Published November 27, 2014
ATLANTA—With the help of a donation from SunTrust Bank, Inc., the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia (SVdP) will open its newest Family Support Center at 1700 Lakewood Ave. in Atlanta in January 2015.
SVdP will teach job training, job search skills, and economic and financial strategies for greater success and self-sufficiency at the new facility. The Family Support Center will also feature a thrift store and donation center, in addition to a food pantry, which operates on a “client choice” model—providing clients the opportunity to shop for food much like they would in a grocery store.
SunTrust donated the building to SVdP for the center and will operate an ATM in the building where customers can conduct banking business including making deposits or withdrawing cash.
“The poverty level in Lakewood Heights is more than triple the national average,” said John Berry, SVdP’s CEO and executive director. “The SunTrust Lakewood Family Support Center will better enable us to break the cycle of poverty in that area.”
SVdP operates four Family Support Centers, 39 food pantries and 12 thrift stores throughout Georgia.
“We’re pleased to help St. Vincent de Paul Georgia bring these valuable educational, training and social service resources to the residents of this area,” said Jenner Wood, president and CEO of SunTrust Bank, Atlanta Division.
Best known for its namesake amphitheater, the Lakewood area is also home to a grimmer reality. Residents of the Lakewood area have a 1 in 12 chance of being a victim of a crime, according to FBI crime data.
“The correlation between crime and poverty is no coincidence. We see time and time again people who turn to drugs and violence because they don’t see a way out,” said Berry. “We are the light at the end of the tunnel. Our mission is twofold: alleviate immediate suffering while also tackling the systemic problems that perpetuate generational poverty in the area.”
For more information on the work of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia, visit www.svdpgeorgia.org.