DADE CITY, Fla. ? People in need and re-entering citizens in the Dade City area will receive much-needed assistance thanks to a $5,000 grant from the National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The money is part of SVdP’s Friends of the Poor® Grant Program and will be disbursed by the St. Rita Conference.
“The grant will be used to provide rent and utility assistance for our friends in need and re-entry services for inmates reaching the end of their sentence at Zephyrhills Correctional Institution,” said Raymond Pawlicki, a member of the St. Rita Conference. “Since our Conference went from using a financial assistance office to all home visits, our expenditure for emergency financial assistance has increased. We have had to reduce the amount of assistance to each family. This grant will help us maintain our former level of support. The ‘Getting Ahead While Getting Out’ program is an 11-week course in which the inmates investigate their support systems and construct three plans for their future. The grant will help cover the cost of the class for returning citizens.”
The St. Rita Conference is part of the Society’s Pasco County Council and it was founded in 2013. The Conference serves three migrant camps, and their Prison Ministry Support Area includes the Zephyrhills Correctional Institute, a men’s state prison. In 2017, the St. Rita Conference helped nearly 5,000 people.
This grant was one of 16 distributed through the program around the country. Grant applications are evaluated and awarded quarterly on a regional basis by a Vincentian review committee. Funding is provided by the general public and the Society’s members and is targeted to specific needs in each community.
“We are pleased to be able to assist local Conferences as they work to help those in need,” said Dave Barringer, CEO of SVdP. “Our local Conferences are a great example of how a dedicated group of people can make a difference in alleviating suffering.”
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 1.7 million personal visits (homes, hospitals, prisons and eldercare facilities) and helped more than 20.9 million people regardless of race, religion or national origin.