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Thought Leaders


John Berry, Chief Executive Officer, St. Vincent de Paul Georgia

John Berry, Chief Executive Officer, St. Vincent de Paul Georgia

By John Berry, St. Vincent de Paul Georgia

There was an old song that was popular when I was young that had a line something like ‘It’s summer time and the living is easy.’ It was one of those songs that you kind of remember, without having a clue as to the artist or the rest of the lyrics. Well, at least for me. But then, as my wife can tell you, I can’t recall the words or artist from songs I heard yesterday, never mind 30+ years ago.

This summertime the living is anything but easy for too many of our neighbors in Georgia. This is the time of year when it becomes especially difficult for many of those in need to make it from day to day.  The combination of heat and humidity leaves people with the choice of two bad alternatives; high utility bills or extreme discomfort.  Many part-time and casual jobs that might have been available disappear in the summer because of the downturn in retail business associated with vacations and because there is an influx of young labor out of school for the summer. And often the volunteer social services support networks and organizations are at their financial and volunteer support lows.

This year it quite apparent that this summertime the living is very, very difficult for many of those who live on the edge.  

We know these things at St. Vincent de Paul Georgia because we see them every day.  Each of the thousands of Vincentian Volunteer working across this state sees the burden that increased demand and decreased resources places on our ability to help those in need.  We know that without the support of the people of Georgia, many will have nothing. It is through their generosity and sacrifice of time, talent, and treasure that we can continue to provide Hope as well as help.  Because it is that Hope which is the true gift we bring to those in need. Our financial support will get someone through a day, or a week, or a month. But it is Hope that will help them get through a time of their lives when everything seems hopeless.  Hope in the love of a fellow human being. Hope in the fact that tomorrow, somehow, will be better than today. Hope is the sure knowledge that they are not alone.

Hope; what a beautiful gift it is.  Hope that comes from love. Hope that comes from many different faces – just like yours.

What are your thoughts?