Any parent knows that time is elastic. The days can be long, but the years fly by quickly. The moments in emergency rooms are like eternity, and the joyous celebrations of graduations, birthday parties, and weddings go by so quickly. Such is life for all of us.
Our daily lives are also so full of work, family, and personal obligations as well that it is easy to forget about events that take place more than a few miles away from our routines. If it isn’t a part of our life today, then out of sight, out of mind.
It’s only been a few weeks, but the hurricane and affiliated storms and surges in Florida and the Carolinas are largely out of the news cycles except in the immediate areas. While local residents in Missouri, Kentucky, California, Texas, and elsewhere are still reeling from major disasters this past year, many of us have moved on.
Yet while both time and distance can hamper our personal ability to remember and to respond to tragedy, God provides nonetheless through the collective care and organization of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. We are blessed to be a part of this long-term approach to provide for the victims of disasters through the Society’s Disaster Services Corporation, our international Society, and through the cooperation of our National Council and local Councils and Conferences throughout the United States.
When you donate to the annual Disaster Relief Campaign, currently underway, you provide funds that will be available to help all year for both large and small disasters, many of which never make it into the news. Local Conferences and Councils can apply to the USA National Council for disaster grants to help their neighbors, while preserving their traditional funds for the usual Home Visit needs.
The Disaster Services Corporation (DSC), a subsidiary of our National Council and recipient of some of the campaign’s funds, provides disaster preparedness and response skills training for Vincentians nationwide. As a member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD), DSC also responds to major disasters nationwide to provide for long-term disaster relief and is in place weeks and even months after a disaster to help neighbors rebuild their lives. Your contributions help pay for the infrastructure costs that often are not reimbursed by FEMA and other federal or other grant funds for DSC’s work, and which are needed between the specific disasters when things quiet down just a little, but the work goes on.
Your contributions to the Disaster Relief Campaign help internationally, too. When a major disaster such as a typhoon, earthquake, or fire strikes another country, especially in a poor nation, the Society’s International Council is asked for assistance from the local National Council. An established international fund helps year-round when needed instead of trying to raise funds when the disasters hit.
All in all, then, this single annual appeal recognizes our human nature to tend not to keep track of events, even major ones, that are far away, and after weeks or months go by. Our Vincentian hearts care even if our minds sometimes forget. This appeal helps us to plan ahead for the inevitable disasters, and to have funds ready to help our fellow Vincentians to serve our neighbors.
Your giving today says that just as Vincentians know that God is always with us, our beloved Society is with us as well, in good times and in bad times, ready to help. Just reach out, we are standing by, prepared with financial resources to help your local Vincentians in support of your neighbors in need to rebuild their lives after major disruptions, even if it takes weeks or months. We will continue to be the Face of Christ along with you, and we have prepared for this moment to help you just as the Lord has always been at your side.
If your community has not been hit by floods, fire, earthquakes, major storms or other disasters, say a prayer of thanksgiving. By the grace of God, it wasn’t your turn. Please help others whose turn has come, or whose turn may be next, by giving on your own and with your Conference and Council to the Disaster Relief Campaign.
Yours in Christ,
P.S. – Please send appeal gifts to the National Council SVDPUSA to “Disaster Relief Campaign.” Please DO NOT include the names of states, countries or individual disasters. If you would like to give online, click here.