Identification of needs in the community | News, Sports, Jobs

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WARREN — The first Friends of the Poor Walk of St. Vincent de Paul Society of Trumbull County drew more than 200 volunteers on Saturday who showed their support for those fighting poverty by participating in a one-mile hike around from Perkins Park.

Darlene S. Jones, executive director of the Northeast Ohio District Council of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, said Saturday’s march was part of a national event.

“Today we have 40,000 people marching across the country to raise awareness for those who are struggling financially,” she says.

The timing of the march struck him as particularly relevant, given the range of challenges faced by the region’s poor.

“Right now, we are facing unprecedented times, between inflation and (the fact that) this region has yet to recover from COVID,” she explained. “What we are seeing is a sharp increase in poverty and food insecurity.”

Worse, even many local food banks are struggling to keep their shelves stocked.

“Meanwhile, donations have plummeted, across the board, for nonprofits at a time when more people who have never had access to safety net services are now coming to us in the need”, said Jones.

Under these circumstances, Jones characterized the community’s positive response to the Friends of the Poor’s march as “comforting”.

“We ended up with a total of 17 sponsors for this event, and this is the first time we’ve done it,” she says.

Event sponsors included Agree Auto Sales; that of Arby; owner-operators of McDonald’s, Perdue and Knoth; SS. Mary and Joseph Parish; Dr. Tom Jones / Dr. Ken Jones / NEO and Warren Plaza Giant Eagle.

Although walk participants learned that they had helped those less fortunate, they also experienced tangible benefits.

“For a $15 entry fee, attendees received a t-shirt, coffee and donuts, lunch (featuring McDonald’s double cheeseburgers), entertainment, and a bag full of coupons and promotional items. local businesses.” said Jones.

The event was hosted by Lady Marlowe, a local folk and blues band, and the festive atmosphere was enhanced by exceptionally sunny weather.

“I am very happy with today” said Lou Lepro, chairman of the St. Vincent County District Council of Paul Trumbull. “We had a wonderful crowd, great weather, and I think the camaraderie that we see from people is going to help us… It really does.”

Lepro stressed that community support for the mission of Saint Vincent de Paul is more important than ever.

“The amount of need in the community has quadrupled, especially since COVID hit the scene,” he said. “We’ve seen our average meals in our kitchens drop from around 125 to around 500 a day.”

Jones agreed and noted that the organization has responded to the situation with a wide range of services.

“We strive to provide for those in need in Trumbull County, but we offer not just alms, but a helping hand,” she says. “We employ many of the people we provide services to and offer education programs to help individuals and families lift themselves out of poverty.

In addition to operating a dining hall and three food pantries in Trumbull County, the organization provides vouchers for clean, fresh beds, household items, furniture, rental assistance, and utility assistance. , explained Suzanne Rinehart, who interviews clients for St. Vincent de Paul.

Rinehart said the response to Saturday’s march shows the organization has expanded its reach.

“I’ve spoken to people from Canfield, so I think we’ve attracted people from a larger area,” she says. “I think most of those who came out today are very interested in the welfare of this community, and many of them are long-time supporters of St. Vincent de Paul.”

One march participant, Warren resident Bonita Pauley, was joined by her daughter, Wendy Mink, and granddaughter, Haley. Supporter of many sponsors of the event, Pauley also indicated that she benefited, in the past, from the assistance of Saint-Vincent de Paul.

“Now that I’m back on my feet a bit, I really feel like I want to give back,” she says.



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