunteers. We are excited to have this opportunity to serve our neighbors in a way that will help them move forward and reach goals that are meaningful to them.


New Executive Director Starting with Gratitude

Posted December 11, 2017 by in All Posts, News

Michael VanderburghFriday Dec. 1st, our new Executive Director Michael E. Vanderburgh officially joined our mission to bring Assistance, Shelter, and Hope to those in need. As we head into the holidays and look towards 2018, Michael reminds us all to reflect on our blessings and to start the new year with gratitude.

“A mentor once taught me that every stage of a relationship should begin and end with gratitude. I am very grateful to begin this month as executive director of St. Vincent de Paul Society in Dayton, and equally grateful for my predecessor David Bohardt. Our dedicated employees and thousands of volunteers form a community that accompanies and embraces the most vulnerable among us, and I am excited and humbled to help lead it.

The season of Advent – literally ‘coming’ – begins the new year on the Christian calendar. What a great opportunity to renew our commitment to serve one another in advance of Christmas.

Christmas marks the arrival of God in the flesh – a poor, homeless infant completely vulnerable to the elements, but soon surrounded by shepherds and kings alike to honor him. This is how God presented himself to the world, and how he chose to teach us how to love him by loving the poor and vulnerable in our community.

This time of year is especially joyous for some, and depressing for many others. When we come together during the Christmas season and generously accompany each other through joys and hardships, we are fully alive with love.

What a privilege it is for those who learn to love from Christmas. Through our ministries of St. Vincent de Paul, our very humanity is celebrated every time we reach out to a hurting neighbor, a stranger with nowhere else to turn, or a child without clothing, food, or safe shelter. Together we show God’s love through our care and accompaniment of over 100,000 people in the Miami Valley touched by our ministries each year.

Thank you for your prayers, your labors, and for your financial sacrifices to support our mission as we enter the new year!”

Michael E. Vanderburgh
Executive Director,
Dayton District Council of St. Vincent de Paul


Michael E. Vanderburgh Selected as New Executive Director

Posted November 9, 2017 by in All Posts, News

Michael VanderburghMichael E. Vanderburgh, currently Chief Development Officer for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, has been named Executive Director of the Dayton District Council of St. Vincent de Paul and will assume his duties this December.

“Michael is a talented executive with impressive accomplishments among constituencies whose support is vital to the future of St. Vincent de Paul,” said Dayton District Council President John Glaser. “We look forward to his leadership.”

Vanderburgh recently led The One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign for the regional ministries of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The campaign has raised over $166 million in pledges with more than $82 million already collected.

At St. Vincent, Vanderburgh will work with a staff of 140 and 2,000 volunteers to coordinate shelter, housing and other ministries that in 2017 will touch the lives 100,000+ poor and homeless residents of the Dayton-area community; and oversee St. Vincent’s $10 million annual operating budget.

Among St. Vincent’s most visible ministries are the operation and management of (a) the community’s two Gateway Shelter for homeless men, women and children; (b) an extensive network of housing for 140+ families and individuals with special needs; and (c) the Dayton community’s largest network of food pantries, serving 50,000 individuals and families each year.

St. Vincent also owns and manages the 400,000+ square foot Montgomery County Job Center complex on Edwin C. Moses Boulevard.

In his capacity as St. Vincent Executive Director, Vanderburgh will work with a senior management team to manage the network of partnerships St. Vincent has established with state, local and federal government agencies; with corporate and philanthropic financial supporters; with 33 Conferences (chapters) whose 750 members will provide $2 million of cash and in-kind assistance to at-risk households in 2017; and with the large number of private donors who support St. Vincent with their time and treasure.

Vanderburgh brings diverse professional experience to his new position. In addition to several executive posts at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, he has served as Director of Estate and Asset Services at the local office of the American Cancer Society; as Senior Development Officer at the Children’s Medical Center of Dayton; and as the Director of Planned Giving at Clarke College. He has also served on the legislative staffs of former U. S. Representative David Hobson (R-OH) of Springfield, and U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ).

Vanderburgh succeeds David Bohardt, who will retire on December 1.


Mission Gala Raises $80,000

Posted October 23, 2017 by in News, Stories

Sade LasterEvery year, Mission Gala transforms lives by raising support for our neighbors in need. This year, we invited the community to “unmask the face of poverty” through a black and white masquerade ball featuring true stories of lives changed by St. Vincent de Paul Dayton.

Allen & Amy Farst of Niche Productions co-chaired Mission Gala and created an incredible video for the event. Founded in Dayton, Niche Productions is an award-winning independent studio whose impressive list of clients includes: the Rolling Stones, Cessna, Google, McDonalds, and more. Their Mission Gala video shared the journeys of four brave people who found hope in St. Vincent de Paul.

Sade Laster (pictured), who was featured in the 2015 Mission Gala video, returned to take the stage, telling the story of how she went from homeless to homeowner.

Homelessness. Depression. Thoughts of suicide.
To see your child and to be unable to provide a meal for him
–that was my rock bottom.

But now, God is my Rock and through Him, through St. Vincent de Paul, I learned to change the world by changing myself first. Now, my son wants to be a chef and give back to the homeless,
because he knows what it means to be hungry.

I thank God for all of you and the phenomenal
impact you’ve had on my life.

~Sade Laster

Thanks to your support, the funds raised from the Mission Gala transform the lives of clients like Sade and her son, offering Assistance, Shelter, and Hope to those in need every day.


Five Things You Didn’t Know About St. Vincent de Paul

Posted September 25, 2017 by in All Posts, News, Spirituality

By Sunnie Lain, Director of Conferences and Community Outreach.

Most people have heard of St. Vincent de Paul, but not too many know very much about him or his life. Here are five things that you may not know:

5. St. Vincent de Paul spent the first twenty years of his life seeking fame and wealth.

Vincent de Paul was born to a peasant family in France in 1580. Although he later achieved fame for his dedication to the poor, his early life was spent attempting to escape his humble roots. His family shared his ambition, hoping that a career in the priesthood would better the family fortune. On one occasion, while he was still in the seminary, he refused to see his father who had come to visit him because he felt embarrassed by the shabbiness of his father’s appearance. Vincent became a priest at the young age of 19, and he spent most of his early priesthood mingling with members of the elite. He was very well liked because of his charm, intelligence, and sense of humor.

4. St. Vincent de Paul was captured by pirates.

In 1605, Vincent was returning home by boat from a trip. He had been on his way to sell some property he had received in an inheritance from a wealthy patron. While travelling, he was captured by pirates, who brought him to Tunis in Northern Africa. He was sold into slavery and he remained a slave for two years. During this time, he prayed to God, telling Him that if his life would be spared and he was freed, he would devote the rest of his life to the service of the poor.

3. St. Vincent de Paul was a community organizer.

After his eventual escape from Africa, Vincent was sent to serve a church in rural France. The poverty he found there shocked him—it was not uncommon for people who were unable to find work in his poor community to die from starvation. He began to take stock of his resources, and his former connections with the wealthy and influential led him to seek their financial assistance. He met with his affluent friends and inspired them to organize into groups going from house to house requesting furniture, food and clothing. They were extremely successful in their efforts, and other parishes began to seek him out to learn how they could organize in the same way. Soon, churches all over France were using the same techniques Vincent had created to help their neighbors in need.

2. St. Vincent de Paul was a legend in his own time.

As time went by, Vincent realized that the mistakes of his young life, especially his focus on wealth and fame, had been caused by a poor faith foundation. As a result, he founded an order of priests, the Vincentians, who received thorough training and who pledged to devote their lives to the spiritual and material needs of the poor. Later, along with Louise de Marillac, he founded the Sisters of Charity. He then expanded his work, founding hospitals, orphanages and homes for people who were mentally ill. He also devoted his last years to serving prisoners and slaves, sharing with them his story of hope as a former slave himself. He was very well known throughout Europe in his own time. He died on September 27, 1660, and he was made a saint in 1737.

1. St. Vincent de Paul did NOT found the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was not founded until more than 150 years after St. Vincent’s death. When Frederic Ozanam founded the Society, he named it after St. Vincent de Paul. Ozanam was devoted to St. Vincent, who is the patron saint of charitable societies, and he modelled the Society on his call to “see Christ in the poor and to be Christ to the poor”. The members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul continue to honor his life and legacy.

“It is not sufficient for me to love God if I do not love my neighbor. I belong to God and to the poor.”
–St. Vincent de Paul


Over 100 Children in Dayton’s Homeless Shelters Need Your Help

Posted by in All Posts, News, Stories

The St. Vincent de Paul Gateway shelters are experiencing a sudden increase in new guests, now averaging over 100 children, 50 families, 85 single women and 190 single men. The additional demand has resulted in an urgent need for blankets, bath & hand towels, underwear and toiletries. You can support our neighbors in need by donating goods or funds today through stvincentdayton.org/donate. St. Vincent de Paul will also be hosting a charity Gala to raise support against poverty and homelessness on Oct. 7, 6:30 pm at the David H.  Ponitz Center. More information and event tickets are available through missiongala.org.