The majority of programs administered by Fresno County Society of St. Vincent are focused on basic needs and are non-monetary in nature. For example, it is more likely that people will receive food from a pantry or clothing from a distribution center. There can be seasonal programs as well in Fresno County, ranging from Christmas meals to back to school supplies or free coats at winter for children.
There are some cases in which the agency will have money for paying a certain type of critical expense. There may be funds for past due rent or maybe a heating or cooling bill during the summer or winter. Some of the financial aid will be for households with an at risk member, such as an occupant that is disabled or a senior citizen. However, any monetary support from the Society will be much more limited.
Food assistance is available at pantries as well as local soup kitchens. Families from the region who are working with the staff can apply for help if they are faced with hunger. There may be free bags of groceries passed out along with personal hygiene items, such as soap, shampoo, or diapers. The goal of St. Vincent of Fresno County is to stop hunger from occurring in the household while the family looks for longer term solutions.
Other personal hygiene needs can be met as well at the shelter, thrift store or similar sites. If someone has a job interview, there can be assistance to ensure they are presentable. There may be the use of a computer for searching for jobs, or some very low income families can use a copy machine for copying a resume.
Back to School programs ramp up during the summer and fall months. The non-profit Saint Vincent de Paul provides area school children with new outfits, or vouchers that they use to shop. There may help in obtaining uniforms, pants, coats, shoes and more. These items can help a student be prepared for the first day of school and make them feel more comfortable. This can lead to more self-worth and confidence as well.
During the winter, there may be fund raisers held to give winter coats to adults, student and children. A focus will be on the youngest members of the community though, as it is even more important to keep them warm. Donations from the community are used to keep this resource running.
Help may also be provided at Christmas too. Holiday projects provide free gifts or children from low income families. There may be volunteers that can visit seniors in nursing homes or other care centers. In addition, hot meals are held at locations around the wider Fresno community.
The thrift store can also be used by people in poverty in an effort to have their basic needs met. Volunteers work with Saint Vincent churches to collect gently used items, such as surplus clothing or furniture, and resell it to the wider Fresno community. Using the store can save families a significant amount of money.
All of these resources above, whether food from a pantry or Christmas support, rely on volunteers and donations. They are also supported by local businesses that may also hold fund raisers, especially around Christmas. These donations from the community are distributed only to income qualified residents from the area.
As noted, there may be financial aid in an emergency. An applicant will need to meet with staff. They will then need to go through a basic assessment of their needs, and the result of that will be either funds from Society of Saint Vincent for a portion of that bill or referrals to places that may be able to assist.
Services provided may include gasoline vouchers or bus passes for job interviews, funds for partial rent or an energy bill payment, prescription medications, and other support. This form of emergency aid is only offered during certain times of the year.
Shelters and transitional housing is for a diverse type of client in Fresno California. Housing can be arranged for the homeless or single parents. Some centers may focus on veterans or people living with mental illness. Various housing solutions are available and can address a number of different scenarios.
The main thrift store and center is at 1318 11th Street, Reedley, California 93654. Hours can be obtained by calling (559) 637-9811.
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