Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pope Francis is coming to Catholic Charities!

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You may have heard the amazing news, but if not, Pope Francis has announced he will include a stop at Catholic Charities to meet with some of our clients and maybe even join us in serving lunch with our St. Maria's Meals Van during his visit to Washington, DC in September.

This will be the first time a Pope has visited Catholic Charities since we first opened our doors in 1922.

I keep saying this out loud, but it still seems unbelievable: Pope Francis will visit our clients, in-person! It will be a historic visit, and I am truly humbled the Holy Father has chosen to spend some of his time to visit the people we serve on the same trip where he will address a joint session of the US Congress. What a powerful message.

In the coming weeks, keep an eye on We're putting together some fun ways to celebrate the coming visit of the Holy Father to Catholic Charities. It is our hope that his visit will be a huge boost to all of the low-income families and individuals in our community.

Check out some of the media coverage from yesterday's schedule announcement:

CBS 9:

ABC 7:

Catholic Standard:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rave Reviews: What local employers say about our JOBS program

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Our JOBS Program was started to try and solve one of the biggest issues facing those who are chronically homeless: unemployment or maintaining employment. JOBS (Jobs and Other Basic Skills) takes the traditional job training program and goes one step further by placing most of its graduates into full or part-time work with employers after completion. 

The employers who we partner with, many of whom started with us at the very beginning, are the lifeblood of the program. Program Manager Mark Harrison recently received several letters back with glowing praise for the program from some of our employers as part of his quarterly check-ins. 

"I wanted to take this time to send a note celebrating our partnership. Over the last year you have referred several strong candidates...from those referrals we have made hires of new associates. Our partnership has grown into a very strong one." ~ BB&T Bank

"We are very pleased with your referrals that we have hired on a full-time basis, and with the others that have worked on an as needed basis." ~Ridgewells Catering

"Proof of Mark's efforts is the constant contact he maintains with us to ensure the employee/employer match is the right fit. It is good to know we are working with someone who cares about the long term goal and just about placing an individual." ~Worcester Eisenbrandt, Inc.

Before placement in a job, the students must first complete the class. The class is an intensive five-week program, Monday through Thursday, 9 am to 4 pm. The schedule is maintained strictly to start to drive home the importance of punctuality. But rather than teach a single job skill, the class focuses on addressing each person's history, past work experiences as well as some of the challenges which have led to job failure in the past. 

"I'd say just as important as the skills we teach is the time we spend breaking down each person and helping build them up right," said program manager Mark Harrison. "A lot of our people are carrying baggage with them that can lead to very negative reactions to typical workplace interactions. There's a lot of success for us when we help work past that." 

Are you looking to give back to the community and help make your business stronger through new hires? Consider partnering with our JOBS Program.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2015 Homeless Point in Time Survey Released

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The 2015 Homeless Point in Time survey was just released locally from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. This is the best effort each year to capture and count the number of adults, children, and families who do not have secure, ongoing housing.

For those who are interested in the issue of homelessness in our community, this is always a must-read document:

The data from the report comes from a Point In Time Survey, a method that involves hundreds of volunteers heading out to find as many individuals and families who are homeless or staying in temporary shelter to conduct a short survey. This survey always happens on a cold night, when many more people might choose to head to a shelter.

You can read some of the local coverage and reporting from these links:  

Monday, April 27, 2015

Leanna fled a violent marriage. How is she doing now?

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We'll have more recap later of our 2015 Catholic Charities Gala, which raised an astounding $1.9 million on Saturday night. But enjoy this three-minute video sharing the story of Leanna, who came with her children to our Angel's Watch shelter fleeing domestic violence. This video first debuted at our Gala on Saturday: 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of SHARE

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On Saturday, April 11, the SHARE Food Network marked 25 years of providing healthy and affordable food to the local community the only way it knew how – by eating delicious cake in a warehouse full of vegetables. 

Several hundred volunteers and local community leaders gathered at the Hyattsville warehouse to celebrate the program, which has provided affordable groceries to tens of thousands of families in its history. Started in 1990, the SHARE Food Network follows a model of bulk purchasing food from the same wholesale sellers who work with major grocery chain stores. But the savings comes from making use of thousands of volunteers who form a distribution network – from packaging the food to delivering it to homes and churches as close as Hyattsville and as far as West Virginia.

“What happens at SHARE every single month is a modern miracle,” said Msgr. John Enzler, President and CEO of Catholic Charities. “Every month, nearly 10,000 packages of healthy and affordable food reach families who need to eat well while saving money. This is one of our best ways of helping thousands of families in our community.” Last year, SHARE distributed more than 95,000 affordable food packages.

The typical SHARE Food Network package costs $20 and includes meats, fresh and frozen vegetables, fruits, starches and sometimes a dessert, typically worth $40-50 from a traditional grocery store.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker was on hand for the celebration, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and US Senator Ben Cardin both sent representatives to mark their support and as a reminder that SHARE is open to everyone, even reporters and elected officials

To order a package or view the menu, please visit:

To view more photos of the Anniversary Celebration, click here.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Note from Msgr. Enzler on the passing of A. James Clark

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A. James Clark, known as Jim Clark, passed away on March 20. He was the founder of Clark Construction and a very generous supporter of many nonprofits and educational institutions. You can read more about his incredible life here. Below is a statement released by Catholic Charities President and CEO Msgr. John Enzler:

"With heavy hearts, we mark the passing on one of our community's true champions of the poor. Jim Clark cared deeply about the well-being and challenges facing low-income families in the region. We are grateful for his transformational investment in the work of Catholic Charities and for his walking a journey with us to care for hundreds of thousands of people over the years who knocked on our doors. 

On a more personal note, when I was appointed to lead Catholic Charities, Jim was invaluable to me as an adviser and I will miss his wise counsel. Washington, DC is a much better city thanks to Jim Clark, not only for the beautiful buildings, but for the doors opened to the least among us who yearn for opportunity and love. Jim set the bar throughout his life for personal excellence and investment and generosity in the lives of his neighbors in need.

I, along with the Board of Directors and all staff of Catholic Charities, offer my deepest condolences to Alice, Courtney and Scott, and all of the Clark family. His legacy is one that will always be remembered.

~Father John

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mt. Carmel House gets a makeover!

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Early on the morning of Saturday, April 4, the corridors of Mt. Carmel House were quiet. Every room was empty. But all of that was about to change. On this blustery spring morning, more than 100 volunteers were about to transform each room, wall and hallway at Mount Carmel House.

Nestled in downtown DC, Mount Carmel House is a permanent supportive housing program for up to 21 women who are homeless. Here, they are able to gain their footing in a safe environment while working toward living on their own once again. An apartment-style housing program, each woman has her own bedroom and shares common areas such as the bathroom, kitchen, and a job center. Some women stay for a few months, some stay for years. Either way, for now, this is home.

And that’s why My Girlfriend’s House, Inc., a nonprofit that mentors and empowers at-risk girls, initiated a service project at Mount Carmel House – a Makeover Party to spruce up the living spaces the residents call home.

"Having these volunteers come in and do something special shows the women of Mt. Carmel House that they are valued," said Mt. Carmel House Senior Program Manager Lorraine Lynch. "It really lifts their spirits when they know people are thinking about them."

After residents left Mount Carmel House for the morning, the volunteers got to work, loading in decorations, paint and new furniture for each apartment-style unit. Working in teams, the volunteers were tasked with reinventing each room, making it ‘homier’. With creativity, hard work and a few tools, volunteers made sure that every room in Mt. Carmel House had a punch of personality.

“Our volunteers took extra care in paying attention to detail and making sure each room got the love it deserved,” My Girlfriend’s House Executive Director Veronica Euyenga said as she pointed out inspirational quotes on the wall, decorative frames, and splashes of color. 

See some of the before and after shots here:

After the finishing touches were added to each nook and cranny of Mount Carmel House, residents took a tour of their freshly updated home. When their new rooms were revealed, the woman were grateful the volunteers had spent some much time and effort making Mt. Carmel House beautiful.

“I’m so happy with my new apartment, I can’t believe they were able to transform it in a single day,” one resident said.  “It’s so pretty – and it looks like a completely different room!”

The women of Mount Carmel House have a fresh new outlook thanks to the My Girlfriend’s House volunteers!