January 1, 2023 | Local News, Your Stories
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Project organizers Beth Payne and Noel Quinn stand in front of four 10-foot trailers packed with food to distribute. Clothing and toys are housed in the Lewisport Community Center. COURTESY OF BELINDA ABELL

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Immaculate Conception/St. Columba help community during Christmas season


Three different groups have come together the past 12 years to make Christmas a little brighter for some families in Hancock County. Those groups are the Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Hancock County, Santa Sacks, and the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots. The event is held at the Lewisport Community Center; with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic it has become a drive-thru event.

A line of cars waiting stretched four city blocks before the official opening of this year’s event. Bob Durbin, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Northeast District president said, “Without the collaboration of these three groups and the volunteers who show up to help, this event would never happen.”

More than 250 families will receive food for a Christmas meal provided by Santa Sacks; clothes including coats, underwear, socks, and other clothes from St. Vincent de Paul; and of course toys from the U.S. Marine Corps.

Other major organizers who have lent a hand in this project are Monty and Noel Quinn and Beth Payne. The Quinns began Santa Sacks many years ago and were happy to participate in the joint venture.

“I begin early contacting companies and businesses for donations, both in-kind and financial. They are always happy to help in any way they can,” said Noel Quinn.

Beth Payne, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store manager in Hancock County said, “This is only possible because of the great people who come out and help us.”

Noel Quinn added, “The two of us make a good team, we help each other when needed.”

Beth Payne agreed, “God provides when you need it.”

The project is well-organized using applications and local recommendations to identify those who could use a hand-up. While companies and businesses contribute, so do individuals. One particular family who has roots in the community band together and generously donate $10,000 to the project for the past four years. Every penny donated to the project is used for the project.

Belinda Abell is the marketing coordinator for Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Western Kentucky.

Originally printed in the January 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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