Author: St Vincent De Paul

December 2021 – Newsletter

December 2021 – Newsletter

St Vincent News

St. Vincent News

Autumn is my favorite season. I love the cooler temperatures, the beautiful fall colors, and the leaves that decorate our pantry hallway carpet. Autumn is also harvest time and a time to give thanks for bountiful blessings. I am thankful for our generous donors who make it possible for us to operate the food pantry and provide emergency services to those in need. I am also grateful to our many dedicated volunteers who work joyfully and at some risk to themselves serving others.

Our pantry guests are thankful they can once again choose the food they desire. At the start of the pandemic, we closed our shopping-style pantry and switched to giving out standard food boxes with only a few guest choices. Now that our staff are vaccinated and have some protection, guests are again welcomed into our pantry waiting room where they mark what they want, and their food boxes are packed while they wait.

Hunger Prevention Coalition of Bend gave us a generous donation along with a challenge to improve the nutritional value of our food offerings. We responded by procuring meat from the 1017 Project and  purchasing canned vegetables, eggs, soups, and milk when they aren’t available from our regional food bank operated by Neighbor Impact in Redmond. I am grateful for the weekly donations of food we receive from our local grocers, the produce donated by local gardeners this past season, and the generous donation from patrons of Grocery Outlet’s “End Hunger” campaign.

I am proud of the vital role we play helping folks in emergency situations who don’t qualify for government programs or whose urgency demands immediate assistance. We are the backup for those who are one paycheck away from homeless. Our top priority is helping families stay in their homes by assisting them with rent and utility payments. Another top priority is providing temporary shelter to those experiencing domestic abuse, eviction, or other loss of home when homeless shelters aren’t appropriate or don’t have space.

I am thankful for the collaborative ministry we share with nine local churches who refer people in need to us and supported us with over $16,000 in donations this past fiscal year. I pray that you also have much to be thankful for this fall season.

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Message from the President

Message from the President

Maintaining our Food Pantry as an Essential Service for those in need

We are privileged to be able to maintain our Food Pantry as an Essential Service for those in need of food during this incredible time of disruption. Our operation has changed to maintain separation for both Guests and Volunteers. I am grateful for our new, younger Volunteers who have come forward to replace older Volunteers who’ve had to stay home to protect themselves.

NeighborImpact, our regional food bank, assures us they will provide us an ample supply of food to give to folks who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 as well as our regular, low income Guests.

I wish to acknowledge the tremendous support and mentoring I received from Tom MacDonald who stepped down as Treasurer and Board Member on April 1st. Tom’s business advice and expertise this past year put us in a firm financial position. Tom’s new role will be Advisor to the Board.

Elsa Hyder is our new Treasurer. She’s been retired 19 years. Her last position was Executive Assistant to the president of Pacific Racing Association.

Socorro (Cookie) Benton was promoted to Vice President of Operations in recognition of her dedication, hard work and leadership.

Food Pantry

Households are eligible for food every two weeks. They receive non-perishable food weighing forty pounds or more, based on number of people in the household, plus two kinds of meat, eggs, milk, and fruit, depending on availability.

Guests enter a Drive-thru off NE Loper Avenue between N Main and NE Elm streets. They are told to stay in their car. A volunteer takes their information and posts it on a sticky note on their car’s windshield. Three volunteers load their vehicle with food.

Our pantry is open 1-3 PM, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Guests are encouraged to come on their assigned day as determined by the first letter of their last name: Tuesday (A-G),
Wednesday (H-Q), Thursday (R-Z).

Emergency Services

We continue to assist folks needing help with rent, utilities, shelter, transportation, and propane. Please call 541-447-7662 to request assistance.


We rely on the generosity of donors to fund our operation which costs $5,000 per month. Please consider making a donation, either by mail or online at

Charles H. Kurtz

Volunteers work to get food out to guests

Thinking outside the box-or in this case outside the pantry

Story courtesy of the Central Oregonian

For volunteers and patrons at St. Vincent de Paul in Prineville, it was a busy first week of COVID-19 operation at the local Food Pantry.

"Food distribution moved outside to the parking lot just north of the pantry," said Charlie Kurta, president of Prineville SVDP. "Guests were directed to stay in their cars and enter the pantry queue off Northeast Loper Avenue."

Kurtz noted that at opening of business Thursday, cars were backed up on Northeast Loper Avenue waiting in line.

"For the week, 103 families received food boxes, which is close to our all-time weekly high," Kurtz said.

Volunteers started packing food boxes at 10 a.m. and loading them onto the pantry truck. By 12:30, the truck, fully loaded with 30-35 boxes of food, was moved into the parking lot. Large carts with apples, oranges, milk and coolers of frozen meat were stationed on north side of the truck in the shade. About 10 more food boxes were prepared during the afternoon to keep up with demand.

Guests were offered a choice of two meats, plus milk, fruit, and a food box of nonperishables sized to their family.

"Their cars were loaded in one to two minutes," said Kurtz. He noted that he felt like part of a pit crew at the racetrack, having watched "Ford vs. Ferrari."

"Gov. Kate Brown's office considers the network and its partners and programs essential locations," said Alicia Atalla-Mei, statewide network manager of the Oregon Food Bank. "Our operations, and that of our food distribution partners and meal sites, are exempt from both the restriction on gatherings of over 25 and orders that are restricting restaurants."

Kurtz said St. Vincent de Paul is in need of more volunteers and more shifts to alleviate the workload.

"Many volunteers who started packing food boxes at 10 a.m. stayed to distribute food in the afternoon," he said. "We need two shifts of volunteers: morning and afternoon."

He added that the nonprofit also needs younger backs to lift and place food boxes in guest's car seats.

In addition, food can be distributed in two hours. Opening hours will be shortened to 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

"This was week one of what may be week 26 or 52. We don't know, but we need to plan for the long haul," Kurtz concluded.

Hours of operation at SVDP:

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: 1 PM to 3 PM

Closed Saturdays

The Friends of St. Vincent de Paul Celebration was canceled last week because of COVID-19.

St. Vincent de Paul spent more than it took in December through February due to increased demand for emergency services. Operating the pantry and emergency services costs $5,000 per month. Monthly donations can be made by visiting, and clicking the Donate Now button or mailing a check to St. Vincent de Paul Society of Crook County, PO Box 545, Prineville.

Read this article on the Central Oregonian website --->

The impact of the housing crisis in Crook County

St. Vincent de Paul provides temporary shelter, emergency rent, transportation costs and utility assistance

By Ramona McCallister, Reporter

(photos courtesy of Ramona McCallister, CO reporter)

Charlie Kurtz, and Tom MacDonald of St. Vincent de Paul of Crook County, go over cases
for housing assistance on Wednesday afternoon. In the past 7.5 months, 78% of the assistance
they paid out was to help families stay in their homes and to pay for rent and utility assistance.

Read this article on the Central Oregonian website --

Despite better economic times, the number of individuals who need assistance to stay in their homes or to pay their heating bills is at a critical point this winter. St. Vincent de Paul serves a vulnerable demographic in Crook County, with the majority living on a fixed income, such as Social Security Disability, and less than 20% working full or part time. With a whopping 33% of its clients identified as homeless, the services that St. Vincent de Paul of Crook County provide also include temporary shelter, emergency rent, transportation costs and utility assistance.

They are the main point of contact in Crook County for people needing such services, and are often the last resort for those who find themselves displaced, unable to pay utilities or rent, or any number of circumstances that require emergency services.

Charlie Kurtz, president of St. Vincent de Paul of Crook County, said the nonprofit spent $12,500 in emergency assistance helping those in crisis with rent, utilities, transportation and emergency shelter in the last seven and a half months.

“The majority of our assistance, 78%, went toward keeping families in their homes by helping

them with rent or utility payments,” said Kurtz. Of the clients St. Vincent serves in Crook County, 33% are homeless, 38% live in private rentals, 13% own their home, and 16% live in a mobile home.

“Folks we serve are one paycheck away from homelessness,” said Kurtz. “We are their emergency backup.” He added that this is taking into consideration those people who are already in rental units and then suffer an injury or any number of things that come along that prevent them from making their rent. He emphasized that in Prineville, eviction from a rental quickly becomes a crisis.

The reality of being at risk of losing your housing is more than a statistic. The circumstances vary, and Kurtz and his staff see the faces of these stories on a daily basis.  Brian is a single father of a 13-year-old son. His wife passed away from cancer several years ago. He injured himself in February 2019 and missed enough work to get behind on his rent payments. “I didn’t know what to do, and I was worried I couldn’t keep a roof over (my son’s) head,” Brian said. A friend referred him to St. Vincent de Paul, and he relayed his circumstances to Kurtz and why he was behind on his rent. St. Vincent De Paul of Crook County helped him pay his rent so he wouldn’t lose his housing. “I had no idea that St. Vincent helped out at all,” Brian said. “I happened to call (Kurtz) and he was very helpful. I don’t know what I would have done without him.”

“Affordable housing in Prineville is hard to find and precious to retain,” said Kurtz. According to interviews with several clients, Kurtz said the average current monthly costs for housing are a stretch for many of his clients. They report that the starting cost is $400 for trailer space, $1,000 for a three-bedroom apartment and $1,500 for a three-bedroom house.

“Ten local churches help fund our emergency assistance program through monthly donations,” he said. “We match their donations dollar for dollar. The current year’s budget is $20,000, of which SVdP needs to raise $10,000. We expect the demand to be greater than our budgeted amount.”

The only other point of contact for emergency assistance for rent and utilities is NeighborImpact, which serves Crook, Jefferson and Deschutes counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Their vision is to empower individuals and families to succeed and become engaged citizens in their communities. NeighborImpact has two main departments, including Homesource and Housing Stabilization.

According to Molly Heiss, director for housing stabilization for NeighborImpact Community Services, its energy assistance department has been busy. There are also cold weather shelters supported by NeighborImpact and run by Redemption House Ministries. Currently, Heiss said the nonprofit only has short-term rental assistance funds for veterans, regardless of their housing situation.

“They can be unhoused,” she added. “They do need to provide us with documentation of military service and discharge status.” She said there is also an uptick in other parts of Central Oregon.

“Every part of Central Oregon, including the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, is experiencing the burden of the increased cost of rental housing on our marginalized citizens with tight budgets,” Heiss concluded. “This has been trending up over the years as our housing and utility costs continue to rise.”

“This has been trending up over the years as our housing and utility costs continue to rise.” — Molly Heiss, NeighborImpact

Urgent Appeal For Your Support

Urgent Appeal For Your Support

In our community, families are being forced out of their homes, power is shutoff for people during cold weather and many seasonal workers are experiencing financial crisis. Please help us assist those most in need during the winter when conditions are the most severe.

St. Vincent de Paul of Crook County not only serves the poor with food and temporary shelter, we also are Crook County’s primary provider of emergency rent, utility and transportation assistance. When publicly
funded agencies run out of funds, people come to us as their last resort. Recently, the demand for help far exceeds our available funds.

Almost all Crook County churches make monthly contributions to St. Vincent de Paul’s emergency funds. St. Vincent de Paul then acts on behalf of donors to help those most in need. St. Vincent de Paul relies on local donations to make up the large gap between what is donated each month and the actual demand for funds. December through March are the most critical months. Please help us protect our neighbors stay in their homes with full utility service. They rely on us and we rely on you.

St. Vincent de Paul is an all-volunteer tax exempt non-profit. All of the money you donate goes directly to assist the less fortunate in our Community. Make a donation ...