Each Friday Catholic Charities' President, Msgr. John Enzler (or Father John, as he is known around the office), emails staff with a brief reflection before everyone heads out for the weekend. This week we'd like to share his weekly email and encourage everyone to stand up for some of our neediest neighbors: homeless families and individuals. Your first opportunity to help is tomorrow, September 22 at the Prince George's Cares Help the Homeless Walk - will we see you there?
While I have a very busy day tomorrow (Mass, two weddings, and a baptism – oh my!), I hope to spend part of my morning at the Prince George’s Cares Help the Homeless Walkathon, for which Catholic Charities is one of the beneficiary organizations. The Help the Homeless Walkathon, sponsored by Fannie Mae, is an annual fundraiser for local agencies that support the homeless in our region. Even though Fannie Mae won’t be holding the main walk on the National Mall as they have in years past, our Catholic Charities shelters and housing programs are still depending on the money raised through mini-walks like the one tomorrow.
When I was a pastor at Blessed Sacrament, I remember that Help the Homeless Walkathon season was always a chance to gather with like-minded, charity-conscious people who enjoy the exercise of a good walk and more importantly, the joy of helping local neighbors in need. It was also an important way for parishioners to come to grips with our struggling brothers and sisters who live sometimes next door – or I should say, who used to live “next door” but now have no home.
The statistics are scary. On any given night throughout the year there are an estimated 11,830 people in the Washington metropolitan area who have no home. That includes over 3,300 children. How can that be? This is the nation’s capital – a very affluent area. The Washington Post reported yesterday that our area had seven of the nation’s ten most affluent counties, based on average income. Tomorrow’s walk is a chance for those who are unwilling to accept that dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots to walk in solidarity with others.
There’s another reason, too. If we get 4,000 total walkers for Catholic Charities, our housing programs will receive an additional $50,000 grant from Fannie Mae. These 4,000 walkers can come from one of our two major events – tomorrow or on October 6 at the Catholic University of America - or local mini-walks at churches, schools, and community groups.
Can you join us tomorrow? The Walkathon begins at 9:30 am at Allen Pond Park in Bowie, MD (click here for map). All are welcome. I hope to see you there. If you are interested in the event on October 6, or if you are interesting in holding a mini-walk, you can learn more on our website: www.CatholicCharitiesDC.org/HTH. Remember, you need to register for your feet to count!
Have a great weekend and may God bless you,
More Catholic Charities
- If you can't join us, you can still support us - be a virtual walker!
- Did you know? Catholic Charities provides over 1,600 beds each night for people who are homeless so they have a safe place to sleep off the streets.