Disaster Services Corporation

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!


12-8-2022 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

12-8-2022 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 900 900 SVDP USA

Dear Vincentians,

This time of the year, when we give thanks for all our blessings, I always reflect over my seventeen years in disaster relief work for the Society and recall so many Vincentian heroes. The work we do at Disaster Services is difficult as we witness so much destruction and heartache, but we also get to see lives healed and systemic change in action. I would like to share with you some of my very special memories of Vincentian Servant Leaders and their gifts.

I have worked or overseen relief efforts for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, Alex, Mathew, Florence, Harvey, Irma, Maria, Michael, Ida, and now Ian, in addition to numerous tornados in IL, KY, MO, OK, TN, and TX, and floods in the Midwest, IL, KY, NE, and WV, Wildfires in the West, to include CA, NM, OR, and WA, and other disasters like the COVID-19 Pandemic and West Texas Fertilizer Explosion. No matter the disaster, we have always had Vincentian Servant Leaders that have come forward to deploy to help other Councils or were willing to go in and help a neighboring Catholic community where we had no Conference. From these experiences, we have also indirectly helped with the extension of the Society.

During Hurricane Katrina, Dick Reimbold and his wife Irene were two such leaders and they came to Dallas to help me run a 70,000 square foot warehouse for our Katrina House in a Box™ Program. The hours were long and there were so many stories of loss and death, but they stayed for weeks and through it all kept me going, as I was so stressed out from the thousands of families that needed assistance. To this day, Dick still volunteers and is now serving as our Mideast Disaster Chair. Then there is the amazing Vincentian, Jim Butler, who has deployed to numerous disasters over the years. During Hurricane Ike, Jim went with me and a local Catholic priest to visit an area called Oak Island, TX. Oak Island was a Vietnamese community, and the survivors were camped out on the ground near their destroyed properties. They were afraid to go to shelters as they thought people would loot the very little they had left on their land. Jim said, “well if we cannot get them to shelter, why don’t we take them shelter.” We worked with the Council of Beaumont to raise money for tents, and I called the Red Cross who donated blankets and bug spray. Jim and I, along with local Vincentians carried in all these items to the disaster zone on Oak Island, so that the immigrant families could stay on their land.

When West Virginia had a series of very heavy and fatal floods in 2016, Jim Butler, Diane Clark and Tom Link all deployed with me to help set up a SVDP Recovery Center in a former Kmart building. Many of our local Vincentians could not travel the distances between the flood impacted counties and this dynamic team of three came to assist. The state of WV and WV Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD) had very little supplies and Diane, Jim and Tom sat on old plastic paint containers and did intake and casework for hundreds of families. When I walked in the building and saw them sitting on those old plastic containers, it brought a tear to my eye, but they never complained.

One of our superstar Vincentians over the years was Gail Bertrand, who is now guiding us from above. Gail was always willing to go the extra mile to help disaster survivors. Gail had gone through many hurricanes and had her own property heavily damaged. She understood what it was like to come home to a mold invested dwelling with all your family pictures and family bible under water. Gail had a big heart and always found a way to help disaster survivors. One special memory of Gail , of which there are many, was when we deployed to help our Vincentians in the Carolinas, after Hurricane Florence. We had set up a Disaster Relief Center and an elderly woman came to the center. The woman had lost her documents in the Hurricane and was so embarrassed that she did not know how to retrieve any of her documents. She just cried and cried. Gail held her and told her not to worry. The woman was also very hungry, and Gail fixed a plate of food for her from the food we had bought for the volunteers. After Gail got her registered with FEMA, she worked to find her temporary housing in a nearby hotel and to find a local community agency that could provide eldercare. When the woman left, I told Gail how impressed I was with her empathy, and she said “Liz I get to see the face of Christ in what we do. It is not empathy or sympathy, but my faith that drives me.” Gail modeled Vincentian Charism. For her it was a way of life.

So, as I was driving into Dallas, to be with my family over the Thanksgiving Holidays, I realized that I have been so very blessed to be in a leadership role with Disaster Services Society of St Vincent de Paul USA.  The hours are long, and I am often gone from home for up to six months. However, it is has been so very spiritually fulfilling to watch the growth of our Parish Recovery Assistance Centers, where we provide one on one disaster relief services,  to our Disaster Case Management Programs, where we provide a road map to recovery for the most vulnerable survivors and create systemic change in their lives, to our nationally known House in a Box ™ Program where we have helped so many families in complex and life changing situations. I want to thank each of you for your support of our mission and we could not do what we do without our Vincentian family.

Elizabeth Disco-Shearer
CEO, Disaster Services Corp SVDP-USA

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.”

09-29-22 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

09-29-22 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 720 720 SVDP USA

Dear Vincentian Friends,

It is the time of the year when hurricanes make headlines as they leave suffering and damage in their wake. I ask you, your Conference, and your Council to consider contributing generously this month to our National Council Annual Disaster Appeal. This is the best and most effective way to get disaster aid to our members working in the United States in cooperation with our Disaster Services Corporation and to provide disaster relief throughout the world through our international structure. This appeal allows us to respond quickly to requests. It also provides funds for disasters that may not make the headlines in your local media. Our Conferences in those areas often need our help just as much as those located where a major hurricane strikes.

Once again, this month in Puerto Rico, such a hurricane struck. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul will be working through our members there to provide assistance to their neighbors in need. We are just starting to get communications from our members in Puerto Rico and are waiting to hear how we can help.

But, as I was writing this, another hurricane was headed toward Florida — with unknown consequences. This illustrates the reason why we have one annual collection that can then be used as we learn the actual needs our Vincentians identify after disasters.

The Society’s Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) gives us excellent capacity to serve after a disaster. The DSC constitutes a knowledgeable team to provide training for our members and to secure private and governmental grants that greatly expand the ability of the Society to serve in these situations. The support the National Council provides for the DSC’s efforts is largely funded by this Annual Disaster Appeal.

In the past year, the DSC has helped Councils in every region of the country respond to floods, tornadoes, wildfires, and hurricanes. The success of this appeal last year meant that we did not have to keep sending out fundraising requests for every one of these efforts. I suspect you would become annoyed with the National Office if we did that.

This appeal will also support the international relief provided by the Society through the Commission for International Aid and Development (CIAD). My position as a vice president on the International Board of Directors is responsible for these grants, and I can assure you that this assistance is very much needed to support the work of our members throughout the world. I also can assure you that the use of the funds is monitored closely, with appropriate reports for accountability.

Again, a single appeal allows us to fund response to many disasters you will never hear about. The single appeal also avoids funds being designated to a country without the capacity of members there to use donations that well-meaning councils might otherwise send.

Before committing funds to a particular disaster, it is important to be certain the local Councils have the people and capacity to put our donations to work. Days before Hurricane Fiona stuck Puerto Rico, a Southeast Region team — led by John Berry, Isabel Darcy and Pam Matambanadzo — were on the island working with our members to strengthen our presence there. While they were in Puerto Rico, they observed that people still have not recovered from Hurricane Maria five years ago.

When major disasters strike, the need for assistance can last for many years. Long after the reporters have left, our Vincentians will be there helping their neighbors.

Please be generous in supporting this campaign. Frédéric Ozanam saw the Society as a network of charity. The network he envisioned has come to embrace the world. It is at its strongest and most caring when we support the work of Councils and Conferences of our Vincentian sisters and brothers faced with relieving the unforeseen suffering of a natural disaster. Finally, let us all be committed to praying regularly for the safety and emotional health of all those who are suffering from the results of these storms and those who are dedicated to bringing them aid.

Serviens in spe,
Ralph Middlecamp
National Council President

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month 940 788 SVDP USA

National Preparedness Month Information From Disaster Services Corporation

Recently, it was reported that 246 people lost their lives from the ice storms that hit Texas last year.  The United States census bureau also released that at least 1,400 people lost their lives last year due to the fact they were not prepared for extreme cold weather. Not all winter storms are created equal; but when you are properly prepared, it can mean the difference between life and death.

Blizzards and other extreme cold weather events can last from a few hours or a few weeks. It can cause frozen roadways, dangerously high winds, and raise the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

Like hurricanes, freezing storms can cause widespread power outages, cutting off your access to heat, and increasing the likelihood that your children, elderly loved ones, and pets will get sick from the cold.

That’s why preparing for extreme winter weather is so important. The following is a list of preventive measures you can take to “winterize” your home.

  • Stock your home with enough food, water, and supplies to last for days without power. Essential supplies include batteries, flashlights, radios, portable cell phone chargers, medication, pet food and supplies, and any necessary items for family members with health conditions.
  • Insulate doors and windows with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly, and keep backup batteries on hand.
  • Insulate walls, attic, and any water lines that run through exterior walls to keep them from freezing.
  • Consider adding exterior storm shutters to your windows for extra protection from flying debris.
  • When temperatures are at or below freezing for an extended period of time, keep faucets on a constant drip to prevent pipes from freezing and potentially bursting.
  • Make sure you know where the main water valve is in your home in case a pipe bursts due to the cold. And schedule a family meeting to brief them on how to shut it off.
  • Make sure your roof is free of leaks. The better shape your roof is in, the less the cold can get in.
  • Cut down any tree branches that may break off and damage your house.
  • Plan on using your fireplace to stay warm? Schedule yearly chimney and flue inspections to ensure it’s safe to use.
  • Have a set of blankets and clothing stored in a water-resistant bag that can be easily accessed in an emergency.

No one ever expects their life to be turned upside-down by a natural disaster, but preparing ahead of time can make a stressful situation a bit easier! #BePrepared


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.

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