From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Catholic Charities’ 2001 Christmas Collection: ‘Here’s HOPE’

the Inland Register

(From the Dec. 6, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

On Monday, Nov. 26, Catholic Charities kicked off its 60th annual Christmas Collection.

The 2001 theme is “Here’s HOPE.”

Friends of Catholic Charities will be contacted by mail and asked for a donation to this annual fund-raiser to help continue the Catholic Charities network of emergency services to people in need. This year’s goal is to raise $650,000 to fund a year of food, clothing and shelter throughout the 13 counties of Eastern Washington.

“In light of current political and economic conditions, it may seem like a difficult time to be fund-raising, but the Diocese of Spokane has a strong tradition of taking care of local brothers and sisters in need,” said Bishop Skylstad. “I am confident that our people will again be generous.”

Last year’s collection totaled $622,000, an all-time high for the Christmas Collection. This year’s goal has been set at $650,000 and priorities are to continue shelter and basic services through the recently expanded House of Charity for men, St. Margaret Shelter for women and children, and the new Bernadette Place for adult women with developmental challenges.

Every $30 in new money — a new gift, or an increased gift — provides for one family for one day at St. Margaret Shelter and two nights sleeping at the House of Charity, said Mary Ann Heskett, Catholic Charities Development Director.

Staff, volunteers and those recently assisted by Catholic Charities attended the Collection kick-off at the Catholic Pastoral Center and told of their experiences.

Debbie McCullough and her baby son live at St. Margaret Shelter. “I’m fragile and I’m vulnerable,” said Debbie. “I’ve been off drugs for a year. I have a good job and I am going to school at Spokane Falls Community College. I spend baby-time with my son. I could not manage it all without the safety and structure at St. Margaret Shelter. I am so grateful.”

Bruno Costa has been a senior transportation volunteer since his retirement. Bruno thanked Catholic Charities for the opportunity to do something worthwhile and satisfying with his time.

Bruno has responded to 54,000 requests for assistance in the past 12 years.

Shannon Poole, former resident of Summit View Apartments for single parent families, encouraged donors to be generous in helping people who, like herself, need help to start a better life.

“I stayed in an unhealthy marriage because I didn’t think I would be able to take care of my three children alone. When I finally left and came back to Spokane, I found an affordable, three-bedroom apartment at Summit View. While living there, I finished school and found a good job. I am now renting a house and my children are doing well in school.”

“These are true stories of people finding HOPE through the programs of Catholic Charities,” said Donna Hanson, Catholic Charities Diocesan Director.

Other programs ensure seniors have access to hot meals, provide food, clothing and shelter to the homeless, counseling for those in crisis, help a refugee with a new language, and assistance with chores for the elderly and disabled.

Catholic Charities provided 100,000 offerings of service to 12,500 different people during 2001. Some 78 percent of the people served were of other than Catholic faith; 85 percent were low-income.

More than 2,000 volunteers assist Catholic Charities each year, enabling programs to serve more people than operating budgets might allow.

Heskett noted that only 4 percent is spent on fund-raising for the Christmas Collection.

“Because our programs serve people of all faiths, not just Catholics, we hope everyone in the Eastern Washington community will consider giving a gift to the Collection. It is the major fund-raiser for many of our programs. We depend on the money raised at Christmas to provide services throughout the coming year,” she said.

Programs under the umbrella of Catholic Charities include:

  • Counseling for individuals, couples, families, children and groups.
  • House of Charity, with meals, clothing and a free medical clinic for low-income and homeless of mid-city Spokane, along with a wintertime sleeping program for homeless men.
  • Parish Social Ministry, a resource to parishes in the areas of social justice education, outreach, advocacy and community organizing.
  • Partners for Community Living at St. Bernadette Place enables supervised, independent living for adult women with developmental disabilities.
  • Refugee Resettlement Program gives assistance with housing, language, transportation and employment.
  • Regional Services assists families, children and seniors in Colville, Okanogan, Pasco and Walla Walla with emergency assistance and a volunteer chore network in the 13 counties of Eastern Washington.
  • St. Anne Children and Family Center is home to comprehensive support services, including the Childbirth and Parenting Alone (CAPA) program for single parents, and childcare for young parents transitioning from welfare.
  • St. Margaret Shelter is an emergency residence for homeless and exploited women and their children.
  • Senior and Family Housing offers affordable apartments and social services for seniors, single parent families, and people with mobility impairments in Spokane, Pullman, Walla Walla, and Clarkston, and for single parents and their children in Colville.

    To contribute to the 2001 Catholic Charities Christmas Collection, make donations at any Christmas Mass; mail a gift directly to Catholic Charities, P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210-1453; or visit the Catholic Pastoral Center at 1023 W. Riverside, Room 101, Spokane.

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