Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Palmetto Baptist, SVDP-Tyrone Work Together

By GREG GILBERT, Special To The Bulletin | Published May 17, 2007

An exciting new endeavor began recently as the St. Vincent de Paul Conference in Tyrone and the Palmetto Baptist Church food pantry forged a new relationship. The common cause the two champion is helping the poor in this community.

The Palmetto Baptist food pantry assists about 150 families each month. They receive manpower and funds from three area churches. They also get canned goods from various food drives at schools and civic clubs. In addition, they purchase food from the Atlanta Community Food Bank and receive dated bread from two Kroger stores. The St. Vincent de Paul Society, a worldwide lay organization of Catholic men and women, has a Tyrone-based conference that operates out of St. Matthew Church. The Society strives to equip individuals experiencing a time of hardship with financial assistance, education and confidence to get back to a point of self-sufficiency. The Tyrone conference helps individuals and families in the Tyrone, Union City, Fairburn and Palmetto areas. A common need of many of these families in crisis is food. To better serve these families the Tyrone conference reached out to the local Christian community for assistance. Vincentians Herschel Coker and Jackie Stahler learned of the Palmetto Baptist food pantry and met with leaders of Palmetto Baptist Church last October. They struck up a plan to work together to help those in need in the south Fulton area. The parish of St. Matthew holds periodic food drives and delivers the goods to the Palmetto Baptist food pantry. In return, if the SVDP conference is visiting a family in the south Fulton area, they have the ability to leave a Palmetto Baptist food voucher with the family. SVDP delivered 3,000 pounds of food to Palmetto Baptist in February. These two entities standing separately do great work to help the poor and marginalized in this area. They go a step further by setting aside traditional tensions between denominations and working hand in hand toward their common cause.

Greg Gilbert is president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society-Tyrone Conference.