ST. LOUIS, Dec. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- As government statistics reflect a rising poverty rate -- from around 13 percent in 2008 to more than 14 percent in 2009 -- the nonprofit Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) is seeing that need first-hand in the people served by the organization.
"We provide a wide range of services for the poor and needy, and we're seeing a dramatic increase in demand for basics like food, clothing, shelter and medicine," said Joe Flannigan, the organization's national president. "I've been a volunteer for the Society for almost 20 years, and I've seen a few economic downturns in my time, but this one seems to have hurt not only those at the margins but also people who've never had to seek help before. Worst of all, the ones who are hurt most are children. We see how hard it is on their parents when they can't provide basic necessities for them, much less gifts, during the holidays."
One of the oldest charitable organizations in the world, SVdP is a Catholic lay organization of more than 690,000 men and women throughout the world who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually and offer person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 142 countries on six continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals more than 146,000 in 4,600 communities. Programs include home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, clothing, transportation and utility costs, care for the elderly and medicine. SVdP serves over 14 million people in need each year, performs more than 644,000 visits to people in their homes, and delivers more than seven million service hours to those in need.
"Our motto is 'no work of charity is foreign to the Society,'" said Roger Playwin, SVdP's national executive director. "We hope people can take that to heart, at least during the holidays, and donate so we can help people who are struggling at a time of the year when they should be celebrating."
For donations and volunteer needs, log on to http://www.svdpusa.org.
SOURCE Society of St. Vincent de Paul