History of Silverton Area Community Aid
Silverton Area Community Aid (SACA) found its beginnings in 1950 when Mr. Henry Vetter, A Railroad Station Agent and Principal M.R. Ford of Eugene Field Elementary School, recognized a growing need among low income families and began to organize aid efforts to local citizens.
Under the banner of “United Good Citizens” (UGN) these gentlemen guided the aid efforts as well as the senior meals program in the basement of Eugene Field School. Originally two divisions of UGN existed in Marion County, one covered the City of Salem and the second handled the rural parts of Marion County. According to Mr. Vetter the initial annual budget for the rural county division was $250.
Through the 1950’s people in the Silverton community became active with the emergency aid efforts and although still serving the entire rural Marion County, “Silverton Emergency Aid” began to take shape. Jean Schoupp was named the Secretary/Treasurer, she had hands on experience with low income people and also studied Social Services at Chemeketa while working at St. Paul’s Catholic Church. The Pastor, Father Brennan had long been interested in social services and instituted a social services commission within St. Paul’s parish. While Jean worked at St. Paul’s, Father Brennan pledged half of her time be devoted to social work and outreach including salary and office space. The Silverton Ministerial Association including Rev. James Coppidge of the Methodist Church, Pastor Tigges of Trinity Lutheran and Pastor Brekhus became involved with the project and helped to support an Annual Food Drive, and regular collections of food and money.
By 1975 the emergency aid program and food bank was primarily focused on Silverton and became known as the place to seek assistance for local residents. In June of 1984 the program was incorporated as Silverton Area Community Aid lnc. (SACA) and a governing Board of Directors representing churches, civic organizations, and citizens was established.
Until 2004 SACA was located in donated space at St Paul’s Catholic Church. Today SACA’s facility is donated by the City of Silverton and housed in the Community Center Building. A volunteer Board of Directors composed of 15 members that represents a cross-section of the community governs the organization.
With the continued support of the greater Silverton community, over 250 regular volunteers and SACA’s staff, we are able to provide food and various types of emergency aid to low income people 4 days a week. SACA links people in this rural community to social services typically obtained in a larger city. This unique cooperation of community partnerships is outstanding. SACA’s goal is to meet the emergency situations in our community promptly with as little ‘red tape’ as possible in the process. Our entire community has been knit into the organization without sectarian or social bonds.