Sweet Idea: YP Board Scoops up Advocacy and Ice Cream



The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP), Diocese of Cleveland’s newly-formed Young Professionals (YP) Board recently launched its first advocacy effort.

Held at a Tremont Scoops ice cream store on a sunny Saturday afternoon, the group of volunteers hosted a letter-writing initiative to members of Congress in support of programs that benefit the hungry and impoverished. To sweeten the deal, ice cream store patrons even received a discount on their purchase if they participated in the campaign.

More than 40 letters were collected, said YP Board member Jon Gromek.

YP Board members Jon Gromek & Melissa Olenik

Advocacy for the people SVDP serves is a key component of the Cleveland YP Board’s mission, he explained. “We thought mixing in a fun event like getting ice cream with something needed right now — given the political climate — to advocate for SVDP clients would be an engaging and purposeful event that would attract young adults and others.”

The initiative, which was held on September 9, also presented another opportunity to promote the Society and its good works to the general public.

The National Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s advocacy arm, Voice of the Poor, encourages SVDP Councils across the U.S. to bring attention to the issues critical to people living in poverty.




Hunger Doesn’t Vacation in Summer

“If It wasn’t for St. Vincent de Paul Society’s hunger centers, we wouldn’t have any food in our house right now.”

Erika & Daughter for Letter

Erika & Daughter Natalia


Children love summer.

But while sunny warm days beckon hours of outdoor fun, friends and travel, it’s also a time of anxiety and hardship for thousands of poor kids in our community who go hungry because they lose their daily school lunch programs.  What’s more, because summer is also a time of higher utility costs there is even less money available for necessities like food and rent.

As a result, many parents are faced with the heart-breaking choice between feeding their family and paying the rent to avoid homelessness.

As a parent of two girls, Erika knows firsthand the agonizing struggle to prevent her children from feeling the pains of hunger, especially during summer break.

She recently moved to Cleveland from Connecticut — where she worked as a medical assistant — only to learn that she couldn’t practice her profession in Cleveland until she obtained her Ohio certificate.  In an effort to create a better life for her daughters, she enrolled in classes to earn her Ohio state medical assistant license so she could once again help others through her profession.

But because she is temporarily unemployed, her family runs out of food at certain times each and every month.

Fortunately, she found help nearby at St. Vincent de Paul Society’s Brookside Hunger Center.

“If it wasn’t for St. Vincent de Paul Society’s hunger centers, we wouldn’t have any food in our house right now,” she says.  “If they weren’t here, I don’t think we’d even survive the summer in Cleveland.”

Erika was so impressed by the kindness of St. Vincent de Paul Society’s hunger center staff and volunteers that she wanted to give back by volunteering herself.

And she wants others to realize that their financial donations have a huge impact on real children and adults in Northeast Ohio.

In fact, every $1 donated feeds a family of four.

Help fight summer hunger among local children today by clicking here to make a donation.  Or simply mail your check to St. Vincent de Paul Society Summer Hunger Relief, 1404 East 9th Street-3rd Floor, Cleveland, OH  44114.

Thank you for helping us bring summer back to children in need!