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Mon, Feb 19, 2018 02:03 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
St. Vincent Mission celebrates 35th anniversary

DAVID — The St. Vincent Mission will hold its 35th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Oct. 18. Planned activities include gospel and bluegrass singing, drawings for door prizes, a plate lunch at noon and a silent auction. In addition, local crafters will have displays and will hold demonstrations throughout the day.

The celebration is being held at the St. Vincent Mission and David Appalachian Craft Store in David, just a few miles west of Prestonsburg. The festivities are being held to honor the St. Vincent Mission for the 35 years of service to people in David and surrounding areas.

“This mission started as a Christian outreach,” said Joyce Mitchell, social services coordinator at the mission. “It is important to this community and has played a vital role in its history.”

The organization began in 1968, the same year the coal company closed down in David. The owner of the company and town namesake, David Francis, sold the town, leaving families desperate for help. In response to the need, The Brothers of Charity began St. Vincent Mission to assist with such basic needs as emergency food, clothing and shelter. The mission was instrumental in initiating needed services. They also organized the townspeople, sparking a revival of the town spirit that eventually led to the purchase of the town by its people in 1975.

According to Pioneer People: A Story of David, Kentucky, in its early days, St. Vincent Mission started and operated several programs, including a child care center, a sewing and crafts program, weekend youth programs and dancing classes, Bible School and a Second Hand Store. They also revitalized the Boy Scout program.

Many of those programs are still in existence and have grown and transformed over the years to meet the current needs of the community. Today, a staff of two maintain an emergency assistance program, a Second Hand Store, a Christmas Store, a scholarship fund, Boone Clinic, various workshops, volunteer programs and summer youth programs, including Bible School and arts and craft classes.

“We operate on volunteer help,” stated Sr. Kathleen Weigand, who is in her fifth year as director of the organization. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

St. Vincent also employees two more people in the David Appalachian Crafts Store, which sits atop the mission. The store carries crafts made by over 60 local people, who are able to supplement their income through the program. The store is a member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, Kentucky Craft Marketing and the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The crafts sold in the store are high quality, traditional mountain hand crafts and include handmade quilts and pillows, pottery, baskets, hand painted gourds, fabric Christmas ornaments, handmade rugs, dolls, wooden toys, prints by local artists, regional books and cookbooks and a variety of other crafts.

The craft store will be open during the celebration day. The affair will begin at 11 a.m. with a welcome by Weigand. The Music Family will kick off the entertainment shortly thereafter. Scheduled performers for the afternoon include The Carriere Family, Voices of Faith and The Patsy Teenage Singers, a group from David who made good in the 1950s.

“The Patsy Teenage Singers were famous in their day,” said Weigand. “To hear them sing is a treat.”

At noon, a $5 plate lunch will be served, with proceeds benefiting the work of the mission. Reservations should be made for lunch and can be made by calling (606) 886-2513.

The David Homemakers Club will have homemade bread for sale along with crafts and other goodies on display by local artists. The artists will also perform demonstrations of their arts and crafts skills.

“Demonstrating mountain arts and crafts making is a great service that David Crafts and St. Vincent offers to the community. We hold workshops on various arts such as quilting, sewing, painting and woodworking,” Weigand said. “Local artists teach these things to the children in the community in the summer also. They love it and it’s a way of instilling pride in their heritage.”

The day’s other events will include a silent auction beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m.

“Some wonderful items have been donated for the auction,” Weigand said.

Wrapping the fun up at 3:30 p.m. will be a drawing for Bit of Kentucky Baskets.

St. Vincent’s Mission is located six miles off the Mountain Parkway, Rt. 114, on Highway 404, in David.

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