CINCINNATI -- Michael Adkins has been counting on the charitable pharmacy at St. Vincent de Paul Cincinnati for the past year.
He could no longer work as a truck driver after getting hurt on the job, he said, and lost his insurance as a result. When he was diagnosed with diabetes, the prescription help became more important than ever.
“They really help me out a lot,” Adkins said.
By this time in 2019, getting that help will be more convenient than ever.
St. Vincent de Paul Cincinnati broke ground in October on its new Don and Phyllis Neyer Outreach Center in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood. The new $7 million center will be right across the street from St. Vincent de Paul’s current location and span 36,000 square feet.
Executive Director Mike Dunn said the new center will allow St. Vincent de Paul Cincinnati to offer all its core services six days a week, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
People who need services from both the food pantry and the charitable pharmacy, for example, can visit both on the same day.
“There’s a lot of obstacles just to get down here, whether it’s transportation, child care, getting time off from a job,” Dunn said. “Whatever it is, if you have to do that multiple times in a week, that becomes very, very difficult.”
St. Vincent de Paul Cincinnati provides emergency assistance and basic necessities to more than 100,000 people in need each year.
This year alone, the charitable pharmacy will fill more than 60,000 prescriptions, Dunn said. The need for services shows no sign of slowing.
“The need continues to grow,” he said. “It’s kind of confounding. Certainly there’s a lot going on positively on a macro level, with the economy in our country as well as in our own city. There’s a lot of revival, a lot of great things happening. But certainly there’s a segment of the population that’s been left out of that.”
Opening in late 2019
St. Vincent de Paul Cincinnati has been in its current location, a converted warehouse that was built in the late 1870s, since 1962.
“It has been a great home for St. Vincent de Paul for a very long time,” Dunn said. “But because of its age, its size, its accessibility, we have to offer all of our core services in a staggered way.”
The new outreach center will solve that problem, he said. The current facility will be used for administrative offices and an expansion of the Ozanam Center for Service Learning onto the building’s entire third floor.
St. Vincent de Paul Cincinnati is paying for the new outreach center with funds raised as part of its Upward Spiral Comprehensive Campaign. The campaign’s goal is to raise $12 million, and St. Vincent de Paul has raised $9.8 million so far, Dunn said.
Of that total, $7 million will be used to pay for the new outreach center. The other $5 million will fund a self-sustaining Conference Assistance Fund to help support the 56 parish-based St. Vincent de Paul volunteer groups throughout Hamilton County.
The goal is to open the new outreach center in late 2019. Dunn said he hopes to have it open and operational by Thanksgiving, but the construction timeline will depend on the weather this winter.
Dunn is confident the new facility will be open by this time next year, he said.
That will be a big benefit to all the people who count on St. Vincent de Paul, Adkins said.
“I think six days is going to work out a lot better for a lot of people,” he said. “Especially for me.”
Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO.
To reach Lucy, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.