Society of St. Vincent de Paul Oversees West, Texas, Disaster Response by Catholic Organizations

FORT WORTH, Texas, April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- At the request of Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of the Diocese of Austin, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP), one of the largest charitable organizations in the United States, is overseeing the state-wide response by Catholic organizations to provide relief to victims of the April 17 explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas.  SVdP is coordinating efforts with the Diocese of Austin, the Society's Council of Austin, SVdP's thrift stores in central Texas, Catholic Charities of Central Texas, as well as the Texas office of Volunteers Active in Disasters (VOAD), and federal, state and local governments.

Monetary donations for the SVdP's relief efforts can be made online at  (Be sure to check the 'Domestic Disaster Relief' box.) In addition, the Society's thrift stores in Austin are accepting in-kind donations.  Inquiries about in-kind donations can be directed to:

Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, national associate executive director for the Society's south central region, which encompasses Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas, said the organization's experience in providing help to disaster victims was honed in response to a number of incidents, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as floods, tornadoes and wildfires in Texas and Oklahoma.

"Our approach is holistic," said Disco-Shearer.  "We provide disaster case management that is personal and systemic.  We meet one-on-one with victims to do a complete assessment of their situation and their needs, and we stay with them until those needs are met.  That approach greatly enhances outcomes and long-term stability for survivors."

The organization's approach to disaster relief and recovery was recognized in 2012 when the National Volunteer Organizations in Disaster (VOAD) named the Society of St. Vincent de Paul its "Member of the Year."  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. 

One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of more than 700,000 men and women throughout the world who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 149 countries on five continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals more than 141,000 in 4,300 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 sick, the incarcerated and the elderly, and medical care.  Last year, SVdP made more than 1.5 million visits (homes, hospitals and prisons), served almost 10 million people, and provided more than $660 million in tangible and in-kind services.

Media inquiries only:
Elizabeth Disco-Shearer 
Mobile: (214) 717-1802 

Charles B. Henderson 
Mobile: (314) 623-6505 

This press release was issued through eReleases® Press Release Distribution. For more information, visit

SOURCE St. Vincent de Paul


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