“The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Atlanta empowers people, regardless of their background, ethnicity, or faith, to achieve self-sufficiency by offering financial, material, educational, and spiritual support and by collaborating with others to develop and deliver programs and services that help those in need.” Visit www.svdpatl.org.
Started in France by Catholic college student Frederic Ozanam and his friends in 1833, St. Vincent de Paul was established in Atlanta in 1903. “Though the organization works closely with the Catholic Church, it operates an independent 501 (c) (3) organization,” said Terri Medina, director of marketing and communications for St. Vincent de Paul Georgia.
Catholic churches in Cobb County working with St. Vincent de Paul include Holy Family, St. Ann, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Joseph’s, St. Thomas the Apostle and Transfiguration. Through these church conferences 8,369 individuals were assisted from June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2012 with a total of $471,904 in financial assistance.
St. Vincent de Paul offers numerous programs and services in addition to thrift stores including Family Support Centers, Food Distribution and Recovery Program, Food Pantries, Education and Training, Pharmacy Assistance, Cars for Clients, Temporary Housing, and Transitional Job Training Program.
“The thrift stores were created to help individuals who cannot afford to purchase items,” Medina said.
St. Vincent de Paul has 10 total stores in the metro Atlanta area.
The thrift stores are an important work of St. Vincent de Paul because of the financial effect in the community. “The work is important because the money that is made in the thrift stores stays in the community. That is a unique thing we do compared to other organizations,” Medina said.
The thrift stores make an impact in Cobb County. According to Medina, from Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012, the Kennesaw thrift store alone provided over $120,000 in direct financial support to the 6 local church conferences; over $6,000 in clothing and household items provided to those in need for free directly from the store; over 250 individuals served through this thrift store; and over 19,000 volunteer hours at this thrift store.
“It’s all about community,” Medina said.
To learn more about St. Vincent de Paul, visit www.svdpatl.org.