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SVDP learns about disaster services


Pictured from left to right: Carol Chase, Larry Fanucchi (behind Carol Chase), Leslie Duplan, Eileen Buterra, Jim Butler, Mary Tumilowicz, and Elizabeth Disco-Shearer.

St. Vincent De Paul has a Disaster Services Division. On May 22, the COO Elizabeth Disco-Shearer came and spoke about disaster preparedness, and the services they offer at St Malachy's Church. In attendance were St Vincent de Paul members, the Tehachapi CERT team, and The Legion Riders from Post 711 at Lake Isabella.

Ms. Disco -Shearer explained that, at the present time, the National organization is working on recovery efforts for 31 disasters around the nation. From tornadoes and hurricanes to flooding and wildfires, members of her staff are on site offering services. They have also helped those affected by terrorism, as seen in the West, TX fertilizer incident. The teams are there to provide rapid response teams, long term recovery needs, case management and economic recovery for each community. She explains, if you rebuild homes and offer no businesses help, the city won't last.

The SVDP disaster groups partner with VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active In Disaster) whose members include Red Cross, Salvation Army, and others to coordinate recovery and make sure resources are not duplicated. They also work with city officials and government agencies in the recovery efforts. Each disaster takes a minimum of 2 years for recovery, and Hurricane Katrina took the agencies 10 years.

Victims of the last year's Erskine Fire, for example, are just beginning to get into their new homes. While they have a ways to go, SVD will give grants up to $20,000 for those who are uninsured, under-insured, and for those who cannot qualify for other types of funding. As Ms. Disco -Shearer says, they treat the "human condition". In the case of total home loss, SVDP has a program called "Home in a Box" which will deliver to disaster victims everything they need to set up a new home. Not only do they offer monetary assistance and personnel but, as part of the recovery process, they also offer counseling services.

Ms. Disco -Shearer said also, that while many of us will want to help, going through our closets, and picking out our old used clothing is not a solution. While we all mean well, excess clothing can become a logistical nightmare, especially when truckloads arrive. Not only do the items need to be placed somewhere, they need to be sanitized too. She suggests, gift cards to local businesses, at affected areas .

For more information about the St. Vincent de Paul Disaster Services Division, please check out


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