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 Christmas Collection begins; 2006 goal is $725,000

the Inland Register

(From the Dec. 7, 2006 edition of the Inland Register)

“Catholic Charities helps all people in need, regardless of creed,” said Dr. Rob McCann, Catholic Charities Executive Director, at the kickoff of the annual Christmas Collection, held on Nov. 20 at St. Margaret Shelter. “These dollars all go to help needy people in Eastern Washington.”

“Catholic Charities has a rich 64-year tradition of helping those in need,” said Bishop Skylstad at the event. “This is the 64th year of Catholic Charities’ Christmas Collection, a once-a-year opportunity to make a request of the broader community. Our goal for 2006 is $725,000.”

Among the ministries funded by the Christmas Collection:

• Nights of shelter for abused women and children at St. Margaret Shelter.
• Bus tickets for people who get stranded in Spokane and are trying to get home.
• Housing assistance for those left bereft by Hurricane Katrina.

Bishop Skylstad emphasized the wide-ranging efforts of Catholic Charities throughout Eastern Washington. “Everyone is a brother and sister to us,” he said.

Some of those “brothers and sisters” spoke of the help they have received through the organization.

Sonja and Destiny (seated, left to right) talked about the help and support they have received from Catholic Charities at the kickoff of the 2006 Christmas Collection. With them are, standing at left, Nadine Van Stone, Director of St. Margaret Shelter, and Rhonda Allen, House of Charity Case Manager (standing, right). (IR photo from Catholic Charities)

Sonja said, “I’m so grateful for St. Margaret Shelter. I’ve made some bad decisions in the past, and this is my starting point – they guide me. I feel so much better about my future than I did six months ago.”

Another woman, Destiny, is in transitional housing, thanks to the House of Charity. “The House of Charity has been there for me through the hardest times,” she said. “The people there teach me how to interact with others and to have a positive outlook on things.”

Alda Morris knits sweaters for babies at St. Anne Children and Family Center, despite having been born with neurological impairments. “I just love those babies! It gives me an opportunity to do something meaningful with my life,” she said.

Last to speak was Brigitte, a refugee from Africa who now works at St. Anne Children and Family Center. She expressed a great deal of gratitude to Catholic Charities because “now I can live with my two sons. Catholic Charities bought them tickets to come here.”

Gifts can be donated in three ways:

• Through the secure website at Click on “Ways to Give.”
• Send a check, payable to Catholic Charities Christmas Collection, via postal mail to: Catholic Charities, P.O. Box 2253, Spokane, WA 99210-2253.
• Give a donation at Christmas Masses at any of the parishes in Eastern Washington.

Gifts of any size make a real difference and are deeply appreciated, said Dr. McCann. “We enter into a true act of faith each December,” he said. “We try to raise all the money in one month that we’ll need for the rest of the year. We’ve never been let down, and those dollars have really helped people in need.”

None of the money received through the Christmas Collection will go to anything other than serving the poor, he said. “It will not go toward anything having to do with the Chapter 11 process. While we are in spiritual solidarity with our Church, we are entirely separate from the Diocese in terms of the Washington State legal process.”

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