Society of St. Vincent de Paul Provides HOPE to Disaster Victims

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When the next disaster strikes, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will offer HOPE, a 42-foot-long, state-of-the-art mobile feeding kitchen. HOPE will make its official debut at the Society’s Annual Meeting in Indianapolis August 30-September 2, 2006 and be deployed to the Gulf Coast immediately thereafter to serve persons suffering the lingering effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Whether it’s a fire, a hurricane, an earthquake, or a flood, when the next disaster strikes, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will offer HOPE.

HOPE, which stands for Help Our People Eat, is a 42-foot-long, state-of-the-art mobile feeding kitchen that the Society has added to its arsenal of charitable projects. Donated by Bear Creek Country Kitchens, a leading manufacturer of dry soup mixes and other products, HOPE will make its official debut at the Society’s Annual Meeting in Indianapolis August 30-September 2, 2006 and be deployed to the Gulf Coast immediately thereafter to serve persons suffering the lingering effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Bishop John M. Quinn of Detroit, the Society’s new episcopal advisor, will christen the HOPE vehicle in a midday ceremony outside the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown on Thursday, August 31st.

Mobile feeding services – the provision of meals and distribution of water, ice, and recovery supplies – are among the most valued assistance provided in the wake of a disaster. With a full stainless steel kitchen complete with grill, soup preparation stations, sinks, washers, and food-service windows, HOPE can reach any destination in the continental United States and feed 10,000 people per day there when it arrives. It can operate on its own generator and carries a full complement of mass-care feeding needs: water, juice, sandwiches, soup, coffee, etc. HOPE can also act as a distribution center for essential personal care needs, such as toothbrushes and shaving kits.

HOPE will operate under statements of understanding with FEMA, the American Red Cross, and other disaster-relief/mass-care agencies. Rolling into disaster-affected communities, HOPE can function in a stand-alone mode, or be connected to community water and electrical systems. With the addition of telecommunications, computer, and satellite connections, HOPE can also serve as a mobile office for emergency services, the initiation of case work, and the coordination of other disaster relief organizations.

In non-disaster times, HOPE will be a traveling resource center for an ongoing Disaster Planning and Awareness Campaign. Stocked with authoritative print and audiovisual materials from experts in the field, HOPE will tour the country raising awareness among the Society’s membership and the general public about the need for disaster planning and the steps to be taken when a disaster occurs.

HOPE’s eye-grabbing design was created, and donated, by Ria Duplantier of R&R Creative in St. Charles, Missouri. Ria is the daughter of Bob Duplantier, the Society’s national director of membership and technology services. The design was applied, at discounted rates, by Craftsmen Industries, also in St. Charles, Missouri. Craftsmen President Joe Helmsing is a longtime Vincentian.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is seeking sponsors to offset the cost of outfitting and maintaining HOPE. Interested parties should contact the Society at 314-576-3993.

The largest lay Catholic organization in the world, operating in 135 countries, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is best known for its thrift stores and food pantries, and for the personal visits of its members to the homes of the poor and needy. Established in France in 1833 by a college student named Frederic Ozanam, the Society began its existence in the United States 12 years later, in 1845, in St. Louis.

View/download photos at http://www.svdpusa.org/Portals/0/HOPE%20Debut.doc

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Bob Duplantier
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