Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The first step to healthier eating for low-income families? Making it easier to get good food!

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When it comes to eating healthy, for low-income families there's a big question they often have to face: how far am I able to travel for fresh, affordable, and healthy food?

Local carrots for sale from the grand
opening on May 4!
According to the USDA, 23.5 million Americans live in a food desert - geographic areas where access to affordable, healthy food options (aka fresh fruits and veggies) is limited or nonexistent because grocery stores are too far away. The problem only gets exacerbated if you depend on public transportation and limited income.

Catholic Charities, in conjunction with Miller Farms, is aiming to solve this problem in a food desert right in our backyard. Miller Farms, a longtime staple of southern Prince George's county, operates a weekly farmer’s market in the parking lot of Catholic Charities’ forthcoming Susan D. Mona Center in Prince George’s County Maryland. The idea is simple: provide affordable, healthy, and fresh fruits and vegetables to residents of southern Prince George’s County – including the growing group of low-income families turning to our new Mona Center for assistance.

While the final details of the Mona Center are still being finalized, we know it will eventually be a hub of services and space for the local community. And right now, every Wednesday afternoon and evening from 2-7 pm, it is a place to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

Look at those beautiful fruits!
“This is exactly what we want the Mona Center to be doing,” said Msgr. John Enzler, President and CEO of Catholic Charities. “We want to be a community-center that brings people together, providing help to those who need it and creating a lasting bond among neighbors. People can always bond around food.”

The farmer's market will accept EBT and SNAP benefits but all residents of Prince George’s County are encouraged to stop by the Mona Center parking lot every Wednesday from 2 PM to 7 PM to pick up fresh, local food.  We hope to see you there!

Visit the Miller Farm Farmer’s Market

Where: Susan D. Mona Center parking lot

When: Every Wednesday, 2 pm to 7pm 

Why: To get delicious, fresh, and affordable food! 

Monday, May 2, 2016

$2 Million Dollars Raised for Catholic Charities

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On Saturday, April 30, the main ballroom of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel was filled with more than 1,000 people at the Catholic Charities Gala, laughing and dancing much like a large, albeit fancy, family reunion. The annual event is the most important night to fundraise for the 83 programs working locally and it did not disappoint. Gala Chair James V. Reyes announced the evening had raised $2,000,000!
Cardinal Wuerl shares his thanks for our supporters

But the highlight of the evening was watching three Catholic Charities clients who had the chance to greet Pope Francis share their story during a short video. Spontaneous applause broke out several times as stirring images of the Pope flashed across the room. Each client spoke of the excitement and peace at the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they had experienced while getting help at Catholic Charities.

Amidst the tuxedos and gowns, the theme of the night was clear; Catholic Charities is able to help 120,000 men, women, and children each year because of the generous support of the community. Father John, James V. Reyes, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl each expressed their gratitude for the people who donate their time and their resources to help Catholic Charities reach the marginalized and poor in our Archdiocese.

Chair James V. Reyes (top left), Father John (top center)
Cardinal Donald Wuerl (top middle) and honored guests
The funds raised by the Gala, considered “unrestricted”, meaning they can be plugged into any use needed, are vital for supporting many of the services that our clients could otherwise not afford to pay for. 

As Pope Francis said during his visit to us, "Charity is born of the call of a God who continues to knock on our door, the door of all people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service of one another." It's times like the gala that remind us of all the people who answer this call every day. Thank you!