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Thurston County Saint Vincent DePaul Society programs.

The families that call upon or stop by Society of Saint Vincent DePaul in Thurston County are usually temporarily struggling and just need a helping hand to support them on the path to stability. There are a few primary services available. They include financial assistance for families in a crisis, and there may be grants for everything from rent to medications and utility bills. A thrift store will sell gently used goods in Olympia, and a food pantry will help prevent hunger.

The Thurston County Saint Vincent DePaul Society is a place where neighbors that are in an emergency can apply to receive financial aid for paying their water, electric bills or rental costs. If there is not money available at the agency, then the staff will refer applicants to other options.

The food pantry is where individuals that are having trouble feeding their families can drop in at and receive emergency food assistance. If someone is qualified, they can stop in and choose their own groceries. There may be fruits, vegetables, non-perishable items, and more. SvdP of Olympia will even try to offer personal hygiene items such as shampoo, soap, and paper goods too.

The location was created to be a client-choice pantry in Thurston County. So what this means is that shoppers can pick just the exact type of food (whether canned or fresh) that their families will eat. This helps reduce any discomfort that people may have using a pantry, and also reduces any waste.

The Olympia Saint Vincent thrift store is a large, well-organized location that is open for anyone to come and purchase items such as gently-used clothes and shoes, books, toys, furniture and more. The location also provides volunteer opportunities for members of the community so they can get some real work experience.

The Shop will sell high quality, but gently used merchandise or clothing at very affordable prices. The make up of what is sold will depend on what is contributed. But in general the donors to Thurston County Saint Vincent DePaul Society consistently share clothing for all members of the family, gently used furniture and home accessories, games, books and other items. Some, such as clothes, are more for satisfying “needs” and others, including Christmas toys, are “wants”.




The pantry and thrift store are run in partnership with civic and school organizations, churches, businesses, and individuals across Thurston County. All the money from the sale of goods at Thrift Store go to pay for the various programs administered.

Money raised from the store as well as donations are used to provide Financial Assistance. Depending on many factors, there may be funds to help people with rent or utility bills payments. While not as common, vouchers from SvdP of Olympia can be used to pay for medications or a portion of a mortgage.

In order to be efficient and to best make use of limited resources, trained volunteers from the Society of Thurston County will assess the critical needs applicants. Appointments are made in the order that they are received, and this is required. If someone is qualified, and if money is available, then the non-profit SVDP charity will arrange for payments to be made directly to the party that is owed the money. So funds may be disbursed to landlords, electric companies, or a creditor.

A priority is to help families in the community avoid homelessness. After that goal has been met, then the next step is to partner with the client to help them achieve a stable financial situation through developing a self-sufficient lifestyle. This involves local non-profits and faith based groups too.

Education and case management is used to teach life skills to clients. The individual, working with a well trained staff member, will learn how to address the challenges that everyone faces. Many people from Thurston County have barriers that prevent them from reaching their goals. So workshops and one on one case management sessions will be arranged.

Many other services can be arranged by the agency. Or they will link the applicant to another local program. When applying for any service, proof of the hardship and documentation is required by Society of Saint Vincent from Thurston County. This will include a valid photo ID or drivers license, copies of all current household bills, lease agreements, and income. Also bring support that shows details of the cause of crisis, like car repair, layoff from a stable job, or medical bill. The center is in Olympia Washington or call (360) 352 - 7554.



By Jon McNamara

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