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

Contact: Bob Duplantier, Communications Director, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of the United States, 314-576-3993, ext. 203


DELTONA, Fla., Feb. 10 /Christian Newswire/ -- Victims of last week's tornados in Florida now have HOPE.


HOPE, which stands for Help Our People Eat, is an emergency response vehicle owned by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and operated under statements of understanding with FEMA, the American Red Cross, and other disaster-relief/mass-care agencies.


Called into service by the Society's Orlando Council, the 42-foot-long, state-of-the-art mobile kitchen will feed not only the victims of the tornados, but the relief personnel on hand to help them as well.


"Our hearts go out to the Floridians left homeless by the recent tornados," declares Joe Flannigan, the Society's national president. "We want them to know that we're praying for them, and that our members in Florida and across the country are ready to help in any way we can. In the meantime, maybe HOPE can help lighten their present burden."


Mobile feeding services can be invaluable in the wake of a disaster. Operating on its own generator and carrying a full complement of mass-care items, HOPE can feed up to 10,000 people per day. It can also act as a distribution center for essential personal care needs, such as toothbrushes and shaving kits.


"The good work done by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is one of the best-kept secrets in America," observes the Society's National Executive Director, Roger Playwin. "Our members have helped people in need for more than 160 years. Our person-to-person, grassroots approach allows us to fill the gaps left by other service organizations."


The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is seeking sponsors to offset the cost of outfitting and maintaining HOPE, which was donated to the Society by Bear Creek Country Kitchens, a leading manufacturer of dry soup mixes and other products. 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 Francein 1833 by a college student named Frederic Ozanam, the Society began its existence in the United States12 years later, in 1845, in St. Louis.