ST. LOUIS – Survivors of Hurricane Sandy who are struggling to put their lives back together are getting a huge boost, thanks to a generous grant of more than $1.2 million from the American Red Cross to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) for the Society's House in a Box™ program.
House in a Box supplies survivors with critical items to furnish an entire home: furniture, dishes, towels, food, toiletries and clothing -- everything from the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom. During Hurricane Katrina alone, SVdP provided some 15,000 House in a Box setups. Introduced by SVdP's Diocesan Council of Dallas, Texas, to assist survivors of Hurricane Katrina, the program was refined during the Texas wildfires of 2011.
The Red Cross grant will enable SVdP to provide House in a Box setups for some 1,000 households affected by Hurricane Sandy across seven states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Working with other voluntary organizations and community long-term recovery groups, SVdP uses a needs-based methodology to supply the setups.
Currently, the Society is using House in a Box to supply survivors of the plant explosion in West, Texas, and is getting ready to launch the program for survivors of the Oklahoma tornadoes.
"The number of natural disasters throughout the country in the last several years has been unprecedented," said Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, associate national executive director for SVdP's south central region and a member of the organization's disaster committee. "In the wake of all those disasters, the number of people who need help has grown tremendously, challenging our resources, so this grant couldn't have come at a better time. The American Red Cross has been an effective collaborator, and we're very grateful for the extra funds."
"Sandy is the largest U.S relief operation in more than five years, and thanks to the public's generous support, the Red Cross has provided millions of meals, snacks and relief supplies, shelter and comfort to Sandy survivors -- and additionally we are pleased to be able to support our disaster relief partners in their efforts to serve the impacted communities," said Gregg O'Ryon, vice president of program development for the Red Cross. "We know that recovery from disasters such as Sandy is a marathon, not a sprint, and programs such as the House in a Box by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are vital in helping people recover and rebuild their lives."
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul's success in disaster relief and recovery was recognized in 2012 when the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) named SVdP its "Member of the Year." The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Texas Department of Emergency Management nominated the Society for the honor.
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 more than 770,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 149 countries on five continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals more than 148,000 in 4,300 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 sick, the incarcerated and the elderly, and prescription medicine. Last year, SVdP provided more than $755 million in tangible and in-kind services, made more than 1.6 million person-to-person visits (homes, hospitals and prisons), and helped almost 15 million people regardless of race, religion or national origin.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.