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July 23, 2014—MANSFIELD—Catholic Charities will host a Guardian and Caregiver Support Group meeting 6-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 6, at Resurrection Church, 2600 Lexington Avenue, Lexington, Ohio 44904.

The Guardian and Caregiver Support Group meetings are held every other month to educate and support those who are guardians or caregivers to elderly individuals. August guest speaker, Beverly Tatro, will discuss the importance of ombudsman services for adult guardianship. Beverly is the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program Director for the Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging in Mansfield.

The meetings are free and open to the public. For additional information, please contact Brenda Starr-Jude at 419-524-0733 ext. 223 or bstarrjude@toledodiocese.org.

Community members keep Helping Hands equipped to serve hot meals

With the help of food and financial donations, Helping Hands of St. Louis feeds hundreds of people each day at the soup kitchen and food pantry in East Toledo.

In recent years, the number of clients served at Helping Hands steadily increased due to economic decline.  At the same time, government funding for food assistance dramatically decreased.  But thanks to the generosity of the local community, we remained stocked with meat, bread and vegetables for daily hot meals.

The staff at Helping Hands couldn’t have been more pleased with the extra help from our community.  But the center was soon faced with a new problem.

“There was no place to put donations, and we were getting overwhelmed with frozen meat and vegetables,” says Helping Hands Director, Paul Cook.  “We didn’t want to give it all away because of the need for daily meals.”

Freezer space was not the only problem Helping Hands ran into.  The outreach center’s van needed to be replaced.  Without it, the staff were left without a way to pick up donated food from local grocery stores.

But Helping Hands didn’t have to wait long for assistance.  As has happened so many times before, generous people stepped forward provide what was needed.

With the financial help of Jim Meads and others, Helping Hands of St. Louis expanded their freezer space from 10 x 8 feet to a larger 10 x 22 foot walk-in freezer.

About the same time, Helping Hands received word from Paul Krause and his wife, Carol, that they would be willing to donate their used van.

“Our daughter Gretchen volunteers at Helping Hands, and she became aware of the need for transportation,” Mr. Krause says.

Thanks to the love and care of our “angels,” Helping Hands can continue to be an asset to the East Toledo Community and our clients.

“They have good hearts, and we’re blessed to have their support,” Paul Cook says.  “With their help, we can keep serving 300 to 400 meals a day.”

Below is a letter from former client, Nicolle Kelley, expressing gratitude for the help she received to bring financial stability to her family.

Nicolle was a client of the Community Emergency Services offered at Catholic Charities in Norwalk.  In addition to providing emergency rent assistance, the program includes a workshop to teach clients about budgeting, identity theft, credit reporting and other useful information to help in making informed decisions about financial issues.

Since attending the workshop, Nicolle has changed her shopping habits, moved into a more affordable house, started volunteering and attends church weekly.

Thanks to you – our donors – we are able to make programs like this possible.

Our family is very thankful and grateful that we were able to receive the assistance that you all so kindly helped us with in our time of need. Marla was the woman that helped us and was wonderful.  We thank you all for your help, and the class I took in budgeting helped us tremendously.

So far with what I have learned by coming here, I have actually been able to budget shop and save a little bit of money for extras or emergencies.  Thank you all very much and God bless every one of you…

I honestly believe that having needed help and coming to Catholic Charities and being treated with nothing but respect, kindness, and caring, and getting the help we needed, has helped me and my family in more ways than with just the rental assistance.

I feel as if I am a better person inside and out since coming to your facility.  We have been able to budget a great deal better than we had before, and it opened us to attending church regularly again, which we are very excited about.

I am just trying to express how thankful and grateful we are knowing that there are good organizations and people left in today’s society …

Thank you all so much!  I have learned a lot from this program and am very grateful that it is out there for people in need.  I believe this is an excellent program that you have, God bless each and every one of you.  I wanted to express to you how much you have helped our family and how we are so grateful for it.  It opened my eyes and my heart and now I am doing volunteer work to help out others in need!

God bless and thank you,

Nicolle Kelley

We would like to give a special welcome to our new Respect Life Coordinator, Peter Range.

Peter graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Masters in Theology and a focus in Biblical Studies in 2009. Preceding Notre Dame, Peter received his Bachelor of Arts in History from John Carroll University in 2004. Upon his graduation from John Carroll, Peter spent a year volunteering in Immokalee, Florida where he worked with immigrant and migrant families. He continued his volunteer experience at St. Martin de Porres High School, part of the Cristo Rey Network of Schools in Cleveland, Ohio where he worked with inner city youth.

[singlepic id=472 w=320 h=240 float=right]Peter subsequently taught Scripture for 3 years at St. Martin de Porres and eventually entered the Society of Jesus to discern a call to the religious life. After experiencing the love of Jesus Christ on a 30 day silent retreat, Peter moved on to ‘Opportunity House’ where he lived with former foster care young men who were formerly homeless. While at Opportunity House, Peter also worked vigorously for the ’40 days for life’ campaign to spread a culture of life in Cleveland and beyond.

Finally, Peter began his time at St. Thomas More University Parish as Lead Campus Minister in the summer of 2011 which included leading a Bible Study at our LaPosada Emergency Family Shelter. The fifth of six children, Peter is passionate about family, service and encountering the one true God, Jesus Christ. He loves to read, play sports and simply converse on life’s biggest issues and questions.

Urban Activist And Author Relates Problems with Charity Work

In almost three months, Robert Lupton, nationally renowned author and urban activist in Atlanta, will be a guest speaker  for our 100th Anniversary Celebration in Mansfield.  His latest book, “Toxic Charity,” will be the topic of conversation as members of the Mansfield community come together to find ways to help those who are in need.

For more information about the 100th Anniversary Celebration in Mansfield, please click here.

Urban Activist And Author Relates Problems with Charity Work
By Josef Kuhn
Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) Food pantries, clothes closets and mission trips have become unquestioned bastions of America’s charitable landscape. But do these well-intended services — many of them run by religious organizations — really help the poor?

According to Robert Lupton, not really. His new book, “Toxic Charity,” draws on his 40 years’ experience as an urban activist in Atlanta, and he argues that most charitable work is ineffective or actually harmful to those it is supposed to help.

Lupton is the founder of FCS Urban Ministries, through which he has developed mixed-income subdivisions that house hundreds of families. He is the author of four other books and holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Georgia.

Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: You say churches and charities can harm those they propose to help. How?

A: Typically, the giving is one-way: those of us with the resources give to those with a lack of resources. One-way giving tends to make the poor objects of pity, which harms their dignity. It also erodes their work ethic and produces a dependency that is unhealthy both for the giver and the recipient.

Q: What is one of the worst instances of `toxic charity’ you have witnessed?

A: The food pantry idea has led to some fairly ugly relationships. The church or group sets up rules to govern how the food is distributed; the recipients figure out ways to circumvent those rules; and they become upset when they don’t get the food they wanted — there’s a kind of a built-in antagonism that grows between the dispensers and the recipients.

Q: Why do you think ill-formed charity is so pervasive?

A: The feel-good experience draws us back in. In our newsletters about mission trips we report how wonderful and grateful the people are, but what we don’t hear are the ways that the trips damage people behind the scenes.

I don’t think we’ve held up good models of development. When there’s a flood or a hurricane, folks continue operating on a one-way, crisis, give-to-the-poor mentality long after development should have taken place, because it’s easier for relief agencies to sell crisis than development and empowerment.

Q: You advise limiting one-way giving to “emergency situations.” What do you define as an emergency situation?

A: A home burning down, a bad hurricane, a devastating earthquake, a famine. What we interpret as crisis, particularly in the U.S., is a different matter. Many of those who are running our food pantries and our clothes closets, for example, feel they are meeting a crisis need of unemployed families. I contend that those are chronic poverty issues that deserve a development strategy.

Q: What is one of the best examples you have seen of a charity that works well?

A: We converted our food pantry into a food co-op. Members of the co-op put in $3 a week; with that, we can purchase $30 worth of groceries from the food bank. The members of the co-op actually own it, run it, collect the money, do the shopping and decide what the rules are. It becomes an empowering process.

Q: Are there any wide-scale studies or statistical data to support your claims?

A: On a national scale, look at the results of the one-way giving that has gone into countries in Africa or Haiti over the years. Those statistics are available, and they’re blatant. But I don’t know of any studies that have been done to quantify the harm versus the benefits of U.S. food distribution. It’s an unexamined industry.

Q: It seems like you could be facing some heat for this idea; what has been the reaction so far?

A: I’ve gotten mixed reviews. It confirms the suspicions of a growing number of people, but for those who are involved in the distribution, it feels like a slap in the face. I think the whole thing is going to be fairly controversial.

Q: What’s the most controversial idea in the book?

A: It might be that most of our service projects and mission trips are counterproductive. We spend as much as $5 billion dollars annually on mission trips, millions of Americans take them every year, and the amount of good accomplished is very, very minimal compared to the expenditures we’re laying out.

Q: Is your book a justification for libertarian politics?

A: I don’t think it is a political book at all. It is a practical book — it has to do with the practice of charity. It calls for responsible charity, examined charity, rather than mindless charity.

For more, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/12/robert-lupton-toxic-charity_n_1007751.html

In 2010, a string of deadly tornados tore through Millbury, Ohio leaving very little to come to for Sandy and Bruce Tucker. 

Life for retirees Sandy and Bruce Tucker in Millbury was tranquil.  Their house sat in the midst of a heavy wooded area in a small town surrounded by the peaceful noise of nature.

“We thought that we had paradise,” Sandy says.  “We live out in the deep woods very private,” Bruce adds.  “You couldn’t even hear cars or trains.”

In June of 2010, the Tuckers decided to take a vacation to Daytona Beach, Florida.  Shortly after arriving to their destination, Sandy and Bruce received an urgent phone call.

“My son called me,” Bruce says.  “He said we needed to come home.”

While the couple was in Florida, a string of deadly tornadoes ripped through the quiet towns of Millbury, Lake Township, and other surrounding towns.  The tornados destroyed almost everything in their path, including the wooded paradise the Tuckers called home.

“If we would’ve been home, we would’ve died,” Bruce says.  “The house was 85 percent gone.” Sandy explained. Bruce and Sandy lost everything that day.

“We were bewildered,” Bruce remembers.   “We were sort of like in a daze.  We lived in motels and rented a house.  We had to completely gut everything”

Rebuilding their home was a challenge and finding financial assistance to help clear debris was even more difficult.

“It was really hard to get assistance,” Bruce says.  “Our insurance covered the house and its contents. Outside, it didn’t cover a thing.”

After weeks of recovery, the couple’s prayers for financial aid were answered through a divine message from God.

“We were in church one Sunday and we heard about Catholic Charities’ assistance for tornado victims.”  Sandy says.

Sandy and Bruce contacted Catholic Charities and applied for financial assistance through the Disaster Relief program located in Mansfield, Ohio.

“About a month later we received money from Catholic Charities to use for stomp removal and tree clearance,” Bruce says.

With help from Catholic Charities, community volunteers and organizations, Sandy and Bruce were able to move back into their home November 2010. Now, the couple is back to hosting family gatherings and enjoying their new serenity of beautiful open fields left behind after the massive tree removal.

“My advice to others, It’s not the end of the world. It may look like but it’s not. It gets better day by day,” says Bruce.

Life after the devastating event has never been exactly the same for the couple.  But the union of community volunteers and organizations like Catholic Charities has truly restored their faith in humanity.

“There are a lot of good people out there” says Richard.  “We can’t say thanks enough.” Sandy adds.

July 2, 2014—NORWALK—Local residents who are struggling to manage household expenses can learn new tips at workshops hosted by Catholic Charities in Erie and Huron Counties. Those who attend a free Basic Budgeting Skills Workshop in July will be entered into drawings for a gas gift card.

Participants will learn about smart shopping, reducing expenses, household and utility savings, saving for future needs or emergencies, and paying off debt.

The workshop will be offered 1-3 p.m. Monday, July 7, and Monday, July 21, at Catholic Charities offices in Norwalk.  The workshop will also be offered 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at Holy Angels Catholic Church in Sandusky.  The workshops are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.

To register and for more information, please contact Catholic Charities at 419-668-3073, ext. 103 or msommers@toledodiocese.org.  Funding for the workshops is provided by Norwalk Area United Fund and GeoTrac Foundation.

img_1096Catholic Charities is thankful to have the Catholic HEART Workcamp teens back at Helping Hands of St. Louis for the third year in a row. In past years, the high school volunteers built a handicap ramp and shelving for the clothing center, fixed a fence and landscaped.

This year, the teens painted several rooms in the outreach center, repaired broken concrete and installed a water drain. One teen astonished staff, volunteers and clients with a mural of Jesus in the soup kitchen cafeteria.

“I look forward to these students coming every year,” said Paul Cook, Helping Hands director.  “They do such a great job and make an impact on the surrounding neighborhood.  The students also seem to get a lot of fulfillment out of helping people.  They don’t often see this level of poverty, and it seems to open their eyes.”

June 30, 2014—TOLEDO—Beginning July 1, four local shelters will begin implementing efforts to reduce barriers for homeless families moving into permanent housing.  The efforts are made possible by a $60,000 grant from the Toledo Community Foundation through the ProMedica Advocacy Fund. 

Recipient shelters include Catholic Charities’ La Posada Family Emergency Shelter, Family House, Aurora Project and Bethany House.  Of the 381 families that were housed in these shelters last year, more than 150 faced barriers that delayed their transition into permanent housing by over a week.  Over 80 percent of the families had children under the age of 18.

The grant will be used to assist with utility costs, first month’s rent and other challenges that may hinder families from moving into permanent housing.

“This is an example of agencies coming together to find a way to best serve people in our community while reducing redundancies, cost and inefficiencies,” said Rodney Schuster, executive director of Catholic Charities.  “We are very excited for this partnership and look forward to success and positive results.”

June 30, 2014—TOLEDO—Catholic Charities’ Helping Hands of St. Louis will open its doors to a new client choice food pantry on Tuesday, July 1.  The pantry will be open every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Previously, clients who came to the Helping Hands’ pantry received pre-packaged bags with the same food items for each family.  “A lot of clients would receive food they wouldn’t use or their family didn’t need,” said Sue Shrewsbery, staff member at Helping Hands.  The food pantry provides an average of 200 bags of groceries each month.

The new format will provide clients with a grocery store atmosphere and allow clients to choose food based on their individual or family’s needs.  The pantry will be divided into nutritional categories: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meats and combination foods/miscellaneous.  Clients will also have the opportunity to pick items dependent on household size.

Helping Hands has partnered with the Toledo Lucas County Health Department for the creation of the client choice pantry.  The Health Department donated shopping carts, nutritional pamphlets and recipes. 

Catholic Charities also operates a client choice pantry in Mansfield, called the H.O.P.E. Pantry.  “The client choice format provides people with dignity because they are able to choose what is best for themselves and their family,” said Catholic Charities Executive Director Rodney Schuster.

Our Mission

Catholic Charities makes real the love God has for each individual regardless of faith or background, by serving the poor, speaking for and assisting the neglected and forgotten, respecting and promoting life from beginning to end, and nurturing and supporting individuals and families.

Catholic Charities Northwest Ohio