Bethany Smith has always had a heart for serving others, but when a friend told her about the SVdP program at Duquesne University that helps the homeless, she got a chance to put that to work.

Arian Hajihassani decided to focus his career after school on cancer research to help persons with the same disease that afflicted his mother.  But while he tends to his studies with that goal in mind, he also fulfills his innate desire to help others by tending to the homeless within his local community.

Each Sunday night these co-presidents of the SVdP program, along with their fellow students who volunteer to participate, venture into the world of the homeless in Pittsburgh’s downtown area.  

Bethany and Arian have found that they have been inspired by the long standing SVdP program in this area.   Bethany says it “has opened my eyes to the experience of homelessness and the various struggles that they face”.  Through his experience, Arian has come to understand “how homelessness removes opportunities for the basic things most of us all enjoy and take for granted”; a roof over our heads and a bed to sleep in, for sure.  But also, the chance for adequate medical care, money to buy things we need, personal hygiene items, simple food needs, and even to be treated in a civil and humane manner by others.  They have come to see these people as fellow human beings who most often suffer from circumstances beyond their control. 

Arian says that his faith has reinforced his sense that he has been “called to do this”.  He notes that the Bible points us to do such things and that the words and actions of Jesus direct us to help the needy.  Bethany says that aiding the homeless has brought her closer to Jesus as she encounters Him in each person they serve.  And these students are often moved by the faith of the needy who often ask if they can pray for the students who help them. 

The SVdP program is sustained solely by its means of support through Duquesne University.  However, Bethany and Arian feel that, in a better world, more people would come to see the many homeless and their needs more clearly.  Their hope is that, in doing so, people would be moved to help this ministry further through donations from beyond the limited resources of the school.

So, each Sunday night, give some thought and prayer for all the homeless and for those students who venture out to provide them with a little help and a lot of love.  Maybe we will all be inspired by their example!

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Pittsburgh, Off the Floor Furniture Bank, and Skyline Recovery Pittsburgh are excited to announce SOS Collab, a groundbreaking collaboration aimed at strengthening community support for individuals and families in need. By joining forces, these three charitable organizations aim to address the interconnected challenges of poverty, homelessness, and addiction, and provide comprehensive assistance to those seeking to rebuild their lives.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Pittsburgh has a long-standing commitment to serving individuals experiencing poverty and hardship. With a network of dedicated volunteers and community partners, they provide practical support, including emergency assistance, food programs, and housing supplements. The organization focuses on promoting social justice and compassion by fostering solidarity and providing hope to those most vulnerable in our community. 

Off the Floor Furniture Bank has been a pillar of support for families transitioning from homelessness, individuals escaping domestic violence situations, and others in need of basic furniture and home essentials. Through their generous donations of furniture and household items, they help create comfortable living environments, thereby restoring dignity and stability to individuals and families in crisis. 

Skyline Recovery Pittsburgh specializes in helping individuals on their journey to recovery from substance misuse. With a comprehensive approach that combines residential treatment, counseling, vocational training, and ongoing support, Skyline Recovery Pittsburgh empowers individuals to rebuild their lives and reintegrate them into society. They believe in fostering a supportive community that promotes personal growth and lasting recovery. 

Recognizing the shared vision and complementary missions of these organizations, SOS Collab seeks to maximize their collective impact and create a seamless continuum of care for individuals facing multiple challenges. By combining resources, knowledge, and expertise, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Pittsburgh, Off the Floor Furniture Bank, and Skyline Recovery Pittsburgh will enhance their capacity to meet the complex needs of those they serve. 

The collaboration will focus on key areas of synergy, including: 

Holistic Support: Through coordinated efforts, the organizations will provide comprehensive assistance, addressing not only immediate needs but also long-term goals such as stable housing, employment, and mental health support. 

Referral Network: The collaboration aims to establish a robust referral system, ensuring individuals receive timely access to the most appropriate services available within the partnership, as well as external resources when necessary. 

Advocacy and Education: By leveraging their collective voices, the organizations will advocate for systemic changes, raise awareness about the issues of poverty, homelessness, and addiction, and promote education and prevention initiatives within the community. 

The combined strength of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Pittsburgh, Off the Floor Furniture Bank, and Skyline Recovery Pittsburgh will create an inclusive and compassionate support network, offering hope and practical assistance to individuals and families in need. SOS Collab represents a significant step towards a more resilient and equitable community, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. More information can be found at or by emailing Ricardo Luckow. And listen to the recent local podcast Yinz are Good to hear an interview with Off the Floor Executive Director Stephen Crary and more about the SOS Collab.

Planned giving is a noble and impactful way to ensure that the values you hold dear are perpetuated beyond your lifetime. One such avenue for making a lasting difference is by designating a bequest to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Pittsburgh. This act not only reflects your commitment to helping those in need but also serves as a beacon of hope for the less fortunate in our community.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Pittsburgh (SVdP) has long been a steadfast presence—171 years young—extending a helping hand to individuals and families facing adversity. Through its dedicated volunteers and compassionate initiatives, the organization has touched countless lives, providing essential resources, support, and comfort to those navigating challenging circumstances.

The process of making a bequest is relatively straightforward. After consulting with your legal and financial advisors, you can include a provision in your will outlining the specifics of your bequest. This might involve a percentage of your estate, a specific dollar amount, or even the residue of your estate after other obligations have been fulfilled. The bequest can be directed towards a particular program or initiative that resonates with you, ensuring that your values and intentions are honored.

Planned giving through a bequest holds several advantages. It allows you to make a significant impact on an organization you care deeply about while potentially providing your estate with tax benefits. Moreover, it provides a sense of fulfillment, knowing that your commitment to the SVdP will endure and continue to make a positive impact for generations to come.

As you embark on this journey of planned giving, take the time to reflect on the values that have guided your life and the legacy you wish to leave behind. By designating a bequest to the SVdP, you are extending the reach of your compassion and ensuring that your commitment to serving the less fortunate remains an enduring force well into the future.

In a world where challenges persist, your planned giving becomes a catalyst for transformation. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Pittsburgh, through its commitment to our neighbors in need, is ready to honor your legacy by continuing to uplift and empower those who need it the most. Please let us know about your intention to honor SVdP through a planned gift. You will be able to guide the impact of your gift during your lifetime and ensure your values and commitment to St. Vincent de Paul are recognized. Your bequest is more than a financial contribution; it’s a testament to the enduring power of compassion and a tangible way to shape a better future for all.

Please contact Jennifer Thoma, director of development, at 412.321.1071×1204 for more information on how you can include the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in your future philanthropic and spiritual legacies and ensure their transformative impact.

I’m Karen O’Keefe and I joined the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in February 2023 as the new Director of Conference Formation!  What is that job, you ask?  I support and coordinate the 57 Conferences which are groups of Vincentian volunteers at our local Catholic Parishes!  In 2022, over $2.3 million dollars of desperately needed aid was distributed to individuals in our community by more than 800 Vincentian volunteers through our Parish Conferences.  As a Licensed Social Worker with a background in mental health, homeless services, and addiction, I’m thrilled to join this astonishing network of neighbors helping neighbors.  

As one of our first initiatives, our Pittsburgh office partnered with the SVdP Eastern Region Formator from Philadelphia who joined us for two full days of a “train-the-trainer” course on Orientation for new Vincentians Volunteers.  Pittsburgh now has six formators prepared to offer robust trainings grounded in Catholic Spirituality to any new volunteers seeking to serve the poor! 

Money, prayers, and people are all needed to sustain our vital work!  If you feel called to help the poor directly in service, please call me at 412-321-1071 X1203 to learn more about becoming a Vincentian Volunteer!  We need you!  You would join an incredible legacy of 171 years of aid to the poorest in the Pittsburgh area!  Thank you and God bless you for providing materially, spiritually, and in gift of self, to our most needy neighbors in the Pittsburgh area!

On August 1, 2023, we have an extraordinary opportunity to make a tremendous impact on our community and uplift those in need during The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Critical Needs Alert online giving event. 💖

Join us on this momentous day of generosity as we unite to address the critical needs of the most vulnerable individuals and families in Pittsburgh through the work of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Your participation can be the catalyst for positive change, providing essential support to those facing hardships and difficulties.

Here’s how you can make a difference:

  • Mark your calendars for August 1, 2023, and set a reminder to participate in the online giving event at
  • Share this call to action with your friends, family, and colleagues, encouraging them to join us in this meaningful initiative.
  • Amplify the impact of your donation by spreading the word through your social media channels using #PittsburghCriticalNeedsAlert
  • Consider making a matching gift challenge to inspire others to give generously alongside you

Together, let’s show the strength of our compassion and support, proving that our community stands united in times of need. Whether it’s providing a warm meal, shelter, or essential resources, your generosity can change lives and create a brighter future for those struggling in our region. Every donation, no matter the size, matters and will be utilized to address the critical needs of our neighbors in need. Your kindness is a beacon of hope for those experiencing difficult circumstances, reminding them that they are not alone.

Mark your calendars, spread the word, and be ready to make a lasting impact on the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Pittsburgh on August 1st, 2023, during The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Critical Needs Alert online giving event. Together, we can build a stronger, more compassionate Pittsburgh.

Thank you for being the driving force of positive change in our community. We are stronger when we stand together! 🌟💪