17th Annual $1 Million Giveaway to Fight Hunger

Friday - March 14, 2014

For the 17th consecutive year, Alan Shawn Feinstein will divide $1 million among non-profit hunger fighting agencies nationwide, using it as a spur to help them raise funds this March and April.

The greater the amount of donations made to us, the greater the amount of Feinstein challenge money we can get! Donations and pledges made between March 1st and April 30th can be used in the challenge. Donations can include cash, checks, and food items (at the rate of $1.00 per item or pound). Just let us know that you heard about the challenge and that's why you're donating!

Feinstein's past annual spring $1 million challenges to fight hunger have raised over $2 billion for over 1800 agencies and houses of worship nationwide helping the needy. Donations toward this campaign makes you a partner in the most successful ongoing grassroots effort ever to fight hunger!

For more information, please visit www.feinsteinfoundation.org

St. Vincent de Paul Place | 1:37 PM

QPR Suicide Prevention Course

Thursday - March 13, 2014

QUESTION, PERSUADE, REFER

3 simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Each year thousands of Americans, like you, are saying "Yes" to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor.

In one hour, you can become a Gatekeeper

As a QPR-trained Gatekeeper you will learn to:
*recognize the warning signs of suicide
*know how to offer hope
*know how to get help and save a life

Gate keepers include: parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, squad leaders, foremen, police officers, advisors, caseworkers, firefighters, and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.

Free training offered by:
NORWICH SUICIDE PREVENTION ALLIANCE
St. Vincent de Paul Place
120 Cliff St.
Wednesday, March 26 9 - 10:30 a.m.

St. Vincent de Paul Place | 7:26 AM

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Friday - March 7, 2014

By Rav Julius Rabinowitz

I recently came across a study of the charitable gift-giving propensities of upper middle- and upper-income Americans. What caught my eye was a chart that showed that there were wildly differing amounts that were given for people on the same income level, both on a percentage basis and an absolute basis, which appeared to be dependent on the location of their residence.

At first, I surmised that this might be a red-state/blue state phenomenon. But as I looked closer I didn’t observe any such breakdown, as for example, seeing that the percentages seemed to be all over the place for similar income levels in Texas, New York, Nebraska and Connecticut. As I plowed (I couldn’t resist the use of this verb between snowstorms) through the article, I came across a surprising finding: those who lived in an area in which there were very few low income or poor residents, gave significantly less in charity – again on both absolute and percentage terms, than those who lived in somewhat close proximity to others having lesser income levels. Thus, the author concluded that those who are exposed to the less fortunate in our society are more likely to be charitable than those whose everyday lives do not expose them to those in need.

What this study found was that an everyday reminder that there are people in need appeared to drive one's overall giving propensity. Of course, this should not be so earth-shattering: in every analysis of gift-giving propensities that I came across, the most important force that drove a person's giving was the awareness of a specific need; for of course, if one doesn't know that a specific charity needed help, why would one think of giving to that charity.

As I pondered this statistic, I was wondering how much poverty I was exposed to on an everyday basis. Sure, like all of you, my mailbox is filled with requests, especially in December when we are supposedly being motivated by the tax-reducing consequence of our giving. (What, people don't reduce their taxes when they give in January?) But aside from the mailbox stuffers, how often am I exposed to real poverty when I travel from my home in my car to my workplace and then back in my car as I shuttle home. And is your life that much different? And if it's not, what is my responsibility to elevating your awareness?

I decided to conduct research in this "awareness" element and came across some not-so-intuitive conclusions. For example, while awareness of need is a first prerequisite for philanthropy, people have to become aware of a need for support. Generally speaking, the degree of need for help is positively related to the likelihood that help will be given, but awareness alone is not enough. For example, an experimental study tested for effects of watching a telethon and found a positive effect on attitudes toward disabled people, but not on the amount of donations given.

On the other hand, knowing a victim, however, also promotes giving to other victims to whom the potential donor is not exposed directly. Indeed, focus groups show that donors cite knowing a (potential) beneficiary as a motive for charitable contributions. Survey studies suggest that awareness of need is increased when people know potential beneficiaries of a charitable organization. People who have relatives suffering from a specific illness are more likely to give to charities fighting those illnesses.

Awareness of need may also be increased by solicitors for charitable contributions informing potential donors about the needs of victims. Perhaps that's where I come in.

I look at how horrible these last few weeks of winter have been for us. In addition to the usual bone-shattering cold, we have been inundated with what seems to be record-amounts of snowfall -- or do we say that every winter? I hope that everybody in our community has been able to weather the storms and to continue to provide warmth when you are able to closet yourself indoors.

But there are many who have been struggling to continue to obtain their everyday energy needs to provide them with even minimal levels of warmth this winter. And the reality is that with the continuing effects of the recession and the sky high prices being commanded by the energy sources used to generate home heating, there are many who are struggling to meet this winter's challenges.

I should have brought this reality to your attention earlier in the season; but the fact is that it is still extremely cold and no one is going to be out of the woods for some time to come. So, while people are sometime creative in finding post hoc excuses for not giving, I'm hoping that you will not use the "the season is almost over" excuse to not give.

Information about single victims is more vivid and more emotionally distressing than information about multiple, unidentified victims. While our community appears to be fortunate in preventing my being able to frame the need for contributions by identifying a specific victim, my fellow Norwich clergy are not so lucky and they shared individual stories with me at the most recent Interfaith meeting.

So what can you do? Well, there are funds administered by the State that are available resources for those needing assistance in meeting their fuel energy needs, and more information about these funds can be found at the following website operated by the United Way.

But if you don't mind, I'd like to highlight a different fund for you to help. I'm sure that virtually all of you may be aware of this resource and I'm sorry that I was uninformed about it until recently. The Norwich Area Clergy Fund is a fund that is operated by the Norwich Area Clergy Association. Unlike the fund operated by the United Way, this fund is dedicated to those needing heating assistance that live in the Norwich community. Moreover, the Norwich clergy members screen Norwich residents requesting assistance to ensure that they have exhausted all other state resources (LIHEAP, Operational Fuel and Project Warm Up). The maximum contribution that the fund can make is $200.00 per family household.

The need at this time is extremely great: As of the end of last week, the balance in the fund was $788.05, barely enough to be able to help about four Norwich households at this time.

Thus, for those of you reading this column in the warmth of your homes or offices, consider the nameless person that you don't know who is huddling under a stack of blankets; and seriously consider opening up your checkbook at this time and make a donation to this fuel fund, payable to the Norwich Area Clergy Association, and mail it to the treasurer: Jillian Corbin, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul Place, at 120 Cliff Street, Norwich CT 06360.

I know I will.

Rav Julius Rabinowitz is the Spiritual Leader of Beth Jacob Synagogue, Norwich, CT, and is reprinted with permission from the March 2014 issue of the Synagogue’s VOICE publication.

St. Vincent de Paul Place | 12:31 PM

Thank you, Home Depot!

Thursday - March 6, 2014

We'd like to thank Home Depot for donating their materials and labor to fix the peeling walls in the women's restroom and hallway! The volunteers who assisted with the project are:

Chris Kaminski (project manager)
Mike Vollero (store manager)
Jeff Albot
Jay Belliveau

The project included:
Taping off the walls, covering the floors, scraping down the walls, spackling the walls, spraying down the walls once a day to cure the spackle, prime walls, and paint the walls.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

St. Vincent de Paul Place | 1:52 PM

Get With the B.E.A.T. Program

Thursday - March 6, 2014

There will be an informational session for the out of school youth as a part of the "Get With The B.E.A.T. Program" on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 from 10 a.m. to noon.

The meeting will be held at CT Works, 113 Salem Turnpike, North Building, Suite 200 (the building at the back of the McDonald's Plaza off 395, exit 80) in Norwich, CT.

To register, call 860-859-5604 with names of attendees and a contact number

Questions? Call Lora Castranova at 860-859-5604

The FREE Out of School Youth "Get with the B.E.A.T." (Better Education Always Triumphs) program in Norwich serves eligible young people ages 17 - 21 who want to earn a GED and find a better job. This part-time program includes high school computer literacy assessment, post-secondary training exploration, tuition assistance and job search assistance.

Parents and interested students are welcome to attend. Join us for a program overview and an opportunity to have your questions answered.

Funding is provided by the Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board.

St. Vincent de Paul Place | 11:05 AM