Year after year in the United States, disasters have become increasingly more prevalent. The 2017 hurricane season was the most disastrous in our nation’s history, affecting 8% of the U.S. population (25 million people). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supported 59 major disaster declarations and 16 emergency declarations for 17 named storms. While the agency continues to support disasters (700 active disaster supports still in place), the nation cannot look at FEMA as the sole source for response and recovery. Since the inception of FEMA on 1 April 1979 to 2016, $81 billion dollars were expended on disaster events supporting our nation. In contrast, the following two years 2017 and 2018, saw that same amount, $80 billion issued in support.
FEMA Administrator, Brock Long, describes the cost of these disasters, “Essentially, the nation has packed 38 years-worth of Public Assistance into the last two hurricane seasons. Change is necessary.”
The raging wildfires in California is the latest disaster our nation has endured in 2018, devastating communities with estimated damages in the billions, and displacing over a quarter of a million people.
But Americans are resilient. There has been strong support from the private sector, specifically our community-based and faith-based organizations. Disaster response and emergency management are not only the responsibility of government but also every community. As FEMA Administrator, Brock Long, explains “Everyone – whether you are a public servant, a member of a family, or a business that is part of a community – must work together to make this happen, FEMA alone cannot accomplish these goals.”
One organization in particular that has answered the Administrator’s call for action is the Disaster Service Corp (DSC) at St. Vincent De Paul (SVDP). The SVDP-USA DSC is the perfect example of private sector leadership, serving and leveraging the power of Americanism and faith to approach communities impacted by disaster with compassion and competence. The Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) is a Catholic lay organization that helps people in situational poverty as a result of natural and man-made disasters get their lives back in order.
DSC is supporting local, state, and federal agency responses to recent hurricanes and wildfires, and determined the best way to aid local efforts is to focus on immediate and emergent needs. DSC is meeting the needs of these communities by offering up three resources: hygiene kits, coats/hats/gloves, and toys.
Disaster Services Corporation, in partnership with Sourceall Inc., has launched a hygiene kit, hat/coat/glove, and toy drives. The drives are designed to support the immediate needs that we know will emerge for individuals, families and their communities over the weeks and months to come. We hope you will join us in support of these drives or donate to the Disaster Services Corporation directly.
Following the devastating hurricanes in 2018, The Disaster Services Corp., SVDP-USA is leading the way by encouraging those who can to support our Toy and Coat Drive. Given the 80% chance of an El Nino forming this winter, The Disaster Services Corp., SVDP-USA is ensuring no one is without a coat, gloves, and hat to protect against the forecasted cold.
In addition, reports are coming in that well over 500,00 families are unlikely to spend Christmas in their homes, with whatever money they have going towards rebuilding their lives. The Disaster Services Corp., SVDP-USA has undertaken the mission to ensure that all children will have presents to open on Christmas morning, providing hope that 2019 will be a better year than 2018.
Please visit http://bit.ly/2T7q7G2 to donate to the coat drive.
The Disaster Services Corp., SVDP-USA is fueled by Vincentians from around the country, however we also rely on the kindness and giving from monetary donations. To support our efforts please visit our donations page and help us grow our impact in those communities most vulnerable. Our donation page can be found here: http://bit.ly/2Ml1lO4.
About the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (www.svdpusa.org) is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of about 800,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 150 countries on five continents.
With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals nearly 100,000 in 4,400 communities. SVDP offers a variety of programs and services, including home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, education and mentoring, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, assistance with transportation, prescription medication, and rent and utility costs. The Society also works to provide care for the sick, the incarcerated and the elderly. Over the past year, SVDP provided over $1.2 billion in tangible and in-kind services to those in need, made more than 1.8 million personal visits (homes, hospitals, prisons and eldercare facilities) and helped more than 23.8 million people regardless of race, religion or national origin.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Disaster Services is a founding member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and its Disaster Services Corporation provides relief and recovery to disaster survivors across the United States and American Territories.
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