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 2002 Christmas Collection: ‘Good News, Good Works’

the Inland Register

(From the Dec. 5, 2002 edition of the Inland Register)

On Monday, Dec. 2, Catholic Charities kicked off its 61st annual Christmas Collection. The 2002 theme is “Good News, Good Works.”

This year’s goal is to raise $675,000 to fund a year of food, clothing and shelter throughout the 13 counties of Eastern Washington.

“It has been a difficult year and people are feeling uncertain. But today I ask people to put aside worries and uncertainties and focus on the Good News, Good Works of Catholic Charities,” said Bishop Skylstad. “I am confident that our people will again be generous.”

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

Debbie McCullough and her baby son lived at St. Margaret Shelter. “I was fragile and vulnerable,” said Debbie. “I’ve been off drugs for two years. I now have my own apartment, I’m enrolled at Gonzaga University and am doing an internship at St. Margaret. 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.”

Langley Pankey is a resident at Delaney Apartments. “After my brother died, I tried to live on my own. Now I’ve been at the Delaney for 9 years and have lots of friends.”

Amber Earnhardt and her four children are residents of Summit View Apartments for single parent families. “My life has changed since we came to Summit View,” she said. “It is a safe haven and support for my family.”

“These are true Good News stories of people finding help through the good works of Catholic Charities,” said Donna Hanson, Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities.

Other programs ensure that seniors have access to hot meals; provide food, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and counseling for those in crises; and assistance with chores for the elderly and disabled.

Catholic Charities provided 100,000 offerings of service to 12,500 different people during 2001. Seventy-eight 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.

According to Mary Ann Heskett, Catholic Charities’ Development Director, “Catholic Charities does not receive any funding from the Annual Catholic Appeal and 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.”

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 serves as a resource to parishes in the areas of social justice education, outreach, advocacy and community organizing.
• Bernadette Place provides supervised, independent living for adult women with developmental disabilities.
• Immigration Services: assistance with residency status and immigration procedures.
• Regional services assist families, children and seniors in Colville, Okanogan, Pasco and Walla Walla. Emergency assistance and a volunteer chore network in the thirteen counties of Eastern Washington.
• St. Anne Children and Family Center includes 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 includes 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.

Individuals wishing to contribute to the 2002 Catholic Charities Christmas Collection may make their donation at any Christmas Mass; mail their gift directly to Catholic Charities, P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210-1453; or visit the Catholic Pastoral Center at W. 1023 Riverside, Room 101, Spokane, Washington; or visit the Catholic Charities web site.

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