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Ryan soup kitchen ‘stunt’ spins out of control, Society president says

Published: Tue, October 16, 2012 @ 11:15 a.m.

Ryan soup kitchen ‘stunt’ spins out of control, Society president says


Mahoning County’s St. Vincent de Paul Society president said his critical comments about Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s visit to the soup kitchen have “managed to upset both” political parties.

“This whole thing has spun out of control,” Brian J. Antal, who runs the society, said today at a press conference at its dining hall.

Antal said he’s received numerous calls from Democrats and Republicans about the visit.

Antal said Monday that he was “shocked” and “angry” that Ryan used the soup kitchen for a “publicity stunt” on Saturday after a town-hall meeting at Youngstown State University.

Antal contacted The Vindicator and The Washington Post on Monday to “clear the air.” After the two organizations reported on the incident, it quickly became national news.

Antal today repeated what he said Monday: his objection was Ryan using the soup kitchen for political purposes.

If he is elected vice president, Ryan would be welcomed to volunteer at the dining hall as long as it’s not during a campaign and without turning it into a media event, Antal said.

“I didn’t want to make this a negative on the guy,” Antal said of Ryan. “I’m not here to blast anybody. We have no [political] affiliation with anyone.”

Juanita Sherba, St. Vincent’s Saturday coordinator for the dining hall, gave the Ryan campaign permission to have the candidate and his family come to the downtown location.

She said it was a mistake.

The event was completely staged by the campaign, including having volunteers not clean a few pots and pans so Ryan and his family could be photographed doing that work, Sherba said.

Antal confirmed Sherba’s account today.

For the complete story, read Wednesday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com


1David24262(1 comment)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Doesn't St. Paul exhort Christians to "show hospitality" (Romans 12:13)? Why complain when a practicing Catholic visits, especially when that practicing Catholic is a millionaire (as Paul Ryan is) who may want to write a personal check to your organization? Why complain when you have a chance for a "one-on-one" meeting with the Chairman of the House Budget Committee (as Paul Ryan is)? He will either remain in that position or become the Vice President. Maybe an opportunity to increase funding was missed by the leadership of the St. Vincent de Paul Society?

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2uptowngirl(111 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

So a volunteer without authority allowed Paul Ryan to visit the soup kitchen. Because the prior event did not end in time for Ryan to meet any of the clients at the soup kitchen, it was just a stupid photo op. Instead of taking responsibility for her error Ms. Sherba is trashing Ryan personally and his campaign because donors were upset. If it had been Tim Ryan instead of Paul Ryan--it would have been the greatest humanitarian act ever witnessed in the Mahoning Valley. What Mr. Antal and Ms. Sherba did is more disgusting than the campaign antics, they have turned the whole scenario into a publicity/fundraising stunt for St. Vincent de Paul and the local Democratic Party. Antal has the responsibility to inform the volunteers that they do not have the authority to speak to the press or approve visit requests. I will never give another cent to the St. Vincent de Paul Society/Kitchen, Catholic Charities or the K of C which support St. Vincent de Paul. I hope the local Democratic party writes them a big check for furthering their agenda.

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3meadebakes(3 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Brian Antal is the one who should be cast out! With such an angry heart, he has no business being a representative of a Catholic institution. At the very least, he should learn to be silent when representing an organization affiliated with the Catholic diocese. His job should be eliminated now so that he does not do further damage to the Church.

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4AtownAugie(697 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

One can hope Mr Antal is wearing rubber work boots today. He stepped in "it" earlier -- and now has both feet in.

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5whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Well no more money from me.

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6WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Antal and Sherba should be fired and the organization's 501(c)(3) status should be questioned. These two and by extension the organization conspired to engage in political action and affect political outcomes days prior to a national election. There is nothing tax exempt about that.

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7uptowngirl(111 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

I am with you William. A private letter to upset donors would have sufficed here.

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8southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

All of this fallout over what? A visit from a vice-presidential nominee, nothing else to ridicule at the moment?

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