VOAD

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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