Disaster Services Corporation

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.

 

DSC House in a Box

House in a Box Program Provides Home Essentials for Michigan Flood Survivors

House in a Box Program Provides Home Essentials for Michigan Flood Survivors 2560 1921 SVDP USA

While the media focuses on the winter-weather disasters that recently impacted Texas and other Southern states, neighbors to the north are still recovering from a different disaster that hit one community almost a year ago. A historic 500-year flood that swept through Midland County, Michigan in May 2020 left thousands facing hardship. But thanks to a partnership between the Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group, United Way of Midland County and the Disaster Services Corporation, flood survivors can receive home essentials in an efficient “one-stop shop” way as they work to rebuild their lives.

House in a Box

Organized and led by the Disaster Services Corporation – Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA, the House in a Box Program™ (HIB) provides necessary home items for disaster survivors, all in one kit. One package includes the following brand-new items:

  • Beds
  • Linens
  • Dishes
  • Pots and pans
  • Dressers
  • Silverware
  • Bathroom setup
  • Dinette
  • Couch

“The goal of the program is to provide new household items for families who have lost everything due to a disaster — like the flood that Midland County experienced — and who are forced into situational poverty because of such events,” said Kevin Peach, COO, Disaster Services Corporation.  “House in a Box gives dignity to families in crisis as it gives them a new and fresh start.”

Midland County’s Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group — a cross-sector group of individuals from a variety of organizations and agencies working together to help the community recover from the flood — helped spearhead the efforts to bring HIB to Midland County.

“After the Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group reviewed the program and met with SVDP-USA Disaster Services representatives, we found a perfect match between what this well-established program offers and the needs of individuals and families who suffered catastrophic loss in the Midland County flooding,” said Rev. Matthew W. Schramm, Long Term Disaster Recovery Group member and senior pastor/head of staff at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland. “Being able to receive these building blocks of a home in one place is convenient. For those who have experienced such upheaval, convenience is a blessing.”

As part of the Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group, United Way of Midland County helped provide financial support, as well as logistical and volunteer coordination for distribution of the household items. On February 23, volunteers from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the United Way gathered at the warehouse to assemble and organize the HIB materials for distribution.

Says Peach, “It really is a holistic approach to try to get everything (disaster victims) could possibly need.”

Disaster Services Corporation

The Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) is a Catholic lay organization that helps people in situational poverty brought about by natural and manmade disasters get their lives back in order. It is a sister company to the National Council of the United States, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which has provided disaster relief since its founding in France in 1833.

How Does the HIB Selection Process Work?

“Families are reviewed and referred to the program through a Disaster Case Management process that ensures that there is no duplication of benefits,” according to Peach. “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.”

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 $3,200 for a family of four. United Way is utilizing funds from their Rise Together fund to purchase the kits at a discounted rate, saving over $58,000, versus paying for these new household items individually.

Midland Flooding

You may not have heard of the flooding in Midland, but its impact on local residents was devastating. Over 10,000 people fled their homes because of the Midland County flood, which resulted in over $200 million in damages to more than 2,500 buildings.

“Rebuilding after a disaster is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Bre Sklar. “It does not happen overnight. But through the generosity of organizations and programs like House in a Box™, our community members can get access to much-needed resources to pick up the pieces of their lives.”

For more information on the Disaster Services Corporation – Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA, including how to donate to help disaster survivors, visit their website.

2021 Midyear Meeting

Don’t Miss the 2021 Virtual Midyear & Business Meeting!

Don’t Miss the 2021 Virtual Midyear & Business Meeting! 1060 1401 SVDP USA

Don’t miss the 2021 Virtual Midyear & Business Meeting

March 3 – 6, 2021

It’s not too late to register for our 2021 Midyear and Business Meeting! The virtual program begins Wednesday, March 3 and ends Saturday, March 6. You’re also invited to join us Sunday, March 7 for a special presentation showcasing the Vincentian Heritage Tour. We hope you’ll join us! To register, click here.

Agenda Highlights

Wednesday, March 3
  • Disaster Services Training
    The continuing pandemic taught us that we must be prepared for all types of disasters. Learn how your Council can effectively prepare and respond during a Disaster. Disaster Services Corporation’s CEO Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, COO Kevin Peach, and Chief Program Officer Anthony Pluchino will provide an innovative webinar with a tabletop exercise. All attendees will receive a Certificate of Completion for their attendance.
  • Stores Program
    Introduction of Stores Committee, Opening a Thrift Store & Closing Policies, Using Drop Boxes for Revenue Generation, How to Drive Sales, and more.
  • Virtual Exhibitor Showcase
    One-on-One presentations with SVdP Vendors with Q&A Sessions (Separate registration required)
Thursday, March 4
  • Opening Session with President Ralph Middlecamp
  • History Presentation by Ray Sickinger
  • Regional Meetings (Eastern, South Central, Southeast Regions Only)
Friday, March 5
  • Morning Reflections/Spiritual Retreat
  • Public Policy Priorities From Our Bishops – USCCB
  • Workshops: Finding Servant Leaders: Recruitment & Discernment; First Things First: Governance Priorities for New Leaders; Where Have We Been with Systemic Change
Saturday, March 6
  • National Business Meeting
  • Strategic Planning Session
  • Workshops: Monthly Growth & Revitalization Sharing Opportunities; SVdP Housing Survey Update & Homeless Housing in the Pandemic; Formation Plans for Conferences and Councils
  • Sponsored Presentation: Music by John Angotti
Sunday, March 7
  • The Footsteps of Our Founders and Patrons: Vincentian Heritage Tour Preview
    This online virtual tour of Paris will highlight the places that will be visited on the Heritage Pilgrimage, which is rescheduled for September 2021. Ralph Middlecamp will give an overview of Paris today and yesterday, visiting the places where Blessed Frederic Ozanam, St. Vincent de Paul, Blessed Rosalie Rendu, and St. Louise de Marillac lived, worked, and are now at rest. Even if you are not planning on traveling to Paris, you will enjoy spending this hour exploring the Paris roots of our Society and the Vincentian Family.
Registration

If you’ve never attended a Midyear Meeting before, there’s no better time! Visit our registration page to sign up today.

**All Sessions will take place in Central Time Zone. Zoom links will be emailed to you prior to the start of each program.

Disaster Services Corporation

Winter Storm Update From Disaster Services Corporation

Winter Storm Update From Disaster Services Corporation 2000 1600 SVDP USA

The Disaster Services Corporation, St Vincent de Paul USA (DSC, SVdP-USA) is providing support to Councils and Conferences in the areas impacted by Winter Storms Uri and Viola. DSC is working closely with the State of Texas and Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). Additionally, we are working in coordination with the National SVdP Office to provide Rapid Response Grants to cover the costs of rent, food, pipe repairs, hotel stays, etc. Lastly, DSC, SVdP-USA is also monitoring and supporting Vincentians in Oklahoma and Louisiana. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families without water and power.

To help support the work of DSC in this winter storm season, visit Disaster Services Corp., St Vincent de Paul-USA  and choose “Where It Is Needed Most.”

Here’s What You Need to Know

  • As power begins to return, many Texans are now without drinking water.
  • Most power is back, but 500,000 Texas homes and businesses are still in the dark.
  • The latest storm is knocking out power in Mississippi, Kentucky, and elsewhere.
  • Several inches of snow are expected in the New York area, as vaccine shipments are delayed.
  • 31 people have died across the country due to the winter storms.

Recap From the News

The winter storms and colder weather may persist in the Great Plains and Mississippi Valley through midweek, and a new winter storm is expected to sweep across the South and East over the next two days. More than 100 million Americans are under some type of winter weather warning.

As Texas struggles to restore power to millions of residents affected by the brutal winter weather, officials are now scrambling to provide clean water as well. Cities and counties across the state, including Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, have issued boil water notices stemming from concerns about contamination and low water pressure as frigid temperatures freeze pipes, leaving some households with little to no running water.

As of Wednesday, nearly seven million Texans were under a boil water advisory, and about 263,000 people were affected by nonfunctioning water providers, Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said at a news conference. During a news conference on Wednesday, W. Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, said facilities were reporting broken water mains, lack of running water, oxygen shortages and other problems.

Texas wasn’t the only state contending with power issues. Other states where outages numbered in the tens of thousands included Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio and Oregon, according to poweroutage.us, a utility tracking site.

While some facilities can provide heat during the blackouts, others are relying completely on generators and cannot provide any heat. With another storm on its way to Texas, temperatures are expected to remain below freezing until Saturday.

Winter’s brutal assault continued Wednesday night as another snowstorm roared its way across the nation through the end of the week, hitting areas where millions were already without electricity in record-breaking cold.

More than 100 million Americans are in the path of the storm as it tracks from the southern Plains to the East Coast over the next few days, the National Weather Service said. But the nation’s heartland will get some relief over the weekend, the weather service reported, as the frigid air will begin to moderate over the next couple days.

But first, much of Texas and the Southeast will have to endure heavy snowfall and “ice accumulations of a light glaze to a few hundredths of an inch” through Thursday. Heavy snow is forecast to move work its way as far north as southern New England on Thursday.

The next winter storm will bring more snow and ice and “just a real mess” to many areas of the country, including the South, Midwest and Northeast, AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno said. As the storm advances to the northeast through Friday, snow is forecast to fall along a 2,000-mile-long swath from northwestern and north-central Texas to northern Maine, AccuWeather said. Freezing rain and sleet will occur to the south and east of the snow zone, extending from central Texas to southeastern New York state.

Ice accumulations of a quarter to as much as three-quarters of an inch are forecast in some areas. “In the areas that contend with these devastating ice accumulations, residents can expect dangerous travel conditions, numerous power outages and extensive tree damage,” the weather service said.

FEMA Update Region VI – TX

  • 15 non-American Red Cross shelters open with 1,068 occupants
  • 34 congregate shelters open with 1,140 occupants
  • 10 non-congregate; 134 warming shelters open
  • Total of 200 warming shelters throughout the state: www.tedem.texas.gov/warm/
  • Boil Water Notices in effect for 40 counties; boil water notices are not for the entire county, only certain public water systems within these counties
  • 729k liters of water, 10.9k wool blankets, 50k cotton blankets, 225k meals staged at DC Fort Worth (TX Consolidated Staging Area)
  • 1 million (-2 million) customers (9%) without power
  • Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) energy conservation plan continues with rotating outages due to high demand exceeding available generation capacity generation resources are strained due to cold weather tripping units, natural gas supply curtailments, and wind power generation outage
  • I-35W in Fort Worth remains closed causing detours and traffic delays
  • TX EOC at Partial Activation (COVID), working 24/7 operations this week for winter weather; Governor declared a state of emergency and requested an Emergency Declaration; approved Feb 14

Who to Follow

What to Download

Stay informed: Download the FEMA App to receive real-time weather alerts, safety tips, and sheltering information.

How to Help

Donate to support Disaster Services Corp., St Vincent de Paul-USA  and choose “Where It Is Needed Most.”

 

Disaster Services Volunteer Training

Disaster Services Volunteer Training 940 788 SVDP USA

The Disaster Services Corporation provides person-to-person recovery services to families impacted by man-made and natural disasters across the United States and U.S. territories.

Please join DSC CEO Elizabeth Disco-Shearer for a special volunteer training opportunity this Thursday, January 28, from 12:00 – 1:12 PM Central, on learning to protect the Personal Identifiable Information of Disaster Survivors.

Topics Include 
  •    Understanding your responsibility as a volunteer
  •     Learning about the Privacy Act
  •    Gaining knowledge on how to safely transmit data
  •     Reviewing DSC’s requirements for protecting the data of survivors.

Participants should register in advance by clicking here.

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