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  • As the weather turns chilly, many folks are cozying up at home. It’s a time of the year to be thankful and celebrate the Holidays. Yet, winter takes a toll. There’s a whole community of people trying to survive harsh weather who are sleeping in cars, abandoned homes, alcoves, construction sites, behind buildings away from the wind or in the woods. Unfortunately, some people don’t survive the experience. Since most emergency shelters don’t open until temp’s dip below freezing, that leaves a lot of time when homeless people are forced to fend for themselves outside. Homeless will say, “Sometimes, when you’re hungry, you don’t worry about the cold. Your feet get cold in a car to the point they’re numb. If I have a big enough coat and some gloves, once you wrap up tight and close your eyes, you stay pretty warm.” Survival mode, layering up. Stories of invisible people, sleeping outside this winter. Not if we can help it! That’s when St. Vinny’s steps-in with our community warming shelter. A shelter that wouldn’t exist without the support of grants, corporate and private donations, thrift store sales and volunteerism! Which leads me to this – while looking into the eyes of many folks at our shelter on Thanksgiving Day, it compelled me to share a story about a local eight-year-old named Connor. He and his dad, Jon, have been donating (a lot of) warm winter clothing to the shelter since Connor was four. Dad instilling care-for-others in our next gen and Connor paying-it-forward. It warms my heart, and others too! Homelessness – it’s a situation no one ever plans for. And many of us are just one paycheck or tragedy away from the streets. Each person comes with a story, someone’s son, someone’s sister, everyone worthy of respect. Thanks for your support Kootenai County. You’re the best!

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  • I was touched by an angel during a road trip encounter while moving west a few years ago. Little did I know then where my career was headed! Here's how the story goes... Road trip VW story - pulled off for lunch. This fellow, Dane, chased me from across the street, came into the restaurant and began to talk about the bus. He was clean, articulate and knew everything about late-model VDubs; used to work on 'em. After a while I said, so what are you doing these days, Dane? He replied, I'm homeless. I learned he was a Vet and was stationed once at El Toro in Tustin, CA - my old OC stomping grounds. He was so happy and thanked me for buying his lunch. All he wanted to do was talk about Volkswagens. I sensed a tear in his eye and said, do you mind if we take a picture with the bus Dane? This man was my angel for the day.

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  • Thanks to IHFA for providing grant funds to purchase our new (new to us) Ford Transit van. St. Vinny’s has gone a year without wheels. Our old van could no longer go the distance. Just in time to help keep people safe and healthy as we shuttle homeless clients from our CdA kitchen to the Post Falls Warming Shelter this winter. Thanks to 2nd Street Disciple Ministries for stepping up in a big way shuttling clients last year!

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  • Did you know June is Fatherhood Awareness Month? I was raised by a single mom from birth in the 60s, so I can say this firsthand. Life would have been a lot easier on my mom if I had a dad, but that’s not how the chips fell. I suppose my friend at the Coeur d’Alene Press, Sholeh Patrick, said it best in a recent column: “With so much emphasis on women’s causes since the revolutionary ‘60s (justified by centuries of the opposite) it’s been easy to forget one thing: When it comes to parenting, dads are just as important. Long overdue has been an emphasis on, and equal treatment of, fatherhood. Kids thrive when both parents are loving, involved and supported.” With that said, and God rest her soul…mom was my dad. Sorry for all the frustration I gave ya’, mom! She did a pretty good job with my brother and me. And now, I continue to be a role model to my now, 28-year old son, Sean. Although he is, they’re never too big to sit on a dad’s shoulders.

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  • Did ya’ know May was Mental Health Awareness Month! On behalf of the mental health and substance use treatment organizations we support in north Idaho, we are proud to recognize them in May and support behavioral healthcare all year long. Mental Health Matters!

  • When you think about Buck Knives, what comes to mind? Pretty sharp ‘eh! Well, I think of a giving organization that brought a whole lotta food to our kitchen today. A total surprise! Helping feed needy folks among us! Thanks, Buck, Todi (on left) and Emily!

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  • Hey fans of Salvation Army Kroc CDA. Last Saturday we had the thrill of hosting a group of kiddos to shop for new clothes at CDA Target. A BIG THANKS to Kroc’s community of donors who paid for some sweet threads; 19 appreciative families and 37 smiling faces for sure!

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  • Isn’t it so nice to see blossoms all around? That is, unless you suffer from allergies : ). Before we get too far into the spring, we want to thank our winter partners that especially helped with our Winter Warming Shelter – Salvation Army Kroc CDA and Heritage Health…along with some pretty special individual and corporate sponsors too. Thanks guys. You’re awesome!

  • A shout out to the Avista Corporation Fund at Innovia and Ron, a special business partner from AGP Wealth Advisors. They pooled resources to thank some pretty awesome employees who have given everything they have this last COVID year, by fleecing them with a St. Vinny’s logoed zip-ups. Eighty-five employees strong and none better. Okay, so I’m bias : ). They’re a pretty special crew!

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