COATESVILLE – In addition to the Catholic parishes in and around Coatesville, numerous agencies of the local Church are assisting arson victims.

The Chester County Family Service Centers of archdiocesan Catholic Social Services (CSS) has volunteered interpretation services through its Spanish-speaking staff members.

CSS has also donated new sheets and blankets to several relocating families and is providing baby formula, wipes and diapers as well as clothing for infants and young children.

To help the arson victims replenish household items and groceries, CSS is currently accepting contributions of gift cards to local discount stores Walmart and Kmart and to grocery stores Giant and Acme.

“Our message to the families is that they are not alone and the Church and community agencies will work together to help them to rebuild their lives,” said Mary Ann Nagel, program coordinator of Chester County Family Service Centers.

The archdiocesan Nutritional Development Services (NDS) has also let officials know its services are available to assist arson victims, said Denise Hopkins, administrator of NDS’ community food program.

Area conferences of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul are also reaching out to arson victims. Patrick Ivkovich, president of the conference that represents Coatesville’s Catholic churches, said his group is working with the conferences of SS. Simon and Jude Parish in West Chester and St. Peter Parish in West Brandywine.

Among all three societies’ ongoing outreach efforts, the Coatesville conference recently paid for a displaced family’s weeklong hotel stay and for groceries for another family who found temporary housing.

Donors may give gift cards for arson victims through CSS in care of St. Cecilia Rectory, 99 N. Sixth Ave., Coatesville, PA 19320.

To provide help through the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, contact the Coatesville conference at (484) 905-2166.

An account for arson victims has been established at the Citadel Federal Credit Union in Thorndale. Donations may be made to victims of the Coatesville fires and/or the reward fund for locating the perpetrator or perpetrators of the arsons. Citadel may be reached at (610) 380-6000.

– Christie L. Chicoine