Winter 2023 Serving in Hope Newsletter Now Out

Winter 2023 Serving in Hope Newsletter Now Out 2141 2827 SVDP USA

The latest edition of our Serving in Hope Newsletter is now available!

Serving in Hope shares stories of how the Society of St. Vincent de Paul changes lives across the country. This issue’s cover story features Kelly, a survivor of Hurricane Ian, who was helped by Disaster Services Corporation, thanks to donations to our Annual Disaster Appeal. We also bring you the story of an SVdP Conference in Illinois who used two Friends of the Poor Grants from the National Council to bring life-changing aid to neighbors in need in their community. And you’ll meet a donor who wanted to support a Catholic nonprofit, and found the right blend of faith and service in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Serving in Hope is published quarterly and sent to all donors of the National Council. If you haven’t received your copy yet, click here to read Serving in Hope

Disaster Services Update on California Severe Weather

Disaster Services Update on California Severe Weather 900 900 SVDP USA

This past week, much of California has been impacted by heavy storms that continues to cause extensive wind damage and flooding. California’s Governor Newsom has proclaimed a State of Emergency and a Presidential Emergency Declaration has been approved by President Biden to support response and recovery efforts. There continues to be a potential for more widespread power loss, fallen trees, and downed power lines.

Californian residents are encouraged to obtain the most up-to-date information on the rapidly changing road conditions, please check here for more information. Follow the Cal OES Twitter page for updates and tips on staying safe in the storm. Also, please check with local authorities for evacuation information and to sign up for emergency notifications. To sign up for your county’s emergency alerts, please check Cal Alerts to find your county.

Disaster Services Corporation, SVDP-USA remains engaged with the state Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, local partner agencies on the ground, and is providing support to the SVdP Diocesan Council of Sacramento. DSC is actively monitoring weather activity and will make plans to travel to the state once the all-clear is given and first responder agencies have departed.

St. Vincent de Paul and DSC Bring Christmas Joy to Kentucky Tornado Survivors

St. Vincent de Paul and DSC Bring Christmas Joy to Kentucky Tornado Survivors 2000 1600 SVDP USA

The holiday season should be a happy time filled with family, and cheer. It should be a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and our love for each other.

However, the feelings of celebration are being overshadowed by uncertainty for those who are still being affected by the aftermath of devastating tornadoes that touched down in western Kentucky one year ago. For those affected, life still hasn’t returned to normal, and holiday celebrations are still in limbo.

Children look forward to presents under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. And making sure Santa shows up, can be difficult for families still working on recovering from the damage left by last year’s tornado.

This year, Santa is getting some help from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Diocesan Council of Western Kentucky, and SVdPUSA’s Disaster Services Corporation. Through DSC’s partnership with Good360, hundreds of toys were donated to help bring Christmas cheer this holiday season.

“I’ve been having anxiety, waking up at night, about Christmas for these kids who lost everything in the December 2021 tornado,” said Patrick Clary, Warehouse Manager for SVdP’s Western Kentucky Disaster Relief Warehouse. “To be able to provide these toys for those affected families, it means everything to them and to us. Providing these needed toys is one of the greatest joys of my career.”

One single mother expressed her gratitude after receiving gifts for her children, “I’m so grateful, this is just overwhelming. The generosity of people is truly a blessing.”

We feel so blessed that SVdP and DSC were able to be a small part of bringing a little holiday cheer to these families that have lost so much! God Bless!


Remembering Kentucky One Year After the Deadly Tornado Outbreak

Remembering Kentucky One Year After the Deadly Tornado Outbreak 1080 1080 SVDP USA

Life is a whirlwind every year, but nothing compares to this past year in Kentucky. December 10, 2021 is a date that will always be remembered as one of the worst disasters to hit the state of Kentucky in modern times. This devastating tornado ripped through 11 Counties, with a 165.7 mile-long path was the longest for a tornado in U.S. history. All of the areas hit are served by the Diocesan Council of Western Kentucky. Two of the worst hit community’s were Mayfield, which saw its downtown business area demolished, and Bremen which saw every home demolished.

Immediately following the disaster, the Diocesan Council of Western Kentucky’s Board of Directors and Executive Director, while never having faced a disaster of this magnitude, quickly met to discuss their immediate role and long-term goals. It was identified that long-term recovery efforts would focus on working in partnership with SVdP-USA Disaster Services to provide the national House in a Box™ program. Additionally, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Owensboro took the lead in providing disaster case management throughout Western Kentucky. Catholic Charities also provided an initial $150K grant to provide House in a Box™. Knowing that additional significant funding was required, the Diocesan Council of Western Kentucky wrote a collaborative grant with DSC to the American Red Cross (ARC) for $1.7MM.

Diocesan Council of Western Kentucky CEO/Executive Director Richard Remp-Morris says, “This has been a humbling experience, meeting the tornado survivors and hearing their horrific stories. I’ve felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and support in serving those in need with fellow Vincentians, DSC, Catholic Charities, VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters), and Long-Term Recovery groups. After receiving our $1.7M grant, we set-up an 8000 sq. ft. disaster relief warehouse in Owensboro. The warehouse is staffed by Warehouse Manager Patrick Clary, and two support staff: Herbert Allgood and Lee Wilson. “I enjoy providing these House in a Box units to the surviving families. Seeing the relief in their eyes means that I have done my job. DSC has provided me and my staff an easy-to-follow plan for managing the warehouse. I especially appreciate all the necessary forms, and inventory lists provided,” Clary said. “To date the Diocesan Council of Western Kentucky has served more than 50 families with our ARC grant funding. We anticipate serving 350 families total, the ability to serve more families will be possible if additional funding is provided.” stated CEO/Executive Director Richard Remp-Morris

“There have been many stories that survivors have wanted and needed to share with us, each tragic in their own way” says Diocesan Council of Western Kentucky Marketing Coordinator Belinda Abell. “One story specifically stands out for me. The Oglesby family lost so much; their five-month-old baby was ripped from his mother’s arms, each of the parents were hurt physically with the mother paralyzed from the chest down. Yet when Mr. Oglesby told me about it, he had great hope that his wife would regain her ability to walk, how God has been there with them every step of the way.”

Ms. Abell continued with a different perspective, “Then we have 4-year-old Ryker who kept telling us, “this is enough stuff” as his House in a Box™ was loaded up. His Grandmother said every time it becomes cloudy he wants to know if a tornado is coming.” “We remain committed to this work and look forward to serving survivors over the next 16 months. We may not have been as prepared for a disaster as other Councils, but Western Kentucky is known for taking care of its own. I have been honored to see our Vincentians and Community Partners come together to put our faith into action,” says Nancy Harris, President, Diocesan Council of Western Kentucky.


Disaster Services Update 11-23-2022

Disaster Services Update 11-23-2022 1080 1080 SVDP USA

Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, CEO of Disaster Services Corporation, journeyed across Florida this past week to assess the widespread devastation left behind by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.

The groundwork has been laid to provide both Rapid Response and Long-Term Recovery Grants to the affected Councils that have established a plan for the next phase of recovery. The state is still active in debris removal and continuing to stabilize the infrastructure in many areas. There has been a significant loss of homes, businesses, and jobs in each of these hard hit communities. The Fort Myers area has been one of the most drastically affected communities.

Elizabeth met with Diane Clarke, the SVdP Southeast Regional Disaster Chair who has been working tirelessly to help organize and lead disaster relief efforts throughout the state and who is a survivor as well. Diane is supporting long-term recovery work and has been working at the Sarasota Emergency Operations Command. Elizabeth stated, “Diane and I were at Ft. Myers Beach today and the destruction was overwhelming, especially as we witnessed the height of the storm surge as it was made evident how serious and dangerous the conditions were.” She went on to say that, “This will be a long recovery, and I am proud of the amazing work that our Vincentians have done to date. FEMA and the American Red Cross team have expressed their gratitude for the Vincentian’s efforts, singing their praises as they have managed to complete over 1,000 intake forms as they met with survivors in Ft. Myers within the FEMA led Multi-Agency Resource Center.” Elizabeth mentioned, “I want to personally thank Diane Clark for her outstanding leadership, as she is working 24/7 to support the Councils that have been impacted by these hurricanes, in addition to all the work she does for her Conference. I don’t know how she does it all!”

A special thanks and recognition is also extended to Trace Tryklo, Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul of Orlando, for all he is doing to support Hurricane Ian survivors in the Diocese of Orlando. Vincentians, Jim Reagan and Susan Pellicciotti, from Diocese of Venice, along with many other volunteers, who helped at the Multi Agency Resource Center. Elizabeth ended with, “I was so moved by the Vincentian spirit of caring during my time in Florida, they are truly amazing.”

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