ST. LOUIS, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Elaine Holmes of Pensacola, Fla., was elated a few months ago when she received an unexpected check in the mail for $960. Holmes, who serves as the executive director for the Pensacola Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP), couldn't believe it, so she called the Society's national office in St. Louis, Mo.
"I called to make sure it was for real," said Holmes.
The check was the result of a car donated in the Pensacola area to the SVdP's National Vehicle Donation Program (http://www.svdpusacars.com). Since the program was rolled out in September 2010, more than 500 cars have been donated to the program, generating more than $350,000 for the organization in Pensacola and 117 other SVdP chapters around the United States that have signed up to participate. The funds are being used to provide critical items for people in need, including food, shelter and medicine.
Unlike similar vehicle donation programs operated by other nonprofit organizations, the Society's program offers a critical difference.
"With some programs, you're never sure where the money is going or what it's going to be used for," said Joe Flannigan, national president of the Society. "Under ours, the zip code entered by the donor directs the vehicle, or the money derived from it, to the SVdP location associated with that zip code. In short, the donation makes life better for someone right in the donor's community."
A recent survey of donors indicated a 91 percent satisfaction with the program. And, of people who were involved in the National Vehicle Donation website, the program was ranked at 96 percent "agreeable to recommend their experience."
"The vendor managing the program told us that it has never seen numbers that high in any survey of any other charity," said Flannigan.
Roger Playwin, national executive director for the National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, said that the most important aspect of the program is what the donated vehicles mean to the people served by SVdP.
"The average car donated to us generates more than $500 in net proceeds," Playwin said. "Just to give a few examples, that $500 can mean a month's rent for a family, two years of generic drugs for an elderly person, or nutrition for an infant for four months."
One of the oldest and most effective charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (http://www.svdpusa.org) 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 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 146,000 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 $572 million in tangible and in-kind services, SVdP serves more than 14 million people in need each year, performs more than 644,000 visits to people in their homes, and delivers more than 7 million service hours to those in need.
For more information:
Charles B. Henderson
(314) 576-3993, ext. 214 (office)
(314) 623-6505 (mobile)
SOURCE Society of St. Vincent de Paul