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!