Last week, we announced the winners of our 2018 Earth Day Poster & Essay Contest! Our competition (now in its second year) asks every participating student to focus on their role as a care-giver of our world and to demonstrate their understanding of recycling and the benefits of reuse.

For this year’s competition, we asked students in 1st-5th grade to create posters illustrating the importance of recycling and how it can protect the environment. For students in 6th-8th grade, we asked them to take something they were going to throw away and transform it into something that would bring joy to someone else.

When we asked the 6th-8th grade students to include a reflection on why and how their projects would benefit someone else, we never anticipated the joy their responses would bring our office as well. Project after project provided a look into the empathy and consideration of each of the finalists. Here are some of the highlights:

“All candles can help you see. They can comfort others, some have a special scent, or they could just make a person feel joyful. I learned that most of the things we throw away could be used for wonderful things and might just change the world’s perspective of ordinary things.” – Amelia, 8th grade, St. Monica Catholic Academy

“Have you ever gone to bed cold? Probably not, but many people in our world go to bed every night being cold…I know I cannot help with their heating expenses, but I can help by giving them a chance to be warm when they go to bed…Jesus wants us to be good Christians so this is one way I thought I could be a disciple of Jesus by giving someone the gift of warmth, a blanket. Doing so, I hope I put a smile on someone’s face.” – Kaylee, 7th grade, St. Louise de Marillac Catholic School

“This old raggedy T-shirt was able to be transformed into a dog toy, in order to bring joy both to pets and family members. Spending time with pets often helps cheer up people, and what better way to hang out with your dog, than to play with it. This dog toy can help my dad, and sisters, have fun with my dog, and give them something to play with her. She loves spending time with us, and we enjoy playing with her.” – Benjamin, 8th grade, St. Kilian Parish School

Twelve local Catholic Schools and more than 1,000 students have participated in this contest over the past two years, creating projects that were thoughtful, creative, and illustrated their understanding of the significance of recycling and reuse.

A special thank you to all of this year’s participating schools: Saint Thomas More School, Saint Kilian Parish School, Saint Monica Catholic Academy, Saint Anne School, Saint Gregory Catholic School, Saint Bernadette School, & Saint Louise de Marillac Catholic School!

Here are the 2018 Society of St. Vincent de Paul Earth Day Poster & Essay Contest winners!

1st-2nd Grade Winner: Corbin Cabana, St. Monica Catholic Academy

3rd-5th Grade Winner: Naomi Saures, St. Gregory Catholic School

6th-8th Grade Winner: Amelia Kilnar, St. Louise de Marillac Catholic School

To see all of our finalists’ projects, visit our Facebook page.

Want to keep up-to-date on all things St. Vincent de Paul? Sign up for our e-newsletter!

Are you interested in learning more about the work of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul both in Pittsburgh and across the nation? Tune in to EWTN Sundays at 6:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. over the next 10 weeks for their series “Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul.”

The series joins Vincentians on their spiritual growth journey through service to people and families in need. From home visits to food pantries to financial mentoring programs, “Our Faith In Action” shows how Vincentians see the face of Christ in the people they encounter.

The Pittsburgh Council will be featured in the third episode of the series which will air on Sunday, March 18th at 6:30 a.m. and Saturday, March 24th at 6:00 p.m.

In addition to highlighting the Madison and Rhode Island Councils, our episode will feature Vincentians from our St. Irenaeus conference conducting a home visit with a local family.

What is a home visit? A home visit is when two Vincentians visit a client in their home in order to better understand their circumstances, struggles, and how best to assist them. From the Society’s beginning, home visits have been one of the core tenants – a way to symbolize and live our commitment to our neighbors in need. (Read more stories about home visits here)

Henry Pieczynski, one of the Vincentians in the upcoming episode explained home visits like this: “You get to know the people by making a home visit. You get to understand their plight, what they need, what they want — you just get to know the people. It’s like meeting a new friend.”

Home visits sets St. Vincent de Paul apart. Our members live in the communities that they serve; they are truly helping their neighbors.

Crystal and Matthew Williams received assistance and are featured in the Pittsburgh episode.

“I’ve been treated with nothing but respect and I love them for that and I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me and my family,” said Matthew. “It’s just so important to me to know there are people in the world who will help you and not look down on you.”

To learn more about home visits and other services provided by the Society across the country, make sure to tune in to “Our Faith In Action.” To keep up with everything related to the Pittsburgh St. Vincent de Paul, make sure to sign up for our email and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you follow us on social media or have listened to Star 100.7 recently, this is probably something you may have already seen or heard. But in the event that you’ve also spent the past week or so hibernating from the cold and snow, here’s some big news: our Sleep Like A Saint mattress sale is BACK!

And here’s some even bigger news: so are our Daily Specials!!

Let’s take this one exciting development at a time.

Sleep Like A Saint: From now until March 31st, you can purchase one of our factory fresh renovated beds at any St. Vincent de Paul thrift store for 10% off.  This sale only happens once a year, so if you need a mattress for the spare bedroom, your summer campground or for a dorm room, now’s the time!

What is a renovated mattress? Renovated mattresses and box springs are made from at least one component of a previously used bed. Each bed is constructed to the same quality and standards as a new bed, but they cost less and keep unnecessary waste out of local landfills.

If you want to learn more about our beds, check out this short video:

Next up: daily specials!

A few months ago we moved away from our daily specials to try a different system. After a hearing from many of you during that time, we have decided to go back to our tried-and-true specials. So starting this past Monday (January 12, 2018), they are back in effect!

Here’s the breakdown of specials:

  • Monday is Senior Day: 50% off all regular priced clothes, shoes, purses, and linens (for customers ages 50+)
  • Tuesday is Kid’s Day: 50% off all kids clothes, toys, and books
  • Wednesday is Ladies’ Day: 50% off all regular priced ladies clothes
  • Thursday is Upscale Day: 50% off all upscale clothes
  • Friday is Men’s Day: 50% off all regular priced men’s clothes
  • Saturday is 99 Cent Day: All clothes, shoes, purses, belts, and linens with a tag of a certain color are just 99 cents!

We hope you’re as excited as we are at the return of our specials. Thank you for your continued support and feedback!

To keep up with the goings on at St. Vincent de Paul, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, InstagramYouTube, and by signing up for our email list.

Hi everyone! In the week between Christmas and New Years (while we all try to stay warm in these sub-arctic temperatures), we wanted to share a super easy DIY braided headband that you can make from one of your old shirts or a shirt you’ve picked up at your local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. T-shirt or jersey fabric long sleeve shirt
  2. Tape measure or ruler
  3. Fabric scissors
  4. Pen
  5. Needle and thread

Step #1: Wash and dry the shirt of your choice

We used a green-blue workout shirt for the entire headband, however, you can use a multi-colored shirt or even multiple shirts of varying colors and textures.

Step #2: Measure and cut three long strips of equal width and length

Once you’ve measured three 1 1/2 inch wide strips, use the pen to lightly mark dots or small lines at the same intervals all the way down the shirt. That way you can connect the dots when it’s time to cut the strips.

Step #4: Let the sewing begin!

Sew the top end of the three strips together. This is also a good time to cut any jagged edges off of the strips to make them more uniform. Also, introducing a fourth strip of ribbon or lace would add a new layer of texture and color to the headband once it’s completed.

Step #5: Begin braiding

Braid until you can’t braid anymore and then sew the end of the three strips together. At this point you have two options, (1) sew both ends of the braid together or (2) add an extra strip of fabric to the end of each side that can be tied together (this is what we did, please see the next picture).

And that’s it! You’re done! Now you have a great headband to wear to your New Years Resolution inspired workout or to gift to a friend. Also, if you’d like to give your headband a little extra pop, take apart an old piece of costume jewelry (you can find some at any St. Vincent de Paul thrift store) and sew in the beads or broach.

Happy crafting!

P.S. – If you’d like to keep up to date with what’s happening at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, make sure to sign up for our enewsletter!

It’s the season of giving — a time to focus on friends and family, being grateful for what you have, and giving back to your community and your world. It’s also your last chance to get a donation receipt that you can use on this year’s taxes.

Whatever your reason for donating, please consider taking your old clothes, small appliances, household knick-knacks, and furniture to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul where they can find new life supporting our neighbors in need. Why St. Vincent de Paul? Here are a few reasons…

#1: Everything old is new again

Your unwanted clothes and miscellaneous items are desperately needed by many of our neighbors who are unable to purchase these items on their own.

Our store locations provide not only a fun retail environment for thrifters; they’re a place for our clients to shop – free of charge once they’ve received a voucher – for basic necessities that match their style and their need.

#2: It’s not easy being green

When you donate items to St. Vincent de Paul, you’re lightening the load on local landfills.  Every year, approximately 250 million tons of trash is thrown away in the United States – that’s about 4.4 pounds per person per day!1

When you donate unwanted items to St. Vincent de Paul, you’re lowering your contribution to our growing national landfill problem.  It’s an easy way to be a little bit greener in your everyday life.

#3: Count on me, I’ll be there

By donating your clothes and household items, you stand by our neighbors in need. Revenue from the sale of your items funds assistance for over 100,000 local people every year – through programs that provide things like food assistance, clothing, furniture, rent and utilities assistance.

One of our premiere programs is Michael’s Place where ex-offenders can transition from prison or jail to independent living. Over the past sixteen years, this program has supported over 300 men as they have returned to their lives, to the workforce, and reconnected with their families. Your clothing donation can do a lot of good for a lot of people!

#4: Make someone happy, make just one someone happy

Your donation will put a smile on someone’s face.  Whether it provides clothes for someone who needs it, funding for a program that provides a second chance, or the joy of finding an unexpected treasure at a thrift store – you are supplying happiness.  You’re bringing joy to the single dad with kids in need of clothes, joy to the young woman recently laid off who’s just trying to get by, and joy to the thrift store enthusiast.

In a world that is seemingly plagued with stories of ambivalence and animosity, donating your unwanted items can bring a smile to someone’s face.

You can donate at any of our St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores during business hours, at one of our donation boxes throughout the area, or you can call 412-321-1071 x1 to schedule a furniture donation pickup.

To keep up to date with what’s going on at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, make sure to sign up for our email newsletter!


P.S. Speaking of smiles – another way to donate to your favorite nonprofit this year (without spending a dime of your own money!) is to shop on Amazon via Amazon Smile. Go to and search for the nonprofit you’d like to support (maybe the Society of St. Vincent de Paul?) and then bookmark the page. Every time you shop through that page, Amazon will donate .5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charity of your choice.