About Us

Our Mission

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a worldwide Catholic organization of laypersons whose members (known as “Vincentians”) strive to live their faith by serving the less fortunate with love and dignity and without judgement or discrimination. Vincentians lend assistance to those lacking the basic necessities of life, offering a hand up rather than a handout. 

Our Vision

To live the gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice, hope, and joy, and by working to shape a more just and compassionate society.

Our Values

  • We bind ourselves spiritually by our service to the needy and suffering in our community.
  • We practice humility, patience, and kindness towards volunteers, staff and those we serve.
  • We serve anyone who comes to us for help, regardless of ethnicity, age, creed, or income level.
  • We remember, as Vincentians, that God is present in everyone who asks for our help.

Board of Directors

All board members are independent voting members with the exception of the Council’s spiritual advisor, who is a non-voting member. None of the board members have any financial relationship with St. Vincent de Paul Portland Council.

All members listed are current on the board as of May 2021.

Gayle Pizzuto

Vice President
Keith Bailey

Joe Bonneville

Sherry Kuntz

Emeritus Executive Director
Sharon Hills

Spiritual Advisor 
Fr. John Marshall

N/NE Portland District Representative
Steve Spitulski

SE Portland District Representative
Roberta Gamache

WA County District Representative
John Moore

Board Member
Michele McGinnis

Board Member
Lynn Strand

Portland Council Leadership

Executive Director
Brian Ferschweiler

Administrative Coordinator
Katie Hill

Finance Manager
Matt Niehaus

Emergency Services Manager
Craig Loughridge

Our Conferences - (Pantry Locations)

The Society is open to all who wish to live their faith by loving and serving their neighbor. It has always been a grassroots organization, using volunteers organized by local Catholic parishes who provide service to their community. These small, geographically-based groups are called Conferences. With a staff of 9, and a volunteer Board of 11, the Portland Council serves Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Clatsop and Columbia counties through a network of over 2,200 volunteers from 46 Conferences.

The Conference is the basic and essential grouping of St. Vincent de Paul. Conferences regularly engage in the person-to-person service of those in need. The persons to be helped and the works to be performed are determined by the Conference itself. Conference services are provided without monetary compensation to the members. Help is not limited to material need and includes all activities that strengthen and nurture the human spirit.

Our History

The St. Vincent de Paul Society was established in Paris, France in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam, a 20-year-old college student. Challenged to put his faith into action, Ozanam created the Society and named it after Vincent de Paul, a saint noted for his work with the poor. The Society began work in the United States in St. Louis, Missouri in 1845 and has since spread to every state in the nation.

The St. Vincent de Paul Portland Council was established in 1869.  The Council was founded in the spirit of justice and charity, not only helping those individuals and families living in poverty but seeking to eliminate the root causes of poverty. The Council’s first major contribution to the community was the donation of both land and money to the Sisters of Providence for the building of the first St. Vincent Hospital in 1871.

In October of 2019 we proudly celebrated our 150th anniversary of service and support to those in need.