President's May Report

(posted: May 1, 2020)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Conference Presidents, please share this monthly news with your members to keep everyone connected with what is happening at all levels of the Society. Particular and Central Council Presidents, please share this monthly news with your Vincentian members who may not belong to a Conference.

The May spiritual reflection looks at the Easter we celebrated like none other behind closed doors. Please reach out to should you have questions on spiritual resources.

A reflection on the Pandemic reflecting on this time of containment and opportunity, written by National Council Spiritual Advisor, Archbishop Emeritus Sylvain Lavoie OMI.

Another beautiful reflection on Four Candles giving us hope.

We are sharing highlights from the 2019 annual reports submitted. Thank you to everyone who assisted with pulling the necessary information to prepare and submit your annual reports.

Since our in-person AGM had to be cancelled, we plan to hold a virtual AGM using Microsoft Teams Meeting on June 20. Documents will be shared with voting members in mid-May.

We have seen many people coming together during this unprecedented time of need. Prayers, having faith and being united in our actions will bring us through this difficult time stronger than before.

Further to earlier communications, please continue to ensure the safety and well-being of our members, staff, volunteers and people we serve with social distancing, frequent hand washing, disinfecting frequent touch areas, etc.

Highlights I have heard from you on ways of helping our friends in need include:

  • St. Mary Conference in Collingwood is issuing “digital gift cards” from Walmart which can be emailed or sent by text to friends in need who, in turn, can shop online with or at the store.
  • St. Mary Conference in Collingwood has also purchased bulk gift cards from Giant Tiger, and when assistance is needed, an appointment is arranged for the individual to pick up the gift card.
  • A number of Conferences are providing food gift cards to be picked up by pre-arranged appointment while adhering to social distancing.
  • St. Joseph Conference in Stratford provided a take out meal at their monthly event in April and served 97 members.
  • St. Mary Conference in Simcoe is providing a hot take out meal 3 days a week in place of community meals, and average 78 meals per day.
  • Mississauga is providing free food set up on a table
  • Food pantry in Peterborough is open with a different shopping model where food is pre-packed and picked up by persons in need outside the building.
  • St. Peter Conference in Goderich prepares food hampers to be picked up or if people cannot get out, hampers will be delivered and left at their door.
  • Ozanam Center in St. Catharines is handing out bagged lunches.
  • St. Anthony of Padua Conference in Kincardine is providing food gift cards to the school principal who, in turn, provides to families in need, as families reach out to the principal for assistance.
  • Conferences are making phone calls to families and individuals to check in on how they are doing and connect them to resources as needed.
  • Conferences are delivering food or food gift cards and dropping off at door.
Please continue to email me your stories and photos of how you are serving our friends in need. I also encourage you to reach out to your local media and share your stories of how you are helping those less fortunate, as the media is looking for good news stories during these challenging times.

St. Mary Conference in Collingwood applied for funding from Second Harvest through the government funding provided. I was advised there was a lengthy application to be completed and they were advised within 5 days that their application had been approved for the amount requested. I encourage Conferences/Councils to apply for this funding if needed in your local community further to the information provided in our April 20 communication.

The Emergency Community Support Fund was announced on April 21, which is a $350M investment to support vulnerable Canadians through charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to those in need.

National Council obtained further clarification not reflected in the announcement:
  • The Federal Government will disburse funds through national partners, such as United Way Canada, Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada.
  • Community organizations will be able to apply for funds through the national partners or their local entities. The partners and their networks are working as quickly as possible to set up application processes. Community organizations should check the websites of United Way Canada, Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada to learn more about how and when they will be able to apply.
Many of the items covered by the announcement are an extension of the mission of the Society under a person-to-person contact umbrella (today, primarily via home visits). It includes items such as how do we address the isolation aspect, the elderly who have no contact, etc. It may not be a food hamper that is required, but instead a phone call chat, a Skype/Zoom/TEAMS chat, help in filling out a government application, shopping for groceries for someone who is not able to go out to the grocery store.

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance was announced on April 24 which is a partnership with provinces and territories for small businesses. This would be beneficial for Councils who rent SSVP store properties

Store managers took part in a virtual TEAMS meeting earlier this week to work on preparing strategies so they are ready once we get the go ahead from the government to re-open stores. Presidents, Councils and Store Committees should contact their store manager for more information on their strategic plan, or feel free to contact

An online National Board meeting was held in early April. Summary highlights include:
  • National ANF meeting in Calgary scheduled for June was cancelled; National AGA (statutory meeting) will be held electronically for voting members – more information to come.
  • 2021 ANF will be held in Quebec in celebration of 175th anniversary of SSVP in Canada.
  • Revised Canadian Rule & Statutes will be posted online on the National website later this month. Printed versions will be ordered after covid-19 crisis is over.
  • National Stores Committee will be formed.
  • Materials are being developed for World Day of the Poor taking place November 15.
  • Launch of National Housing Campaign is deferred to early 2021 due to covid-19.
  • We encourage the sharing of stories of SSVP activities to raise awareness of the Society.
  • Reminder to keep your website and social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, etc. current and up-to-date; if they are not kept current and active, it is important that those sites be closed.
The April Vincenpaul Canada newsletter is dedicated to Quebec Regional Council.

A bit of history shared from International Council From the Beginning to the Present Day - SSVP

Thank you for all the amazing work you continue to do serving our friends in need. Stay safe and healthy.

Feel free to contact or at any time should you have questions.

Linda Dollard

President's Message