Society of St. Vincent de Paul Named VOAD "Member of the Year"
FORT WORTH, Texas, June 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) has recognized the nonprofit Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) as "Member of the Year." SVdP, whose mission is focused on the needy and those living in poverty, was recognized by the National VOAD for the wide range of recovery and remediation services that the Society has provided to victims of the Texas wildfires, as well as help to victims of hurricanes and tornadoes.
In the last year-and-a-half alone, SVdP provided intake and referral for more than 20,000 families in Texas and Oklahoma alone. Bastrop, Texas, was especially hard hit, with more than 34,000 acres consumed by fire.
The recognition was based on SVdP's demonstrated commitment to VOAD's four principles: cooperation, communications, coordination and collaboration. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Texas Department of Emergency Management nominated the Society for the award.
Anna Tangredi, State Voluntary Agency Liaison for the Department of Public Safety of the Texas Division of Emergency Management/Recovery Section, called SVdP's staff and volunteers in the organization's South Central Region "a consistent guiding presence," and said, "Before the disaster recovery center was even opened or operational, SVdP was doing case management intakes and referrals all in 105 degree heat. They said they wouldn't leave until everyone was safe and had a place to stay."
Jamie Dake, Voluntary Agency Liaison for FEMA, said, "SVdP representatives have been tireless in serving disaster survivors. In addition, they've been outstanding partners and have helped strengthen VOADs at the state and local levels, which builds capacity and makes communities more resilient."
One of SVdP's programs cited in the nomination is "House in a Box," created by the South Central Region office. Introduced after Hurricane Katrina and refined during the Texas wildfires, the program supplied survivors with critical items to furnish an entire home, from the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom. The items included furniture, dishes, towels, food and clothing. To date, SVdP's South Central Region office has provided some 500 "houses in a box" for disaster victims and their families.
"This award is a reflection of the hard, selfless work that has been done by the incredibly talented and hard-working staff and volunteers whom we've been blessed to work with," said Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, National Associate Executive Director of the Society's South Central Region office in Fort Worth. "The extent and scope of natural disasters in the last several years have challenged our resources and, unfortunately, the downturn in the economy has made the struggles of the people we serve even worse. We hope that this recognition will encourage more people to understand and support the work we do to help those in need."
VOAD was founded in 1970 in response to the challenges that many disaster organizations experienced following Hurricane Camille, which hit the Gulf Coast in August 1969. Today, VOAD is the leader and the "voice" for those nonprofit organizations and volunteers who work in all phases of disaster: preparedness, response, relief, recovery and mitigation. National VOAD is the primary point of contact for voluntary organizations in the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters, and is a signatory to the National Response Plan.
One of the largest social assistance organization in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (www.svdpusa.org) is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of approximately 700,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually and offer person-to-person service to the needy and people living in poverty in 142 countries on five continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals more than 172,000 in 4,600 communities. Programs include home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, transportation and utility costs, care for the elderly and medicine. Providing more than $595 million in tangible and in-kind services, SVdP serves more than 14 million people in need each year, performs more than 648,000 visits to people in their homes, and delivers more than 7 million service hours to those in need, regardless of race, religion or national origin.
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