Friday, February 12, 2016

Maryland Football Tackles our Coat Drive

Best Blogger Tips
Breakfast? Check. Exhausting workout? Check. Volunteer at Catholic Charities coat drive? Check. All before 11 am.

On Friday morning, 24 players from the University of Maryland Football team volunteered at the Catholic Charities Coats of Many Colors drive. Coming straight from an intense morning workout, they were surprisingly unfazed by the 1,500 coats piled in the center of the room. The team’s task for the next hour was to sort, organize, and hang each jacket so they were easy to pick out for future guests in need of a coat.

The coats, donated by parishes, schools and individuals throughout the Archdiocese, ranged from infant jackets to XXL men’s coats and the Terps jumped right in. Teammates on the field, the Terps worked together to sort, hang and organize the coats in their own fashion. Quarterback Caleb Rowe, flung coats from the middle of the room to his receivers by the hangers.

A few running backs were in charge of passing out hangers to each rack and a blur of Terps were working around the room.  Within one hour, all of the coats hung neatly from the racks ready to be distributed to the community the following morning.

Director of Player Development, Bryce Bevill coordinates service projects for the team throughout the year. “It gives them the chance to see how fortunate they are and also gives them a chance to be a part of the community and help out how they can,” said Bevill. Coordinating volunteer opportunities for busy college athletes can be difficult but for Bevill, and the athletes, they see it as a must.

“I realize there are people out there who are less fortunate than me and if I can help somebody else and make them smile, that makes me smile,” said junior running back Marcus Smith.

Staff from our New York Avenue shelter came to pick up coats and express thanks to the Terps for their service. The players, for the first time all morning, were silent and still listening to the struggles the homeless face and the impact a coat can have on their lives.

As the players piled on to the bus to head back for class, one player hung back.  He asked, “How much do the kids coats cost?” After doing the math, he donated $60 so that the first 30 kids on Saturday morning would get a free coat. Put a smile on 30 kids faces? Check.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Press Release from DC Government: Cold Emergency Activated through Weekend

Best Blogger Tips
Posting this important information here from DC Government, who we work closely with to administer many of our low-barrier and emergency hypothermia shelters:

 “Cold Emergency Plan” Activated Throughout the Weekend

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the Snow Emergency currently in effect in the District of Columbia, The Department of Human Services (DHS) in collaboration with the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) will keep the Cold Emergency Plan activated through Sunday, January 24, 2016 at 7:00 am. Under a “Cold Emergency Alert” additional services and supports are put in place to protect residents from life-threatening illness and injury associated with severe cold weather. During a Snow Emergency, warming sites are opened for residents in need of meals and a warm, safe place to be due to power failure or other emergency circumstances.

Friday, January 22, 2016—Sunday, January 24, 2016

Key services provided during Cold Emergency Alerts or Snow Emergency include:

Access to Emergency Shelter—Low-barrier, Hypothermia, and Overflow emergency shelters are open during Hypothermia and Cold Alerts.  

Access to Overnight Warming Sites—In order to provide access to a warm and safe facility, designated public buildings, such as recreation centers, may open during the day or overnight. Residents who lose power, and need a meal or a safe, warm place to be due to the Snow Emergency may access one of the Power Outage/Snow Emergency Warming Centers.

In cases where residents choose not to use the traditional low-barrier or hypothermia emergency shelters, these warming sites offer a warm and safe place to spend the night. Individuals may access these sites on their own or by contacting the Shelter Hotline for transportation.

Transportation to Warmth and Safety—Free transportation to an emergency shelter or warming site is provided to anyone experiencing homelessness in the District during a Cold Emergency Alert.  To request transportation to shelter for persons in DC who are experiencing homelessness, contact the toll-free Shelter Hotline: 1.800.535.7252 or 311. Include the time, the address or location of the sighting, and a description of the person’s appearance.

The District activates the Cold Emergency Plan when the temperature and wind chill drop to 15° F or when the temperature, with wind chill, is 20° F and there is an accompanying meteorological event such as snow. DHS, HSEMA and other agencies have determined that the weather as forecast presents a danger, especially to residents who are experiencing homelessness.

The following are low barrier and alert night emergency shelters and Snow Emergency warming site locations:

Cold Emergency Warming Sites
-Sherwood Recreation Center: 640 10th Street, NE (Women only)
-Emery Recreation Center: 5801 Georgia Avenue, NW (Co-ed)
-Guy Mason Recreation Center: 3600 Calvert Street, NW (Men)
-King Greenleaf Recreation Center: 201 N Street, SW (Co-ed)
-Trinidad Recreation Center: 1310 Childress Street, NE (Co-ed)
Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters
Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters for Women
-New Covenant Baptist Church: 1301 W Street, SE
-Community of Christ Church: 3526 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters for Men
-Banneker Recreation Center: 2500 Georgia Avenue, NW
-Raymond Recreation Center: 3725 10th Street, NW
-Kennedy Recreation Center: 1401 7th Street, NW
-Sacred Heart Church: 16th Street and Park Road, NW
-Salvation Army: 3335 Sherman Avenue, NW

Low-Barrier Emergency Shelters
Low-barrier Emergency Shelters for Women
- Harriet Tubman Shelter:  DC General Building 9, 1900 Massachusetts Avenue, SE
- John Young Shelter:  117 D Street, NW
- Nativity Shelter: 6010 Georgia Avenue, NW
- Open Door Shelter:  425 2nd Street, NW  (at E Street)

Low-barrier Emergency Shelters for Men
- 801 East Shelter:  801 Making Life Better Lane, SE
- Adams Place Shelter:  2210 Adams Place, NE 
- New York Avenue Shelter:  1355-57 New York Avenue, NE

Power Outage/Snow Emergency Warming Centers
- Columbia Heights Recreation Center: 1480 Girard Street, NW
- Volta Park Recreation Center: 1555 34th Street, NW
- Chevy Chase Recreation Center: 4001 Livingston Street, NW
- Riggs LaSalle Recreation Center: 501 Riggs Road, NE
-Turkey Thicket Recreation Center: 1100 Michigan Avenue, NE
-Rosedale Recreation Center: 500 19th Street, NE

-Bald Eagle Recreation Center: 186 Joliet Street, SW

Thursday, January 7, 2016

After 25 years, SHARE has a new home!

Best Blogger Tips
After more than 25 years, the SHARE Food Network has moved into a new warehouse.

“Wait, what happened?” you might be asking? “Didn’t I just go to the usual warehouse at the end of December,” you might also ask.

Yes. Our incredible team wrapped up the monthly December distribution of more than 9,000 healthy holiday hams and food packages at affordable prices, and then immediately started packing. In just four days, we moved out almost our entire warehouse, with four full bays of food, forklifts, storage shelves, and lots of other stuff!

But fear not, SHARE family, for our new and improved home is very close by!

And, more important, there’s a long list of improvements that our hardy and hearty SHARE veterans will appreciate, including:

  • Indoor heating and air conditioning!
  • Energy-efficient – helps us save on our bills!
  • A well-lit and paved parking lot – with much more space!
  • Better equipped for our differently-abled SHARE volunteers and customers!
  • A newer facility that will require less repairs!
We know many long-time SHARE volunteers take a certain amount of pride in toughing out the cold early mornings to deliver affordable food packages to families all across our region. But we hope you’ll enjoy the warmer and more spacious new digs anyway.

If you are a newbie to the SHARE Food Network, it sells affordable and healthy food packages to thousands of customers each year, usually at about half the cost of those same groceries in the store. In an area ranked as the most expensive in America to raise a family, the SHARE Food Network is a key part of helping families get by.

And the best news is – SHARE is open to everyone! Because we purchase food in bulk from the same wholesalers who sell to major grocery stores, the more we can order, the more we can save money for each other. It takes hundreds of volunteers every year to help it work, but we’ve been doing this for a long time now, so we’re getting pretty good at saving money and feeding families.
So why not order a package or two and use the new warehouse as an excuse to get to know SHARE?

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Catholic Charities Top 10 Moments of 2015!

Best Blogger Tips
This year was an exciting, inspiring, and rewarding year for us. From new partnerships with community businesses to incredible volunteer work to countless success stories in our programs, we have a lot to celebrate this year: Check out our Top 10 Moments of 2015!

#10: Inaugural JOBS Program Job Fair! 

Our JOBS program partnered with 20 local businesses and corporations to host their first ever job fair:150 individuals attended and all left with a great foot in the door to start or continue their career!

#9: Washington Wizards and Mystics Cup of Joe

As part of the NBA Hoops for Troops week, the Washington Wizards invited active-duty military, veterans, and families who lost a loved one in combat to watch them practice. After practice, the Wizards and their guests came together courtside to volunteer to help the homeless through our Cup of Joe program. More than 70 volunteers in packing 1,000 breakfast bags to be delivered to our shelters!

#8Mt. Carmel House Gets A Fabulous Makeover

My Girlfriend's House, Inc, a nonprofit that mentors and empowers at-risk girls, initiated a service project at Mt. Carmel House – a Makeover Party to spruce up the living spaces the residents call home. Our Mt. Carmel House is home to more than 20 women recovering from homelessness.

#7:  Angel Tree Delivers Presents to 1,175 Kids!

Thanks to the generosity of the community 1,175 kids in our Catholic Charities programs woke up with with presents under the tree this Christmas! 

#6: Homeless Jesus Statue arrives

On Ash Wednesday, Cardinal Donald Wuerl blessed the homeless Jesus statue that was newly installed outside our headquarters in downtown DC. Every day the sculpture reminds us of the most marginalized in our society and the importance of viewing each other as brothers and sisters. 

#5: Our Silver Spring Medical Clinic Earns Top Ratings!

This past spring, the McCarrick Medical Clinic located in Silver Spring earned a near perfect review in its annual review by the Primary Care Coalition. Major kudos to the team on seeing all of their hard work pay off! The annual quality control check is a balance of clinical and administrative review.

#4: Inaugural Washington Redskins Back to School Fair 

In August, we teamed up with the Redskins Charitable Foundation and community partners to host a huge Back to School Fair at FedEx Field. Volunteers and community partners helped more than 400 students receive the supplies and services they needed to start a successful school year.

#3: Walk with Francis Hits 100,000 pledges! 

As our gift to Pope Francis when he visited Washington, DC we set a goal of 100,000 individuals pledging to pray, serve or act to make their community a better place. A few days before the Holy Father's arrival, we hit that goal and eventually soared past 109,000 (see for yourself!).

#2: Campaign for Catholic Charities raises unprecedented $75 Million Dollars Raised! 

Catholic Charities strives to say “yes” to everyone who seeks our help. We challenged the community to say "yes" with us to help the most vulnerable in our midst through our Campaign for Catholic Charities. And the results were astounding! $75 million dollars raised! 

#1 Moment of 2015: Pope Francis Visits Catholic Charities!!! 

It is a day our agency, and more importantly our clients, will remember forever. On September 24, Pope Francis visited more than 500 of the people we serve during a stop at Catholic Charities main building downtown DC and St. Patrick's Parish next door. For every hand Pope Francis shook, every blessing he gave, every selfie he smiled for and every hug he embraced, it gave our clients hope. 

We can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for us! See you in the New Year! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What happens for the people we serve on Christmas?

Best Blogger Tips
For many of the employees working at Catholic Charities, Christmas is going to be a day away from work and the chance to spend time with family and friends. But not all of our programs and services can take even one day off. Several of our programs will be open, either hosting a Christmas for clients or serving on-call to respond to any emergencies.

Big thanks to our staff who work and make themselves available for our clients. Let's say a special prayer of thanks today for those volunteering or working in these programs:

Our Low-Barrier Shelters
Our low-barrier shelters are open 365 days a year. Thankfully, we have some great volunteers who will be coming in to sing, serve food, and share in the community of the day. Some volunteers serve a breakfast, while others serve lunch or dinner. But they bring a special warmth and cheer on this special day.

Our ChAMPS Team
This is a high-specialized team working to respond to crises for children and youth experiencing an emotional or behavioral challenge. Anyone in DC can call them to seek their help and our staff will be waiting to answer the call.

Our ICCP Team

This team works year-round in treating and serving adults with persistent and ongoing mental health challenges out in the community. Their work continues on Christmas as staff are available on-call to respond to emergencies or be available to their clients, many of whom are some of the most disengaged in our community.

Group Homes
We run several homes providing supported living for adults living with a developmental or intellectual disability, with full-time staff support available to respond to any emergencies and provide companionship.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A great month of food donations!

Best Blogger Tips
As part of their pledge to Walk with Francis, Goya Foods donated 50,000 pounds of food to Catholic Charities this month. It was part of a larger, 150,000 pound donation made to each city visited by Pope Francis this September.

For our part, the 50,000 pounds will be distributed throughout region of food programs and local parish food pantries. Goya officials delivered 5,000 pounds of their donation to our Spanish Catholic Center food pantry in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, DC on December 8.

Combine this generous donation with another incredible year by the Greg Gannon Memorial Food Drive held at Blessed Sacrament, many of the area food pantries are in good shape to meet the need for those who are hungry in our community!

Want to help out?

Donate food or get involved in helping out based on what's located near to you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

367 reasons to buy a kid a Christmas gift today!

Best Blogger Tips
Every year, we experience a Christmas miracle. Hundreds of kids in our programs, where their parents are helping build or rebuild a life for their family, ask for Christmas presents that their families cannot afford on a tight budget.

Our Catholic Charities Angel Tree helps out those parents. Right now, we are only at about 50% of our kids claimed for a gift - that's 367 kids as of this post!  

The Angel Tree is very simple. You pick a family that fits with how much you are able to give, and we provide you the first names, gender, age, and a few requests. Then you, your friends, or family, get to go shopping for someone else and deliver the gifts to our downtown offices.

Trust us, this is really a rewarding thing to do during a holiday season too often lost in the stress of more, more, more. A few facts to go along: 

  • Nearly half of all those who are homeless this year are in a family, as reported by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments annual Point in Time homeless survey. 
  • Most of these children and their families are in a Catholic Charities program, likely one with that works with low-income families.
  • There were 3,417 children counted among the homeless this year.

While a Christmas gift obviously won’t change these massive challenges, it is a token of hope. It lets each child and parent know they aren’t alone, that they are surrounded by a community who is thinking about them at a very hard time of the year.

So, can we count on you to help us make sure all 800 kids have a Merry Christmas?