Thursday, December 31, 2015

Catholic Charities Top 10 Moments of 2015!

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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?

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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!

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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!

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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?