SALEM - The Mid-Willamette Valley got a boost in its drive to build new facilities when the Murdock Charitable Trust came through with a $120,000 challenge grant.

The new facilities, to be located in Salem, will provide shelter and emergency services and will help relieve hunger in the area. The old facilities were built in 1947.

The award is a challenge grant, to be matched by new or increased local community gifts.

Poverty in Marion and Polk counties is among the highest in the state, said Nancy Cooney, executive director of the council, and the new facilities will help the charitable efforts keep pace.

The St. Vincent de Paul Council here serves more than 90,000 people annually with food, clothing, shelter, household supplies, medical assistance, rent and utilities assistance, and job training and placement.

Parishes making up the council include St. Edward, Keizer; Queen of Peace, St. Joseph and St. Vincent de Paul in Salem; St. Mary, Corvallis; St. James, Molalla; St. James, McMinnville; St. Edward, Lebanon; St. Mary, Mount Angel; and St. Luke, Woodburn.

As one of the largest members of Marion-Polk Food Share, St. Vincent de Paul distributed three- to five-day food boxes serving more than 16,000 persons during 1998. The daily sack-lunch program served close to 30,000 transient and homeless people. Of those helped, 52 percent are children; women and children together represent 78 percent.

Donations to the new facilities project, which will be matched by the Murdock Charitable Trust, can be sent to the St. Vincent de Paul Society at 730 Front St. NE, Salem, 97301. For further information, call (503) 364-1062.

The Murdock Charitable Trust was created by Jack Murdock in 1975 to improve the lives of persons and institutions in five western states. Murdock was a co-founder of the Tektronix Corporation.