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Posted: August 15, 2010 12:00 a.m.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul

By Brittany Thomas /

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) will be hosting a silent auction and wine tasting fundraiser at St. Augustine Catholic Church Oct. 8. Over 60 businesses like Home Depot, Badcock Furniture, Fletcher’s Jewelry and several local restaurants have donated a wealth of merchandise to aid St. Vincent toward their cause.

SVdP is a 501 (C) 3 organization that provides financial, material, educational and spiritual support to people in need regardless of their background or faith and collaborates with other organizations to empower people to achieve self-sufficiency. They provide financial assistance to families for rent, mortgage, utilities, food, medicine and/or other miscellaneous services if needed. They are a part of an international organization and have operated in North and Middle Georgia since 1903.

"We currently have three two-teams doing in-home visits to meet with families or individuals, get to know them and find out what their need is," said Phyllis Garrison, president of St. Augustine chapter of SVdP. "We’ve provided beds, furniture and clothing—just depends on the family’s needs at the time."

The event will be SVdP’s first major fundraiser. They have previously held small scale events like bake sales. They hope the auction will become an annual Newton County event. They receive the majority of their funds from a separate collection generously donated by their parish in St. Augustine.

The international organization features some notable donors like former UGA coach Vince Dooley and Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly.

"There are some people we can’t help, because they’re so deeply in debt that our money won’t be able to keep their utilities on," said Jim Hickok, one of the home visitors. "So we try to give them guidance on what they can do, where they can go and what alternatives they may have.

Last Christmas, we visited a family of four children, three of which were teenagers," Hickok added. "They couldn’t even afford coats for school. The mother didn’t want anything for herself, just for her children. So we gave them coats and clothing for the entire family, brought them Turkey and all the fixin’s for Christmas."

"I’ve seen that there are a lot of people who just don’t have anything," said Mike Lassiter, co-chair of the fundraiser. "That’s why we’re hoping we can generate several thousand dollars to help out these folks."

Fox Winery will be hosting the wine tasting portion of the event. The winery will offer 3 different varieties; attendees will be allotted two glasses of wine after the tasting. There will be cheese and light hor d’oeuvres served as well.

The event will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with bids beginning when the doors open. Tickets cost $25 and availability will be limited for purchase to individuals 21 and over until Oct. 1. Donations will be accepted as well. The organization hopes the event will also draw volunteers. However, volunteers must be members of St. Augustine’s congregation.

"Most of all, we want this to be a fun event for the community," said Christy Lassiter, co-chair of the event. "We want the participants to come out and support our cause, place a bid or two and see if you can have some fun with it. It’ll be a good time and it gives folks a chance to meet people from the community."

To purchase tickets or to make a donation, contact Phyllis Garrison (404) 216-8544; Mike and Christy Lassiter (770) 786-2781; Jim and Jan Hickok (770) 787-1064; or the church office (770) 787-1064.

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