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Opinion: Community support made it possible to help many during COVID-19
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Thanks to very generous community support, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been able to aid almost 3,000 people suffering from the effects of COVID-19. During this nine month period, that is more than double the number of families helped in the entire year before the virus appeared, and with twice as much aid.

Financial support has come in the form of grants and donations: two COVID Relief Grants from North Georgia Community Foundation (April and December) and the SVdP Council of Atlanta, annual grants from United Way and Jackson EMC plus several grants from the Cresswind Community Foundation. Monetary donations from the parishioners at St. Michael Catholic Church and individuals in the community have also increased significantly during this period.

Many groups have offered “in kind” help as well. “In Kind” donations including food, clothing, furniture, cars, appliances and household goods valued at over $400,000 were distributed between March and December. 

Georgia Mountain Food Bank provided fresh produce and MRE’s during the first “Open Air” Freebie Day last summer. The employees of IMS Gear Georgia donated their Thanksgiving hams and turkeys for SVdP to distribute to the needy. The Knights of Columbus donated Christmas gift cards for seniors in need. Georgia Power gave shopping bags with light bulbs to distribute at the annual Christmas party held for St. Vincent clients. Through partnerships with Toys for Tots and the St. Michael Youth Group they were able to provide toys for over 200 children, plus fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, electric heaters, gloves and winter coats to families in need. JacksonEMC adopted two families and paid three electricity bills. 

The SVdP Conference at St. Michael Catholic Church in Gainesville, was founded in 1978. Its volunteers meet with and provide assistance to the needy in Gainesville, Oakwood, Murrayville, Clermont, Lula and surrounding rural areas in Hall County.

Jack and Joanne Capies, co-presidents

Society of St. Vincent de Paul

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