John Berry, CEO and Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul Atlanta Council would like you to join him and Bill Bolling, President Atlanta Community Food Bank; Joe Krygiel, CEO of Catholic Charities Atlanta; Major Jim Seiler, Metro Atlanta Area Commander Salvation Army; and Milton Little, President of United Way of Greater Atlanta during the Grand Opening of the newest Family Support Center.
All are invited to the dedication and blessing by Archbishop Wilton Gregory, 11 a.m., Tuesday April 27, at 951 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., SW Atlanta, near St. Anthony Catholic Church.
“Through these tough economic times St. Vincent de Paul is committed to establishing new opportunities to move food to people who need it the most,” said John Berry, CEO and Executive Director of SVdP Atlanta Council. “No one should have to choose between having water, heat and light for their home and putting food on the table.”
According to Berry, The West End Family Support center is overseen by the SVdP Conference Support Center in Atlanta and will be operated as a collaborative effort of three SVdP conferences in the area; those located at St. Anthony, Our Lady of Lourdes, and St. Paul of the Cross. These local SVdP Conferences and partnering agencies will provide a wide variety of services, making it easier for individuals and families in need to get the most information and service in one place. These services fall into three categories: education, benefits and nutrition.
Visitors, or those referred to the FSC, are interviewed to assess their situation and determine how the FSC can best respond. The FSC’s goal is to provide long-lasting solutions that will help clients move beyond their current crisis or continuous cycle. A primary focus of the Support Center is to provide food. After the initial interview, clients are invited to shop in the Client-Choice Food Pantry with a volunteer’s help and obtain food that is determined by a “point system” that uses a formula based on the number of adults and children in the family, spread across the food groups of the USDA Food Pyramid Guidelines.
Food is selected by the clients based on the results of the “point system” calculation. Because the food is organized and color coded according to the USDA Food Pyramid, clients are able to select foods they like from among all the choices in the Food Pyramid Categories. Having some choices in what foods they will take home, shows respect for the clients and helps them to retain dignity.
In order to help clients keep as much of their monthly funds as possible, the FSC screens individuals for government or community benefits, determines eligibility, and advances the application more quickly through the process. Once qualified, the new benefits allow clients’ money to be used for other budgetary needs.
According to the newest data from Feeding America’s report, Hunger in America 2010, 54 percent of surveyed clients reported choosing between paying for food and paying for utilities. Nearly 55 percent of the people who seek help with food assistance pay other bills rather than buy food. Also, 40 percent of the members of households served are children under the age of 18, and 13 percent of the members of client households are elderly. Some 38 percent choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage; 45 percent choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care, and 42 percent choose between paying for food and paying for transportation.
SVdP works to ensure that individuals and families have access to nutritious food by securing donations from a variety of sources. The food goes right back into the community where it is needed the most.
Since 1903, SVdP has continuously developed centers to support the growing number of people living at or near the poverty line in Georgia. With food requests up 100 percent over this time last year and an unemployment rate that has just topped 10 percent, SVdP is responding to the ever-increasing needs.
To donate, food, funds or to volunteer contact Director of Support Programs Jim Verrecchia at 678-892-6175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.