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

St. Margaret Shelter honors dedicated volunteers

the Inland Register

(From the Aug. 23, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

Those who help out at St. Margaret Shelter were celebrated at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon recently.

Nadine Van Stone, the director of Catholic Charities’ shelter for homeless women and their children, told the assembled guests, “It’s really fun to share our appreciation for all you do to help us do what we do.”

Van Stone also explained that the luncheon is a good chance to show everyone involved that people at St. Margaret are really moving forward in their lives. She introduced Sonja and Kelly, both St. Margaret residents and both single mothers who have struggled with addiction.

Sonja, who had been homeless since 2001, called St. Margaret’s staff “awesome. I’ve never felt so accepted in my life.” She said that soon her children will have permanent housing for the first time in their lives, and that she appreciates being able to do things – like Bloomsday – that she has never before given herself the chance to do.

The other resident, Kelly, has gotten her daughter back from foster care and will soon be reunited with her son as well. “I’ve been in bad situations and made bad choices,” Kelly said, “but now I’m able to be the kind of mom every kid should have.”

She expressed gratitude for the opportunities she has had at St. Margaret. She is getting counseling and has a job. Her children are thrilled to be in an increasingly stable situation and to have structure in their lives. “If I didn’t have St. Margaret Shelter to call home, I don’t know where I’d be,” she said.

Dr. Rob McCann, Catholic Charities Executive Director, reported that in the last seven years the shelter has served 994 women and their children, with the help of over 800 volunteers. “All those numbers add up to a lot of work,” he said. The service of volunteers has saved the agency over $290,000 that would otherwise have been spent on staff.

He thanked Sacred Heart Medical Center for the assistance they have provided, and continue to provide, to Catholic Charities.

The residents of St. Margaret Shelter, he said, “are all heroes in my mind.”

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