DSC

Disaster Services Update on Hurricane Ian

Disaster Services Update on Hurricane Ian 1640 924 SVDP USA

Disaster Services Corporation is actively monitoring Hurricane Ian and its anticipated impact on the state of Florida. We are coordinating with SVdP Council and Conference leadership as well as with the National Council. DSC has sent Rapid Response Grant applications to Council leadership pre-landfall to ensure that funding is available immediately.

As the storm makes landfall, we ask the Vincentian community to keep those in its path in their thoughts and prayers.

We have received several inquiries on how the Vincentian community can help; as soon as we have more information on needs and opportunities to assist, we will post those updates on our website and our social media accounts. We are on calls with FEMA and are monitoring the potential impact of Hurricane Ian.

Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of St. Petersburg invited all in the dioceses throughout to pray to God “for the protection of life and property as we face this serious threat. As Hurricane Ian approaches our area, as we make our final preparations, and as we begin to feel the effects of the storm, I invite you to pray with me.”

As of this morning, the National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will make landfall as a Hurricane 4, slightly weakening as it makes its way across the state. Hurricane Ian is a slow-moving system, which increases the damage and devastation to the communities in its path, producing severe floods and tornado outbreaks.

As we know, storms have the potential to increase and change course. For those being affected by this storm we remind you to seek shelter and await guidance from local officials before making any further action.

Survivors with internet access can contact DSC directly at their website, or via Facebook.

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

Disaster Services Update

Disaster Services Update 940 788 SVDP USA

Besides responding to natural and manmade disasters, the role of Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) is to educate SVdP Councils and Conferences about different types of severe weather. Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high temperatures kill hundreds of people every year. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet more than 700 people die from extreme heat every year in the United States and more than 7,000 are hospitalized due to heat-related illnesses.

Those who are at highest risk include, people 65 and older, children younger than two, and people with chronic diseases or mental illness.

Closely monitor people who depend on you for their care and ask these questions:

  • Are they drinking enough water?
  • Do they have access to air conditioning?
  • Do they need help keeping cool?

People at greatest risk for heat-related illness can take the following protective actions to prevent illness or death:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can. Air-conditioning is the number one way to protect yourself against heat-related illness and death. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned and using air conditioning in vehicles. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling device during an extreme heat event.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather:

  • Limit your outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest.
  • Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package.
  • Pace your activity. Start activities slow and pick up the pace gradually.

Is your Council or Conference looking to assist families that have been impacted by a Hurricane? Contact us and see how you can help.

Please follow us at:
www.svdpdisaster.org
Twitter @svdpusadisaster
Facebook @DisasterServicesCorp.

 

Disaster Services Update

Disaster Services Update 940 788 SVDP USA

DSC SVDP-USA is elected to top leadership positions with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

 The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD), is an association of organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters, provides a forum promoting cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration; and fosters more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster across the United States and American Territories. The NVOAD movement has been making an impact across the country for over 50 years. DSC is also a founding member of National VOAD.

The hard work of NVOAD’s members and volunteers, is reflected in the impact that was made last year:

  1. 9,907,071 – Volunteers
  2. 48,129,263 – Volunteer Hours
  3. $1.3 BILLION – Value of Volunteer Hours

These appointments not only allow DSC to have a pivotal role in recovery nationwide but illustrates the trust and faith other partner organizations in NVOAD have in Disaster Services Corporation’s team and its work.

This year DSC core management members are so honored to be elected to the following top leadership positions with NVOAD:

Kevin Peach- Chair of the Advocacy Committee- group advocates to Congress to change unjust systems that impact survivors. Networks with local, state, and federal policy makers.

Anthony Pluchino- Chair of the Disaster Case Management Committee– sets policy standards for the nation and points on consensus on the best practices for Disaster Case Management Programs across the country. In addition, Mr. Pluchino will network with FEMA and Emergency Management across the nation.

Elizabeth Disco-Shearer- Chairperson of the Board for NVOAD– first time a Catholic is in this role in its 50+ year history and only the second time a woman has been in this role. The Chair oversees a diverse Board of Directors representing all the major disaster nonprofits in the nation and state and territory representatives. FEMA and the White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives leadership also serve as ex-officio members of this Board.

05-19-2022 Disaster Services Update

05-19-2022 Disaster Services Update 836 627 SVDP USA

SVdP-USA Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) has deployed a Rapid Response Team this week to respond to the wildfires that are aggressively spreading across New Mexico. The fires have burned more than 468 square miles over the last 42 days to earn the distinction of being the largest fire in the arid state’s recorded history. It’s also the largest fire currently burning in the U.S.

Gov. Michelle Grisham estimates that at least 1,500 homes have been destroyed. Residents are staying in mass care shelters, hotels, vehicles, and others have been evacuated to northern New Mexico. There are currently three towns on alert who may have to vacate their homes at any given moment.

DSC’s Rapid Response Team is meeting with local Vincentians to train volunteers, document their needs, assess damage, pre-plan DSC’s Parish Recovery Assistance Center (PRAC) deployment, introduce Vincentian leadership to other nonprofits they can work in partnership with, and share best practices in how to handle a disaster while it is still affecting their community.

DSC has been in contact with our collaborating partners, FEMA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, New Mexico VOAD, Catholic Charities, and local government in New Mexico.

One resident described her horrendous experience of putting her three children and pets into her car and just driving for their lives, sleeping in different hotel parking lots, and doing anything they can to survive. Another resident described that he lost his small herd of animals that he depended on for his income and will now likely fall into situational poverty. Lastly, one elderly couple who ended up in a shelter stated, “We need your help, my town is destroyed.”

DSC will be working with SVdP Councils and Conferences in addressing current needs and long-term recovery. Seasoned DSC volunteer and Vincentian, Cathy Garcia, met with one local Vincentian who was actively contacting people who need assistance, as they were packing up their car to evacuate.

How can you help? Please visit the DSC website at www.svdpdisaster.org to support our efforts and prevent more families from falling into situational poverty. DSC will be posting the needs of this community and ways you can help on our website and social media this upcoming 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 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.

 

 

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