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The St. Vincent de Paul Society of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese Tuesday opened its First Giving Campaign, with a goal of $100,000, half of which already is pledged conditionally.

Rep. Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg, honorary chairman of the drive, announced its start at a news conference in the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room, 1298 Main St.

He said he is familiar with the St. Vincent de Paul organization because of the work it does in his parish, St. Mary of the Lake in Hamburg, and through its downtown soup kitchen and store.

Jack J. Gross, president of the Diocesan Council of St. Vincent de Paul, said the campaign will attempt to raise a minimum of $50,000 to match a $50,000 challenge gift from anonymous donors.

Gross said the funds raised by the campaign will be used to help operate the dining room, where more than 100,000 people are fed annually, the discount store in the same building, and the St. Vincent de Paul camp in Angola, which provides recreation for more than 650 youngsters each season.

The St. Vincent de Paul organization is funded primarily by private gifts and grants. In addition, Catholic Charities provided $20,000 for administration and $70,000 for the summer camp in the current budget.

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