11 moments of joy and generosity during coronavirus response

Times may be tough, but the St. Vincent de Paul spirit lives on

Amidst all the handwashing, sanitizing, gloves and separation, one thing remains the same at St. Vincent de Paul—the many moments of joyful service and compassion happening daily.

The week of March 16 brought much action as SVdP launched its response to COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) outbreak happening in its community and worldwide. As the organization modified its services to practice social distancing and heightened health safety, it didn’t lose sight of what matters most—continuing to serve those in need in the kindest, most dignified and caring way possible. 

In the recent days, many SVdP members have shared pictures and snippets of inspiring and joyful moments taking place across the mission. Below we’ve gathered a handful of those moments—large and small—that have sparked joy and generosity in the face of COVID-19. 

1. Observing staff from different areas and/or remote work redeploy to the kitchen to help make 4,000 peanut butter sandwiches each day. Just check out Executive Dental Director Dr. Ken Snyder in his hairnet!


2. When our dining rooms got 300 burritos and 100 pizzas within 48 hours. Thanks to Tacos Tijuana for the delicious burritos and to Mike Snitz for donating the pizzas from La Piazza restaurants.


3. Knowing a former Ozanam Manor resident is stable and working to keep our shelves restocked. When we called to do a six-month check in, not only did we find out the former resident was doing well, but also that he is working full time as a truck driver and playing a vital role in transporting goods to grocery stores.


4. When a pantry’s phone rang on Day 1 of our COVID-19 response and the first thing the caller said was, “How can I help?” It was Elizabeth Perry on the phone. She's a local teacher of a school that shifted to online and distance learning. With a little more flexibility in her schedule, Elizabeth decided to deliver food boxes so that older Vincentians could remain safe at home.


5. Receiving $50,000 from Thunderbirds Charities to help fund our emergency relief efforts. The donation came from the total $1M the Thunderbirds gave in emergency relief to a group of local charities, including SVdP, the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley, and St. Mary’s Food Bank. Their generous gift came early in our response and just in time to stock up on food and supplies to meet the quickly increasing need of the community.


6. When Ozanam Manor residents received dozens of letters and drawings of support from Dream Center students, who have been picking up take-home activity kits along with their to-go meals from the Family Dining Room.

7. Serving 125 people experiencing homelessness farm fresh veggie snacks in our Resource Center, which continues to offer showers, hygiene items, clothing, counseling and bill assistance for people in need.


8. When The Phoenix Suns came to SVdP's aid with 1,000 loaves of bread. "The Suns actually have helped us tremendously by purchasing a full truckload of bread for us," said SVdP's Chief Operations Officer Mike Hanosh. "As you can imagine, 4,000 sandwiches a day requires an awful lot of bread."


9. That time when a good Samaritan bought 40 Subway lunches for guests receiving to-go meals at our Sunnyslope Dining Room. Here Dining Rooms Manager Jim Baker helps deliver the lunches.


10. Waking up to six homemade crossword puzzles in our inbox to entertain Ozanam Manor residents as they social distance. Thank you to the volunteer who made the puzzles as part of SVdP's "Help from Home" initiative! Interested in volunteering from home? Contact Shawn Donnelly at sdonnelly@svdpaz.org or 602-850-6942.

11. And last but not least, that time kitchen staff got their dance on to help put smiles on faces somewhere around sack lunch No. 3,127. 

Have more sparks of joyful service and generosity to share? Email photos and stories to: ZapMarketingCommunication@svdpaz.org

Want to join the relief efforts? Give online at stvincentdepaul.net/COVID19Relief