From the war torn provinces of 17th century France in the brutal Wars of Religion (echoed today?) to the devastation of 21st century hurricanes, Vincent and Vincentians illustrate a rich heritage of providing war relief and disaster relief.
In his correspondence Vincent details at length his efforts to relieve the sufferings of the people caught up in the maelstrom of war. During the first half of the seventeenth century the Thirty Years War ravaged Europe especially in the province of Lorraine. Vincent’s relief work could well have earned him the title of “Apostle of War Relief.”
That tradition of relief in times of disaster continues today. In the context of Hurricane Matthew Dave Barringer, CEO of the Society St. Vincent dePaul writes…
Our Disaster Services Division as part of National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD) will assess the immediate and long-term needs for people in the affected areas.
Please keep in mind that the Society’s role is in long-term disaster recovery and that we are not a first-responder agency. We suggest that if your parish wants to help, please let them know that the Society will be working in the affected areas for weeks and months after the storm to help families replace belongings, homes and other aspects of their lives. Prayers and funds will be most welcome.
Donations for this storm and/or for the general Domestic Disaster Fund can be sent directly, or through the local SVdP Conference or Council, to the Society’s National Office.
Also, we are trying to contact the four schools in Haiti, where we provide scholarships for more than 800 primary school students, to find out how they have been impacted by Matthew. We are not appealing for special disaster funds for Haiti at this time, but we will accept them and forward them to the schools and/or to local Haiti Vincentian officials to help as needed.
SVdP’s House in a Box® program and Disaster Case Management fills in the void left after the cameras and the news agencies have gone. The House in a Box program supplies disaster survivors with critical items to furnish an entire home from the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom, including furniture, dishes, towels, pots and pans, utensils, and bed linens. These are the programs that provide individuals with the hope they need for a fresh start on their lives. ($1,850 will provide the House in a Box to a family of four).
The SVdPUSA Disaster Services Division has begun training local Vincentians to assist flood victims with registering for the following federal programs: FEMA, SBA and the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP).
Other Disaster Needs Across the Country: FEMA has issued 29 disaster declarations since January 4, 2016. The following states have been affected:
- Mississippi (storms and flooding),
- Washington (storms, flooding, landslides, tornado),
- Missouri (storm, tornadoes, winds and flooding),
- Alabama (storms, tornadoes, winds, flooding),
- Idaho (storm),
- Arkansas (storms, tornadoes, winds),
- Texas (flooding, tornadoes, flooding),
- Kansas (flooding)
- Oklahoma (storms and flooding),
- Alaska (storm),
- Oregon (storms, winds, flooding landslides mudslides),
- Virginia(winter storm),
- Montana (tornado),
- West Virginia (storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides),
- Wisconsin (flooding) and
- Northern and Southern California (wildfires)
What happens when the news cameras go away? Members of the Vincentian Family, especially members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society remain.