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: www.sharedc.org

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!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Is This On Your Religious Bucket List?

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A post from our President and CEO, Msgr. John Enzler, on Holy Week 
 
In my current role with Catholic Charities, I often write about service to the poor and the many blessings it provides to not just to those who are served but also to those who do the serving. This time, I’d like to focus on serving yourself, especially your prayerfulness and spiritual journey. Holy Week presents us with a unique opportunity.

As a priest, I am blessed to attend at least one retreat a year. This is true for my fellow priests, many religious and lay people as well. At the same time, I know many others who have difficulty finding time for a retreat because of what’s going on in their lives. I encourage them – and all of us – to make Holy Week our own personal retreat.

This means participating in the liturgies of Holy Week, which allow us to experience the Church in its fullness, celebrating these holiest of days and Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. If you’ve never done this before, I highly encourage you to consider it for this year. 

Experiencing Holy Week should be on everyone’s religious bucket list, and once you’ve done it, you’ll want to do it again.

Throughout these liturgies, the idea of procession – or journey – comes to mind:

  • Palm Sunday: We process with the palms into the church as Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem.
  • Holy Thursday: Many people process to have their feet washed as Jesus did for his disciples, and many also process as the priest removes the Blessed Sacrament from the church to the altar of repose, where it will remain until the Easter Vigil on Saturday night.
  • Good Friday: We process through Stations of the Cross and to venerate the cross.
  • Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil: The light of Christ returns with the resurrection, and we begin with a newly lit fire outside of the church and process inside with candles.

Holy Week is a gift, a chance to truly walk with the Lord on his journey as he walks daily with us on ours. It is an opportunity to better understand the depth of his love and sacrifice, which can only draw us closer. And it is a chance to finish Lent strong, whether or not it has gone as you had hoped up to this point. With God, we always get another chance.

I wish you a blessed Triduum and joyous Easter. If you have a chance to make it your own personal retreat, you will join Peter in his exuberance at the Transfiguration and say, “Lord, it is good that we are here.” (Matthew 17:4)

Happy Easter!

Msgr. John Enzler

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Introducing. . .The Enzler Society

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Guest post from Kristen and Stephen Conley, Enzler Society Executive Committee Co-Chairs


We hope the mission of The Enzler Society is evident throughout this first blog post of ours, as we know it will be in April at the Catholic Charities’ Gala After Party.

Father John Enzler’s original concept behind “Young Professionals for Catholic Charities” was simple: to raise awareness about and add passion for Catholic Charities’ vital work among the young crowd.  While our age group (21-39) is typically trying to balance new ‘adult life’ challenges like graduating college, moving out on our own, getting married, purchasing a home for the first time, and/or starting to raise a family; hours in the day—or extra cash—are not things we always have plenty of to spare.  So, how do we share the news of Catholic Charities' great work and create simple, time—and cost-efficient—ways to give back?


Together with our fellow founding members we are working hard to figure it out.  We have recently implemented new committees which will each focus on our growing society’s goals: building our membership, generating awareness, increasing our service opportunities, and sustaining a viable budget.


Our First Service Success
The Holiday Party for the YTP residents was an 
evening of good food, conversation and gifts. 
True Christmas spirit!
We are excited to share that our very first holiday party for the Youth Transitional Program, a nine-month transitional housing program for men ages 18-24, was a huge success in December. Members donated items - from toiletries to sweatshirts to gift cards - and made sure every YTP resident had a Christmas gift to open.This is something we hope to do now for years to come.

Members brave the cold to help bag potatoes!
To kick off the Lenten season, our Service Committee organized a group of volunteers bag food at the SHARE warehouse in preparation of its monthly distribution of affordable food packages to local families. This is another project we will be looking to repeat frequently.

The Enzler Society has also committed to providing baked goods to St. Maria’s Meals one Wednesday a month for the rest of the year so that the men and women being served can enjoy homemade desserts. Our Founding Members look forward to incorporating a Cup of Joe service project into each in-person meeting we have.


After party-goers snap this photo from last year's event.
See You in April!

In the meantime, we are currently planning our biggest and best Catholic Charities’ Gala After Party to date. Our After Party Committee is busy generating buzz about the event, securing incredible raffle prizes, determining the perfect signature cocktail, late-night buffet options, and more—ensuring it will truly be a night to remember. 


We’ll plan to see you April 25th! Until then...

On behalf of each founding member, we thank you for your support in The Enzler Society. Given our namesake, we have major shoes to fill and big places to go and we look forward to gaining your participation along the way. 

Join us on Facebook and Twitter to see all the great work and great fun!