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District Meetings:

  • December 5, 2023 – District Meeting Held in Person at Brown County Inn
    • SVdP Indy Volunteer Awards were presented to Sue and Rollie Hammans
    • Sr. Joan Miller was also recognized
  • February 6, 2024 – Upcoming District Meeting via Zoom

Annual Reports Progress:
All 8 Conferences Finalized Annual Reports, District Report Finalized on Dec 2nd

Ozanam Orientation:
Potential Ozanam Training at North Vernon, St Joseph Parish Hall (near Hayden) on March 16th – To Be Confirmed with the Training / Formation team

New Conference Formation:
St Patrick’s Parish in Salem is discerning to potentially form a new SVdP Conference. Jim Clerc met with Father Santhosh and the parish council on January 11th to discuss conference formation and answer their questions. The material was well received.

Attendance at the December 5th District Meeting: Jim Clerc, Columbus, Marilyn Clerc, Columbus, John Schaffner, Brown County, Shirley Boardman, Brown County, Jeana Kapsczynski, Martinsville, Tom Kapsczynski, Martinsville, Sue Hammans, Martinsville, Rolly Hammans, Martinsville, David Garrison, Martinsville, Carol Garrison, Martinsville, Paula Molin, Martinsville, Doug Molin, Martinsville, Scott Alber, Bloomington. Steve Keucher, Bloomington. Nora Campbell, North Vernon, Linda Dickerson, North Vernon, Vickie Ernstes, North Vernon, Guest: Carol Nathan, Brown County

Click on a conference to view their report:

A formal written report was not presented, however, members of the conference shared that they have distributed 44 beds. A new program has been started where they make sandwiches and provide a bagged lunch twice each month at the Red Barn for those who come there for food and the thrift store. Often those who come are homeless.
This program has been well received and creates a great opportunity for them to interact and learn more about those most vulnerable in their community. They have received a $20,000 grant from the Raskob Foundation and a $5000 grant from the SVDP USA Friends of the Poor. Primarily their funding is going towards the support of beds in partnership with the Malouf mattress program. They receive 5th Sunday donations from St. Martin de Tours and can help pay utility bills for neighbors in need. Much of their work is collaborative with other community partners, especially with the Red Barn in Martinsville. They are receiving excellent support from their home parish.

Scott Alber presented the Bloomington Report. Since their last district meeting on 10/3/2023, their Bloomington conference has used all the funds from their previously reported grants. They have received one new grant in the amount $20, 000 from the Catholic Foundation’s Good Shepard Fund to be used exclusively to help those in need with rent and utility bills. This was an unexpected blessing that They received notice of right before Thanksgiving.
For the months of October and November, they provided $32,094 in financial assistance to 173 households, distributed 1270 city bus tickets to 62 households, issued 201 furniture vouchers and delivered 40 appliances and 894 pieces of furniture. For the fiscal year 2023 their conference provided a total of $219,820 in financial assistance and distributed 7207 furniture, appliances, and household items.

This year they will again be distributing 100 Christmas baskets to their neighbors in need that have registered with us in advance to receive them. The bags have already been picked up by parishioners of their 3 Catholic Churches who are to fill them with purchased food items and return them to us on December 8th. They will then add a $20 Kroger card to each bag and distribute them.

They are having a Christmas party for their members on December 13th and then on December 18th their executive committee will be meeting to go over their Standards of Excellence plan and other end of the year business items.

The Brown County conferences completed their Annual Report and shared details during the District Meeting. John Schaffner (President) & Shirley Boardman (Secretary) discussed the status of their effort to procure a replacement Freightliner Refrigerated Vehicle due to the accident that occurred in September. Several suggestions were offered by the group during the District meeting.

Status of Audit: As a USDA food pantry, they are subject to an annual audit under regulations issued by the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Homeland Security. They are nearing completion of this audit which examines their checking and savings accounts. financial transactions, purchases including the detail on food purchases, record keeping, and compliance associated with the TEFAP Program (The Emergency Food Assistance Program), client records, distributions, donor correspondence, assets, risk management procedures etc. John Aumage takes the lead on this with elements contributed by Jonathan Bolte and Shirley Boardman.

Safeguarding Status: A volunteer (Cheryl Orr Dixon) is making name tags and has purchased t-shirts and aprons to help distinguish volunteers from clients during distribution, warehouse, and pantry activities. Nine members of their conference attended the national training seminar, so they believe they have a good foundation. Training has not been extended beyond their core leadership and they’ll work on a plan to include collecting and archiving the forms. Criminal history checks have not been submitted yet. Plan to give this more attention in January once they get through other priorities.
Standards of Excellence: Do not anticipate making any changes relevant to the Standards other than their own routine self-evaluation/reflection which they do at each board meeting. Quality indicators they are examining unrelated to the Standards of Excellence process include: (1) Volunteer orientation (2) Efficiencies (3) Efficacy of Special Projects (4) Volunteer Engagement & Recognition (5) Community & Faith Community Engagement. They do not anticipate expanding to meet more than once each month. They are, however, in continuous conversation with each other via text, telephone and email nearly every day on matters related to the operations. Their most prevalent concern is exhaustion, the sheer physicality of their ministry and resilience of members and volunteers

Status of truck replacement: Progress is slow so far in their finding a 26 foot Freightliner/Reefer Truck to replace the one lost due to an accident in September. Insurance coverage exceeded their original purchase price (they purchased for $29,500 and insurance paid $36,349 after deductible) but national inventory is low for the specific type of vehicle they need. They are working with a sales team from Truck Country and hope to hear good news soon. They have targeted their purchase price at $50,000, the amount they can afford right now. In the meantime, they are using their 26-foot Freightliner box truck (not a reefer) and are using freezer blankets to keep food cool. They transport food each week from Midwest Food in Indianapolis. They share their trucks with the Pentecostals who use them at least once a week also to pick up food from Midwest Food.

Food distribution: They are experiencing an uptick in demand for food during, especially during the last two months. In contrast to FY21 (during the height of the pandemic) when generous amounts of USDA food were available, they now must purchase more food to insure a balance of protein, fruit, vegetables etc.

Christmas Celebration: They offer two special programs each year targeted at their children and youth. Their Back to School Program concluded having served 756 students with $60 vouchers to be redeemed at Walmart. They are now preparing for their Christmas Celebration which will be held on December 4, 9, 11 and 16 from 11:30 to 3:30. Each shift needs a minimum of 11 volunteers to work the 4-hour shift. Set-up includes gifts, hats & gloves, personal care items, clothing, books, and miscellaneous items. Preparation involves hundreds of hours dedicated to purchasing items, sorting through donations, re-arranging the facility and contents to accommodate the event, marketing and communications, outreach, etc. Over the 4 days, a minimum of 176 volunteer hours are required. Last year 138 households for a total of 552 children participated.

Vickie Ernestes, St. Mary Conference President reported: — In September, they assisted 65 households representing 191 individuals with rent, utilities, food, and clothing totaling $9,374.19 of which $2495 was for food. In October, They assisted 73 households representing 215 individuals in the amount of $12,675.02 of which $2,290 was for food. –Prayers were offered for 2 of their former members who passed away recently. –They are continuing to work on improving their welcoming of new volunteers. Each new person is provided with a guided tour of their facilities and operations and then paired with a seasoned volunteer in the area they wish to work. This includes 4 new people during the past 2 months. In 2023, They had 88 volunteers including 40 active members and 16 associate members.

They have completed and submitted their end of year reports thanks to the hard work of volunteer coordinators, Linda Dickerson and Libby Caudill, and their Treasurer, Pat Dickerson. –They continue to receive bountiful donations of clothing and household goods to cycle through their store which is seeing heavy holiday shopping currently. They continue to have excess funds available and would like to share them with conferences in their district. –They partnered with Seymour conference on a case for a homeless couple in need of shelter by providing one week stay in a local motel. –They have been working on updating their assistance guidelines and hope to have them approved at the next meeting. Next, they plan to tackle updating their by-laws. –The Parish food drive is underway to replenish their pantry for the winter. –They are looking into replacing their oldest computer and monitor. –According to the Standards of Excellence, they do maintain a connection with their parishes by placing monthly reports in the bulletin but have not yet had luck with involving their pastor. We discussed some options for improving communication with the pastor during the District meeting.

Marilyn Clerc reported for the St. Bartholomew Conference that they continue to see significant increases in charitable works assistance provided to neighbors-in-need. In October and November, they provided over 86 hours of Vincentian service (primarily in-person visits) and over 543 miles traveled to provide that service. Their financial support for neighbors-in-need during this period was primarily for rent, assistance and utilities and totaled $8940. –For systemic change, the conference recently completed their 4th round of Changing Lives Forever in their community. Graduation was on December 7th; Peter Zubler attended in person and Andrea Leadford attended via Zoom. Six investigators graduated who worked with three facilitators from the parish and a graduate facilitator from a prior round. As an extension of systemic change, the conference recently to restarted a Micro-Loan program working with Centra Credit Union as a community partner. Funds for the Micro Loan Program are raised through the local conference and reported to SVdP Indy. As a follow-up to the Standards of Excellence, they completed a stakeholder assessment on Services and Growth with conference members, their pastor, and their associate pastor. They also completed the SVDP internal audit worksheet and have established written guidelines for financial assistance to neighbors-in-need. They are continuing to deploy the Safeguarding policy. All ID badges from the Conference have been deployed, and they had members sign the code of conduct when they receive the badges. They have a few members that will need to take the on-line Safeguarding training. They are looking forward for the Council to send through the background check links to conference members.

(Submitted in writing by Steve Goebel, Conference President)

  • Since the last report, they have been serving anywhere from 4 to 7 families per week. Assistance provided included dry and canned food, utilities, rent, vouchers for furniture and clothing, and gift cards for perishable groceries and fuel for transportation.
  • They are still conducting most of their visits at the thrift store. Approx. ½ the families served need food and they have a food pantry, making it convenient for them to select items. Only conducting about 1/4th of their visits at their residence.
  • They did discuss the Safeguarding training materials as a conference and some conference members attended the webinar in Q4. Additional members will need to attend on-line training offered through SVdP Indy
  • Shirley Boardman also asked that they have their members sign release forms for travel to/from SVDP associated business events; Jim Clerc sent Steve Goebel the SVdP Indy release form
  • April Rife is their new Treasurer, replacing Angela Matney who has been serving since the conference was started up. Angela is still an active member of the conference and will assist April with the tools in place to conduct business.
  • Deacon Charlie attended the most recent Spiritual Advisor training.
  • Annual reports have been completed/submitted.
  • Visited Good Shepherd conference in Indianapolis and they shared an overview of their operation with us. They serve about as many families as the Shelby County conference but have much fewer resources to provide. The area they serve is somewhat economically depressed and there are many in need of assistance. They discussed twinning with them at a conference meeting and there was unanimous agreement that They should enter a fraternal relationship with them.
  • Standards of Excellence gap mitigation plan included twinning with Good Shepherd (complete), incorporate the Serving in hope series formation at regular meetings, opportunities to attend regional meetings, asking conference members to consider serving their Council, educating their members on local resources to help those they serve better understand ways to escape poverty, and follow up after visits to check-in, working with local businesses to obtain contributions for a reverse raffle to be held in February to raise funds.

(Submitted in writing by Dave Rossi):
The St. Ambrose Conference continues to take calls everyday from members of their community in need. In the past fiscal year, their conference has disbursed a little over $20,000 in aid to include: lodging, food, utilities, gas, and medicine. Their Standards of Excellence action plan is as follows: –Serving in Hope program has not been used and they plan to use this program in their 2024 meetings. –Systemic Change Program has not been initiated and They plan to explore this with Jim Clerc to better understand the program and whether it might apply to St. Ambrose. –They have not enlisted local businesses for help, but they are working closely with the Township Trustee and other churches in their community.

(Karen Wade was unable to attend the District meeting due to family illness and unable to provide a conference report.)