Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

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 launches 2003 Christmas Collection; goal is $675,000

the Inland Register

(From the Dec. 4, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

Press conference Dec. 1, 2003 Bishop Skylstad and Donna Hanson address the media during a press conference Dec. 1 in the Catholic Pastoral Center. At the press conference they announced the details of the 2003 Catholic Charities Christmas Collection. The theme of this year’s collection is “Light the Way.” (IR photo)

At a Dec. 1 press conference, Bishop William Skylstad and Donna Hanson, Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities and Bishop’s Secretary for Social Ministries, launched the 2003 Catholic Charities Christmas Collection.

The collection’s goal this year is $675,000.

Last year’s collection brought in $667,481, with an average gift of $101.

That collection helped meet the needs of some 43,000 people last year through Catholic Charities’ 11 agencies and 38 locations.

Helping fulfill the mission were some 2,000 volunteers.

The collection supports Catholic Charities work in a variety of venues, including the House of Charity, for the people of the streets of Spokane; St. Margaret Shelter, for homeless women and their children; St. Anne’s Childbirth and Parenting Alone (CAPA) Program; and Bernadette Place, for developmentally impaired women in Spokane.

Other programs include Parish Social Ministry, counseling, senior nutrition, Volunteer Chore Service, and programs for emergency food, shelter, and clothing.

Among the special priorities for the coming year:

• Completing construction of a new St. Anne Children and Family Center, which will provide child care for some 200 children.
• Housing and basic services for men through the House of Charity.
• Enhance the emergency assistance network.
• Recruit and support more volunteers.
• Complete constructuion on the Desert Haven housing complex, which will serve 26 farm worker families in Othello, Wash.

During the press conference, two participants in Catholic Charities ministries spoke with the media about their own experiences.

Desiree has been living at St. Margaret Shelter with her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter for two weeks.

The experience, she said, has provided stability for her and her daughter after a year of homelessness.

Most of her own family, she said, is deceased. St. Margaret Shelter, for homeless women and their children, has become another family for her, she said.

“I wish I had known about the resources of Catholic Charities a lot sooner than I found them,” she said.

Brad is involved with the House of Charity. He said he’s been homeless since a 1996 divorce.

He had been aware of the House of Charity since 1986. The newer facility, however, provides more opportunities than the old. “I have an apartment now,” he said. Since losing 75 percent of his sight, the House of Charity has been “a Godsend,” he said.

Said Bishop Skylstad, “Your witnesses inspire us. We’re all in this together.” He pointed out that the media also participate in the collection by helping tell the story to the broader community.

Catholic Charities serves people regardless of religious affiliation. Support comes from the traditional collection taken up at Christmas Masses, but also from individuals and businesses throughout the community.

Donations may be made at Christmas Masses in Catholic churches throughout the Spokane Diocese; by mail, to Catholic Charities, P.O. Box 1453, Spokane, WA 99210-1453; or at Catholic Charities offices on the first floor of the Catholic Pastoral Center, 1023 W. Riverside Ave., in Spokane.

For more information about the collection, call 358-4250.

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