Disaster Services Corporation

4-28-2022 Disaster Services Update

4-28-2022 Disaster Services Update 783 735 SVDP USA

Disaster Services Corporation is responding to the recent flooding and storm damage throughout Middle Tennessee. At least 22 people were killed, including many children. Up to 17 inches of rain fell in Humphreys County in less than 24 hours, shattering the Tennessee record for one-day rainfall. In a community used to tornadoes and seeking shelter in their basements, this flooding left them completely unprepared. They were forced to seek refuge in attics, on rooftops, and in their cars.

The flooding in rural areas took out roads, bridges, and telephone phone lines. “Many of the missing and dead lived in the neighborhoods where the water rose the fastest,” said Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis, who confirmed the 22 fatalities in his county. The dead included twin babies who were swept from their father’s arms, according to surviving family members, and a foreman at county music star Loretta Lynn’s ranch.

Due to the dedication of St. Vincent de Pauls’ Conference at St. Patricks’ Church, lead by Barbara Hooper, Disaster Service Corp. and the amazing Vincentians with the “St. Louis Sluggers,” they have been able to rehab many homes.

According to local estimates there are another 200 homes on the waiting list for assistance. DSC will be posting the needs of this community and ways you can help on our website and social media this coming week.

04/07/2022 – SVdP Disaster Services Corporation Update

04/07/2022 – SVdP Disaster Services Corporation Update 940 788 SVDP USA

Besides responding to natural and manmade disasters, the role of SVdP’s Disaster Services Corporation is to educate SVdP Councils and Conferences about different types of severe weather. Be alert, so you can be prepared for spring storms!

Tornado Watch

A tornado watch means that tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a watch is issued. Acting early helps save lives! Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center, and a watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states.

Tornado Warning

A tornado warning means one has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy shelter. Avoid windows. If you are in a mobile home, a vehicle or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and cover your head to avoid flying debris. Local NWS offices issue warnings. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area, around the size of a city or small county. Warnings are issued when a tornado is spotted on the ground or identified by a forecaster on radar.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

A severe thunderstorm watch means that atmospheric conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorm development. The severe thunderstorm watch outlines an area where an organized threat of severe thunderstorms is expected generally during a three- to six-hour period. Severe thunderstorm watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center after consultation with local National Weather Service offices and can cover several counties to several states at a time.

During a severe thunderstorm watch, it is important to think about where you will be during the lifetime of the watch. If you are outdoors, develop a Weather Ready plan that includes directions to the nearest lightning and hail-proof shelter. Keep in mind that severe hail can smash car windshields, cause injuries and, in the extreme, punch holes in roofs.

Please Follow DSC

Our website: www.svdpdisaster.org
On Twitter @svdpusadisaster
On Facebook @DisasterServicesCorp

Disaster Services Update – March 10, 2022

Disaster Services Update – March 10, 2022 2000 1501 SVDP USA

The following update was provided by Dick Reimbold, DSC Mideast Regional Disaster Representative.

Disaster Services Corporation - Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA (DSC SVDP-USA), hosted a Parish Recovery Assistance Center at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Carlisle, Kentucky this past week.   

In the Summer of 2021, the residents of Carlisle, experienced a record-breaking flooding event throughout their county.  Per Governor Andy Beshear, the flooding impacted over 80 homes and at least 29 businesses as well as the city’s wastewater treatment plant, fire station, and city garage. The estimated damage to infrastructure, along with the cost of debris removal, totals more than $3.8 million.    

One resident shared,  “I have lived in Carlisle my entire life, for 45 years, and within 43 minutes the flood waters rose and caused me to lose everything in my home, my cars, my pictures, my keepsakes, and my memories.” Another family, a single mother with three children, not only lost her belongings, but her vehicle. Due to the lack of transportation, including public transportation, she lost her job and had to take a job at the local family dollar, which doesn’t cover her monthly expenses.   

However,  for DSC to be able to witness by our presence, not only to the survivors, but to volunteers who had no knowledge of the Society, and its works was a beautiful experience. Less than ten percent of churches in the Diocese of Lexington have a St. Vincent de Paul Conference. The pastor of the church had no knowledge of the Society; but again, being able to witness by our presence, ignited him and several parishioners to start the groundwork to open a Conference and join the Vincentian family.   

The other fruits the trip bore were being able to meet and collaborate with Jim Garrett, the volunteer and donations manager with the state of Kentucky VOAD, Meg Campos, the Executive Director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Lexington, a representative from HOPE, Animals Assisted Crisis Response, and Rhonda Curran Koft from the Carlisle Chamber of commerce and leader of the long-term recovery group.   

We were able to assist and provide intake for over 20 plus families, conduct several Home Visits, and meet with the local Judge, who is the executive of the county, Steve Hamilton, to coordinate partners to help with remediating homes, demolition, and other manual type of assistance.   

Lastly, one of the residents shared one of the most pressing issues for the residents of Carlisle, not just the loss of homes for the survivors whose homes were flooded, but the loss of their local grocery store. The residents have to drive about 30 minutes away to buy groceries and that is problematic for some of the 2,000 residents of Carlisle. 

Disaster Services Update

Disaster Services Update 940 788 SVDP USA

Last week, SVdP’s Disaster Services Corporation conducted a customized training on DSC’s Programs for over 25 Vincentians within the SVdP Denver Metro Council and associated Conferences. The training focused on how Councils and Conferences can leverage DSC’s grants and programs to build capacity for the local Vincentian response to the devastating wildfires that recently swept across Colorado. In addition, DSC spent a large portion of the training focusing on how Vincentians can provide Disaster Case Management services to wildfire survivors.

Vincentians from St. Michael the Archangel Parish Conference joined other northern Colorado Vincentians in directly assisting Marshall fire survivors. We partnered with Catholic Charities representatives operating out of the Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) in Lafayette last month. Officials say that over 900 homes were destroyed and at least another 300 were damaged in the Marshall fire.

Survivors needed housing, food, and clothing assistance. A few were from the St. Louis Parish, the church that was undamaged but located in Louisville where many houses were lost. We met Deacon Dan from St. Louis Parish who said that the church was saved but that he lost his home to the fire. He did not lose his sense of humor as he explained that he is working both sides of the table.

There was little or no warning for most people due to rapid spread of the fire. One couple who had their dog with them said they had no warning and just got their pet and sped off. A woman told us she was on a recurring IV treatment in the Louisville hospital when the hospital evacuation started. Her house was lost.

SVdP activities in Denver began in 1876. Fr. Terry Kissell initiated the formation of the Conference in April 2011. The Conference was aggregated in 2014 in Paris, France. St. Michael the Archangel is one of 28 Conferences that make up the Denver Metro Council. They work closely and often with the Denver Metro Council and other parish Conferences.

Disaster Services Update

Disaster Services Update 608 407 SVDP USA

On December 30 of last year, a wind-swept wildfire tore through suburban neighborhoods between Denver and Boulder (Superior, Louisville, and unincorporated Boulder County), forcing the evacuation of thousands of people, destroying 1,084 homes, severely damaging 149 homes, and making it the most destructive blaze in state history.

The fire, as intense as it was sudden, sent tens of thousands of residents of Boulder County scrambling to leave department stores and houses on Thursday as fire trucks swarmed the area. Though wildfires are seen as less of a threat in suburban areas, especially in December, a period of intense drought had created the conditions for the flames to spread, destroying houses, a shopping complex, and a hotel.

Evacuees fled the fire zones under plumes of smoke that clouded the sky for miles, not knowing if their houses would make it through the night. Roads and highways in the Denver metro area were jammed with thousands of residents trying to flee.

Wildfires in the American West have been worsening – growing larger, spreading faster, and reaching into mountainous elevations that were once too wet and cool to have supported fierce fires. What was once a seasonal phenomenon has become a year-round menace, with fires burning later into the fall and into the winter.

Last week, DSC conducted a customized training on DSC’s Programs for over 25 Vincentians within the Denver Council and associated Conferences. The training focused on how Councils and Conferences can leverage DSC’s grants and programs to build capacity for the local Vincentian response to the devastating wildfires that have swept across Colorado. In addition, DSC spent a large portion of the training on how Vincentians can provide Disaster Case Management services to wildfire survivors.

“The training recently provided by SVdP’s Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) to Denver Metro Council and Conference members significantly expanded our concept of assistance. While we are experienced in dealing with evictions, homelessness, rent and mortgage shortfalls and need for help with utility and other payments, the need to work with FEMA, the SBA and the Red Cross in addition to county and state disaster organizations is new. There are additional and important areas to discuss with fire survivors as short and long term needed assistance is identified and initiated. As our involvement with Marshall fire survivors comes into clearer focus, we look forward to working closely with DSC.” – Patrick L. Hanafee, President, SVdP Denver Metro Council

After a disaster hits, what should my Council do next?

  • Contact your Council Disaster Representative (If your Council has one)
  • Impacted SVdP Council contacts the SVdP Regional Vice President AND their DSC Regional Disaster Representative with a needs assessment, request for DSC grant funding, and/or DSC program support
  • DSC Regional Disaster Representative contacts DSC SVdP USA to relay the need and any SVdP Council request
  • DSC participates on national disaster coordination calls with FEMA and NVOAD and support Regional Disaster Representatives and SVdP Council on State VOAD and local COAD calls
  • DSC works with the DSC Regional Disaster Rep and SVdP Council on distributing grant funding and/or rolling out relief and recovery programs

What support services and programs can Councils expect from Disaster Services Corporation SVdP USA?

DSC Preparedness Training and Exercise Program

DSC conducts training for Vincentian volunteers from around the nation at the Mid-Year Meeting, Annual Assembly, Regional Meetings and individual Councils. It is DSC’s goal to have trained Vincentian disaster response teams in each of the Society’s eight regions.

  • Rapid Response Team Training: This training consists of how to deploy in teams of four to assist SVdP Councils in disaster impacted areas. The Teams follow an Incident Command Model and provide support to our local Vincentians on how best to organize local relief and recovery efforts.
  • Preparedness Training: Activities to cover training at the National Council’s Mid-Year Meeting, Annual Conference, Regional Meetings, and Councils as requested and to build capacity and grow the capabilities of the Council(s) and the Region(s) to respond to disasters.
  • General Disaster Training: Training in Disaster Case Work, Case Management, Fund Raising for Disaster Recovery, working with local VOADs and Emergency Management and others.
  • Parish Recovery Assistance Training: In conjunction with the TEEX Division of Emergency Management, of Texas A &M University, training on how to assist clients in local parishes during the recovery phase of
  • Resiliency and Business Continuity Training: To help Councils prepare a Council Emergency Response Plan for an All-Hazards Disaster Preparedness Conference(s) conducted by Subject Matter Experts to train Vincentians on best practices in disaster preparedness and recovery.

DSC Grant Program

DSC’s Disaster Grant Program manages the distribution and reporting of Rapid Response Grants (RRGs) and Long-Term Recovery Grants (LTRGs) funded through the National Disaster Fund to assist Councils and Conferences.

  • Rapid Response Grants (RRGs): Provide up to $5,000.00 to SVDP Councils and Conferences to meet the immediate needs of individuals and families suffering from disasters.
  • Long-Term Recovery Grants: Provide up to $20,000.00 to SVDP Councils and Conferences to address long-term charitable needs, and fund programs for longer durations after the initial phase of a given disaster.

Parish Recover Assistance Centers (P-RACs)

Deploy to key parish community centers following a disaster to provide a holistic approach to Disaster Recovery through strategic outreach to survivors that may be socially, geographically and/or culturally isolated during the recovery process. The P-RACs provide immediate services and resources, connecting survivors to community services. P-RACs often require other Catholic organizations working together to deliver critical information and referral services along with immediate relief to the survivors of a given disaster. P-RACs are led by trained Rapid Response Teams, that will train others, provide information on FEMA, SBA, ONA, State and Local Disaster Programs, and provide assistance, supplies, registration, etc.

House In A Box

House in a Box ® is one of the most well-known programs of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The program helped DSC win the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) Non-Government Organization of the Year Award in 2012 and again in 2021. House in a Box® provides new furniture and furnishings to families that have lost everything due to disasters and who may be forced into situational poverty as a result of natural or manmade disasters. DSC buys furniture and furnishings in volume through pre-screened vendors, so that it can provide a starter household furniture kit at a greatly reduced price. DSC coordinates all logistics for the House in a Box ® and ensures that there is no duplication of benefits. The “House in a Box®” gives dignity to families in crisis as it gives them a new and fresh start. All families receive the same new items which are packaged for efficiency of delivery. The program is scalable to the size of the family and starts at $3,000 for a family of four.

One package includes: beds, linens, dishes, pots and pans, dressers, silverware, bathroom setup, dinette and a couch.

Establishing a House in a Box ® Program in a Disaster Recovery area, begins with the assessment of the need by the RRT which includes the size of the disaster and the number of affected Households needing assistance. A minimum of 20 families is required before it is cost effective to establish a House in a Box ® Program. This assessment also includes assessing the capabilities of Catholic Organizations/Other Organizations in supporting a House in a Box ® Program. This would include SVDP Council(s), SVDP Conference(s), Knights of Columbus, Catholic Charities, Daughters of Charity, Diocese(s), Salvation Army, and Red Cross.

DSC’s primary objective is to provide support to SVDP Councils and Conferences throughout all phases of disaster. DSC’s programs all have a focus on reducing the likelihood for families to fall into situational poverty due to natural or man-made disasters.

Disaster Services Corporation Update Regarding Recent Tornado Outbreak

Disaster Services Corporation Update Regarding Recent Tornado Outbreak 940 788 SVDP USA

Dear Vincentians,

Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) is coordinating its response to the recent devastating tornado outbreak in six states with its South Central, Midwest, North Central, Mideast, and Southeast Disaster Representatives which are part of the DSC Board’s Disaster Operations Committee. DSC is monitoring to meet the needs of survivors by working through state, local, and tribal governments and is actively coordinating with affected states to address unmet needs. We are on daily VOAD calls and conducting Coordination Calls with the Disaster Reps in the regions where the tornados hit.

DSC works through its Disaster Operations Committee and its Regional Committee Members for all disaster relief and recovery efforts. Our Regional Disaster Reps work with their local Vincentian Councils and Conferences, the local Diocese, and the state VOADs to determine the unmet needs of the impacted disaster areas. Disaster recovery takes years, and it is important to have funding for the second stages of disasters like the Parish Recovery Assistance Centers (PRACs) which help disaster survivors get registered for state and federal benefits and where Vincentians can provide spiritual and emotional care. DSC will be providing Rapid Response Grants to Councils that have unmet needs and are working to help their Diocese recover from this very tragic series of tornados.

Please continue to pray for all the families impacted by disasters during this Advent Season and if possible, please volunteer or donate to the relief efforts.

DSC Response Actions 

  • Damage assessment teams, additional staff, and resources are positioned and ready to deploy to Kentucky or any other affected areas.
  • DSC is in contact with state VOADs and state emergency management officials as tornado damage reports come in from Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee.
  • Working with the National Council to ensure funds are available for Rapid Response Grants.

Staying Weather Aware and Safe Before, During, and After Tornadoes 

Residents from east-central Mississippi to extreme southwestern Virginia should stay vigilant as this storm system moves east. Damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes will be possible, mainly early in the day. Isolated strong wind gusts cannot be ruled out over parts of the Mid-Atlantic during the late afternoon and evening.

In any emergency, always follow the instructions given by state, local or tribal emergency management officials. Follow these tips to stay safe after a tornado.

  • Stay out of the area if possible. Emergency workers may be assisting people or cleaning up debris. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
  • Enter areas that have sustained damaged only after your local officials have said it is safe to do so. Always follow the direction of your local officials.
  • If you suspect any damage to your home, shut off the electrical power, natural gas, and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution or explosions, if you know how to do so safely.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or any objects that are in contact with downed lines. If you see a downed power line or other electrical hazard, report it to the police and the utility company.
  • If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of something burning, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker if you have not done so already.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas company, the police or fire departments, or State Fire Marshal’s office. Do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to your house until your local officials say it is safe to do so.
  • Be careful when cleaning up. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, and sturdy thick-soled shoes. Do not try to remove heavy debris by yourself. Use an appropriate mask if cleaning mold or other debris. People with asthma and other lung conditions and/or immune suppression should not enter buildings with indoor water leaks or mold growth that can be seen or smelled. Children should not take part in disaster cleanup work.

Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

If you lost power, avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.

  • Use a Generator Safely! Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Keep generators far away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning devices should never be used inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace, or any partially enclosed area. These should only be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows.
  • Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
  • For additional safety tips before, during or after a tornado visit https://www.ready.gov/tornadoes.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact Disaster Services Corporation:

  • DSC Media Point of Contact: Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, Chief Executive Officer at (214) 717-1802 or at ldisco@svdpdisaster.org
  • Vincentian Support and Operations: Kevin Peach, Chief Operating Officer at (202) 924-6212 or at kpeach@svdpdisaster.org

Follow Us

Follow DSC on social media at:  @svdpusadisaster on Twitter, @DisasterServicesCorp Facebook, , and via @disastersericescorp on LinkedIn.

DSC Mission

To model the charism of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul by providing quality programs and services to families and communities impacted by natural and manmade disasters across this great nation.

In Service,

Elizabeth Disco-Shearer
Chief Executive Officer
Disaster Service Corporation

12-09-2021 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

12-09-2021 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 168 191 SVDP USA

At the age of seven, I began my lifelong journey of service as an altar server at St. Luke Catholic Church in River Forest, IL. I remember the purpose and pride I felt in being a part of the Church and the feeling that it brought me closer to God. Since then, I have endeavored to continue to find meaningful ways to serve God and my community.

One such opportunity came in 2019, when I joined the Disaster Services Corporation as the Chief Operating Officer. Over the past three years, I’ve come to learn much about what it is to be a Vincentian and to be a part of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Never have I met more dedicated people serving the most vulnerable through Christ.

For those who are unaware, the Disaster Services Corporation is the disaster arm of the National Council . After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Society responded to the needs of Katrina survivors, developing a long-term recovery plan and coordinating with other agencies to locate necessary resources and ongoing support. For several years thereafter, the nation looked to the Society to provide more and more support in the face of frequent and severe disasters.

In 2017, the Disaster Services Corporation was founded to meet the needs of the nation and to provide disaster relief at a scale we had never seen. Given the reputation of the Society’s work in disaster relief, the federal government sought out Vincentians to augment support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and began to award millions of dollars’ worth of federal contracts to help communities recover. Recognizing the importance of these opportunities, the National Council made the prudent decision to create Disaster Services Corporation as a wholly owned subsidiary to fulfill the Society’s disaster mission, while minimizing the risk and liability to the National Council.

Disaster Services Corporation strives to achieve a unity of effort with the National Council in fundraising activities, Council and Conference support, and messaging to the Vincentian community and the nation. Disaster Services Corporation, in partnership and with guidance and oversight from the National Council, has had a monumental impact on Vincentians and the nation, managing over $15,000,000 in federal and state contracts and provided over $100,000,000 in value of services. In 2021 alone, Disaster Services Corporation served communities in California, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin in response to floods, hurricanes, winter storms, wildfires, the pandemic, and the Afghan Refugee Resettlement efforts.

To effectively respond to the needs of so many communities nationwide, the Disaster Services Corporation relies on its robust Disaster Operations Committee, comprised of regional and state Vincentian representation, and in partnership with the National Council’s National Vice Presidents, to grant Councils and Conferences Rapid Response and Long-Term Recovery Grants. This committee regularly trains with FEMA, National VOAD, and other disaster relief organizations to ensure a holistic and integrated disaster response and recovery.

The Disaster Services Corporation also provides Council and Conference Support, including preparedness, response, and recovery online and in-person trainings. This year alone, Disaster Services Corporation supported the Archdiocesan Council of New Orleans with a hurricane simulation, the Council of Rockford with a tornado simulation, and trained Council and Conference leadership from across the nation at the National Assembly.

The work we do is important, and I’ve seen the outcomes first-hand. This past spring, Disaster Services Corporation deployed to the poorest communities of Kentucky to set up Parish Recovery Assistance Centers (PRAC) to provide Walmart gift cards, food and nutrition products, cleaning supplies, and stewardship to those families requiring FEMA support.

I remember the day when a mother and her child Sawyer visited the Disaster Services Corporation PRAC and spent two hours talking with Vincentians and receiving the resources and support they needed to begin their family’s recovery. An hour or so later, I went to the local Walmart, where there was a Subway, to get lunch for our Vincentian volunteers. As I walked in, I saw the mother, with little Sawyer in the shopping cart, along with groceries and diapers, that were being bought with the gift cards we had provided no more than an hour earlier. I reflect on that experience often, thinking that we never truly know how desperate people are, and feeling the pride that through the National Council, Disaster Services Corporation was able to be there to help a neighbor in their very real time of need.

Disaster Services Corporation not only has an impact on disaster survivors, but also on our Vincentians. One volunteer’s experience who answered the call to serve during the West Virginia floods in particular stands out, sharing his experience through a day in the life of a Vincentian volunteer. Recounting his experience, he wrote, “Bright and early, had breakfast, let’s head to the site. Rural southwestern WV looks a lot like where I live. Small community center. Ok let’s get eight tables and some chairs, this is how we get set up. Ok, first disaster survivor. My what a story they have about the flood. Household income? What!? A family can live on this small amount? These people need all the help they can get. But they are smiling, thankful, and appreciative. How can anyone be in such a good mood, when their lives have been torn up so bad? Reminds me of our opening prayer…Where two or three gather in my name…I felt Jesus watching down, smiling that we were doing his work here on Earth.”

To conclude, I want to share a passage that has guided me throughout my life. “Your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God, you cannot say, “But I was told by others to do thus.” Or that, “Virtue was not convenient at the time.” When I think about this passage, I can’t help to think how it relates to the important work and sacrifice of our Vincentians and how I remain grateful and honored to be a part of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul family through the Disaster Services Corporation.

 

 

10-14-2021 A Letter From Your Servant Leaders

10-14-2021 A Letter From Your Servant Leaders 1367 1520 SVDP USA

Dear Vincentian Friends,

At our National Business meeting held during National Assembly in Houston, I was asked to provide our local leaders with more information on the current Disaster fundraising campaign and how such funds are utilized during the year. Our members have been very generous in funding disaster relief and recovery efforts for years, and especially so this year. Our National Council subsidiary Disaster Services Corporation – SVDP USA (DSC) is a central, but not the only, part of our disaster presence in the United States and internationally.

In the last fiscal year which closed on September 30, the National Council provided Rapid Response Grants and Long Term Response Grants to local Councils and Conferences to use for direct relief in their communities. These grants are requested and managed through DSC, and funded with monies raised by the National Council and deposited into a  donor restricted fund called the Domestic Disaster Fund (DDF). Over the past fiscal year, 16 such grants were provided totaling approximately $155,000. These grants provided local support in communities stricken by floods, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

Many Vincentians tell us that they know how such disasters can strike anywhere, how they feel blessed not to be one of the communities affected – at least this year – and how their Vincentians want to reach out to help these other members in these times of need. In fact, many of our donations come from Conferences and Councils that were victims of past disasters and understand the challenges!

The Domestic Disaster Fund also provided funds as directed by the National Council board of directors to provide administrative support to DSC. While DSC attracts major grants for its work, often these grants do not provide for the administrative needs during, and especially between, such large disasters. The disaster organization can’t re-start for each disaster; it needs as constant presence to be ready when the need arises. Our DSC volunteers and staff can also be on location for months after the initial event providing long-term recovery efforts, and some of these costs are not covered by FEMA and other grant funds. This past year, DSC was provided with an annualized allotment of $150,000 by the National Council for its administrative overhead support.

Finally for domestic operations, the National Council provides fundraising support for DSC. The annual campaign such as the one just completed on September 30 provides general operating support for DSC use. The campaign focuses on our own SVdP members. Last year this campaign raised $414,233, with $246,755 allocated to DSC. These funds were sent to DSC in installments, with $105,000 during the 19-20 FY and the balance of $141,755 was sent directly to DSC last fall for its use in addition to the funds discussed above.

When all the funds and supports are added up, last fiscal year the National Council through our generosity provided DSC with $453,625 to support its great work. Thank you!

None of these funds are related to the campaign just completed. I am happy to report to everyone that this year we raised $926,818 to be used for a variety of disaster-related purposes. The Disaster Services Corporation will receive $494,199 directly from the proceeds for general unrestricted use. The National Council Domestic Disaster Fund will receive $164,733 to provide local and national disaster support as outlined above for current and future needs. Again, we don’t wait for the disaster to occur to raise funds and otherwise be prepared; the DDF allows us to provide immediate support within hours of a disaster event.

We are a worldwide network of charity. Our efforts to fund disaster relief and recovery also extends to providing support to councils of our Society throughout the world. This process is organized and overseen through our international member committee called CIAD – Commission for International Assistance and Development. Bill Brazier and I are members on this Commission. In the campaign just completed, we have dedicated $219,644 for future international requests of disaster support around the world. Most member countries do not have the resources we have in the United States, so our shared blessings are appreciated greatly for these outstanding needs! All of these funds never leave Vincentian hands from our donors through the direct relief in far-away communities.

The campaign is largely conducted in-house utilizing our National Council development and accounting staff, with some outside resources for writing and tech support. We are proud to keep our fundraising and management expenses to only five percent of the collected proceeds that will provide disaster resources flowing around our country and around the world.

Serviens in Spe,
Ralph Middlecamp
National President

A Letter from Our Servant Leaders

A Letter from Our Servant Leaders 1367 1520 SVDP USA

Fires destroying communities in the western United States, hurricanes pounding our southeastern shores, and floods and tornados taking a toll throughout our country regularly make headlines for a few days. Those newsflashes are then quickly replaced by the next tragic story. The recovery process and the suffering, however, stretch over many years. Our Society’s network of charity is active in helping neighbors in need in many communities challenged by disaster. Long after the cameras are gone, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul will still be there helping.

Our Society has always shared resources within our network when disasters strike. In a few weeks you will be receiving a solicitation to provide financial support for our disaster efforts both domestic and international. Why this general campaign for disaster funding? Raising money once a big disaster strikes may have a greater appeal but tends to create a strategic problem. We may receive a tremendous response to the first hurricane of the season, but funds designated specifically for relief from that disaster are then not available to address future storms that may create even greater need. Having the funds in advance lets us respond more quickly to immediate needs and also allows us to help our Councils with the many disasters that never make national headlines.

The solicitation you’ll see soon will be a joint appeal from the National Council and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Disaster Service Corporation (DSC). The DSC works closely with the National Council and local Councils and Conferences to provide needed financial aid, training, and outside Vincentian volunteers when local resources are inadequate to meet the need. That is frequently the case. We are very proud of the work done by the DSC. In May the Disaster Services Corporation SVdP-USA was named “Member of the Year” for 2021 by the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). When you give to our campaign, you can be assured that your contributions will be carefully distributed and monitored by a highly qualified and respected organization.

This appeal also includes a commitment to helping our brother and sister Vincentians throughout the world. Our network of charity extends to more than 150 other countries, most of which struggle financially to provide even simple forms of charity. When disasters occur, Councils in these nations look to those of us in countries that have the ability to help.

We have all heard news stories of nonprofit organizations mismanaging funds for big international disasters. When we give to our own international Councils, there are mechanisms in place for accountability through the Commission for International Aid and Development (CIAD), including requirements of U.S. Homeland Security. Bill Brassier, our Midwest Region Vice President, and I are members of this commission.

As is the case with domestic funding, it is preferable to have funds given without being designated to a particular disaster. Sometimes, we need to respond immediately to situations that never make the news. At other times, our members in an area that receives major attention lack the capacity to organize major projects to use the funds that are generated. Our international process works best when the receiving country makes an application for assistance with our office in Paris. That application will outline how the funds are to be used and will require ongoing reporting.

Vincentians in the United States are very generous in supporting the activity of our brothers and sisters who volunteer to aid those who suffer the terrible impact of disasters. During my presidential term, we have collected an average of about $1.25 million a year, with 75 percent of that being used in the United States and 25 percent to providing assistance internationally. Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been one large disaster of an unusual nature. The pandemic has put an even greater strain on our members when they face the many other forms of disaster that confront us every year. Look for more information to arrive in the weeks to come, and please help us continue to support this important work of responding to the need and suffering disasters cause.

Serviens in spe,
Ralph Middlecamp
SVdP National President

SVdP Disaster Services Corporation Host P-RACs to Assist with Kentucky Flooding

SVdP Disaster Services Corporation Host P-RACs to Assist with Kentucky Flooding 940 788 SVDP USA

Kentucky experienced a record-breaking flooding event this past year. Heavy rains caused major flood events in Eastern Kentucky, a region that has suffered three floods in less than a 12-month period. There was a total of 49 counties that issued disaster declarations. The storm event produced 4-7 inches of rain across a wide stretch of the state that pushed the rivers to levels not witnessed in decades. The Red River overflowed from its banks and rose past 8.5 feet above the flood stage. The Kentucky river also overflowed over 11.5 feet above the flood stage. Fire and safety crews rescued hundreds of families across the hardest hit counties.

Residents say the flooding overwhelming their communities was the worst in almost 40 years. Many people were completely washed out of their homes and have not been able to return due to the damage caused by the flooding. A large percentage of the survivors are not physically able to do the labor needed to help them return to a safe and secure home. Some struggle to afford building supplies for the immense number of repairs.

But, Kentuckians are resilient. Disaster response and emergency management are not only the responsibility of government but also of every community. One organization in particular that has answered the call for action is the Disaster Service Corp Society of St. Vincent De Paul USA (DSC SVDP-USA). The DSC SVDP-USA is the perfect example of private sector leadership serving and leveraging the power of Americanism and faith to approach communities impacted by disaster with compassion and competence. The Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) is a Catholic lay organization that helps people in situational poverty as a result of natural and man-made disasters get their lives back in order.

About the Parish Recovery Assistance Center (P-RAC)

DSC is supporting local, state, and federal agency responses to recent flood events in the state and determined the best way to aid local efforts is to focus on immediate and emergent needs. Disaster Services Corporation is meeting those needs by working with survivors to apply for FEMA and State Disaster benefits and will have other resources available. One essential deployment team will be gathering in the state from Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. They will be operating in partnership with Catholic Charities, the Diocese of Lexington, and the Kentucky Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (KYVOAD).

Disaster survivors will need to bring an ID and can be assisted if they have suffered losses in one of the disaster-impacted counties.

Locations, Dates, and Hours of Operation

Location: Holy Family Parish, Booneville, KY.
Address: 1439 KY Highway 11S, Booneville, KY 41314
Dates: May 24 – 26
Hours: 9 AM – 4 PM on Mon and Tue; 9 AM – 3 PM on Wed

Location: St. Michael’s Parish, Paintsville, KY
Address: 720 Washington Ave., Paintsville, KY 41240
Dates: May 27 – 28
Hours: 9 AM – 4 PM on Thu; 9 AM – 4 PM on Fri

“Our Parish Recovery Assistance Centers will be providing person to person services, utilizing COVID-19 safety protocols, for Kentucky homeowners and renters who sustained losses from the severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides from Feb. 27 through March 14, 2021 in several counties in Southeastern Kentucky. Disaster Services Corp, Society of St. Vincent de Paul assists families in long term recovery by helping them navigate state and federal benefits, referrals and disaster resources. We are grateful for the support of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, KY, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Lexington and Kentucky VOAD for collaborating with us on the P-RACs,” said Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, CEO DSC SVDP-USA.

The Disaster Services Corp., SVDP-USA is fueled by Vincentians from around the country, however we also rely on the kindness and giving from monetary donations. To support our efforts please visit our donations page and help us grow our impact in those communities most vulnerable. Our donation page can be found here: http://bit.ly/2Ml1lO4.

About the Society of St. Vincent de Paul

One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (www.svdpusa.org) is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of about 800,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 150 countries on five continents.

With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals nearly 100,000 in nearly 4,500 communities. SVdP offers a variety of programs and services, including home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, education and mentoring, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, assistance with transportation, prescription medication, and rent and utility assistance. The Society also works to provide care for the sick, the incarcerated and the elderly. Over the past year, SVdP provided nearly $1.2 billion in tangible and in-kind services to those in need, made more than 2 million personal visits (homes, hospitals, prisons and eldercare facilities) and helped more than 5.2 million people regardless of race, religion or national origin.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul Disaster Services is a founding member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and its Disaster Services Corporation provides relief and recovery to disaster survivors across the United States and American Territories.

 

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