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Bishop Daniel E. Thomas and volunteers from several area churches served a Christmas meal to 370 people at Helping Hands of St. Louis on December 23.

Bishop Thomas read the account of Christ’s birth from Luke’s Gospel before blessing the food.  Guests were invited to sit down while volunteers served them a meal of ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and desserts.

Jim Meads and Bishop Daniel E. Thomas serve a Christmas meal to Helping Hands of St. Louis guests.

Jim Meads and Bishop Daniel E. Thomas serve a Christmas meal to Helping Hands of St. Louis guests.

“It means a lot,” said Judy as her three-year-old daughter Hailey enjoyed a large spoonful of mashed potatoes.  Judy said her family sometimes needs help with food, and she is grateful for what is offered at Helping Hands.

Mr. Jones is another guest who comes on a regular basis for lunches.  He plays piano for worship at his church and said his faith is helping him through hard times.  “No one is going to be perfect, but we strive to be better … that’s why God sent Jesus and why He is the reason for the season.”

Mr. Jones appreciates the food and fellowship he finds at Helping Hands, describing the program as “God’s love being shared.”

The daily meals could not be possible without the help of dedicated volunteers.  Cheryl Sheffer, her son, John, and his children were all on hand to help serve the Christmas meal.  Both Cheryl and John volunteer at Helping Hands on a regular basis with their churches.

“I love these people,” Cheryl said.  “I always feel good after I’m here.  I am dead tired when I leave, but it’s a good tired.”

“When you live in the suburbs, you tend to get comfortable with your life,” John added.  “It’s good to be here with the people and share their burdens.”

In interviews with WNWO and WTOL, Bishop Thomas said he wanted to be part of serving the Christmas meal at Helping Hands because Jesus came as a poor infant in a stable.  As much as the poor need food and drink, what they need is the joy that comes from Jesus, he said.

Click here to learn more about Helping Hands of St. Louis.


Missionaries Teach Students How to Live a Life of Integrity

A group of seven young adult missionaries traveled throughout the Diocese of Toledo from Dec. 1 to 19 and spoke to youth groups about living a life of integrity and chastity. This is not your normal “abstain from sex” speech. Why? Because the Culture Project found a way to relate the conversation to their younger audiences by making their presentations interactive, referencing pop culture, giving personal experiences, tips and advice, and touching on tough subjects like love, marriage and sex.

Two missionaries spoke at St. Francis de Sales High School in Toledo on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

“Marriage is about sacrifice,” said Chad, a Culture Project missionary as he spoke to the students. He illustrated the theme of sacrifice by referencing the movie “127 Hours” – the true story of a man who amputated his own arm after being trapped under a boulder during a mountain climbing trip. The character in the movie was motivated to live after having a vision of his unborn son.

“He found his true happiness, not by giving up, but by making the radical sacrifice of love,” Chad said. “Happiness comes with sacrifice.”

The message resonated with many students, including senior Andy Oakley.

“Chad was really great and he gave good insight into what it really means to love,” Andy said. “I really like the story about the man who was stuck by the boulder. He realized that it was about more than just him. He did the ultimate sacrifice, and he cut off his arm for what he could be and who he could be for his child. It’s more than me. It’s about my future – what I can give and what I can give to my child.”

“I thought it was a really good presentation,” said senior Jacob Lang. “They didn’t preach at us, and they related to us pretty well. They have been in our place before and knew how to relate it to high school kids.”

To learn more about the Culture Project, visit www.restoreculture.com.

Dec. 9, 2014—Helping Hands of St. Louis is in need of 150 boneless hams by Dec. 15.  The East Toledo soup kitchen has received donations of 50 hams in the past week and needs many more to fill requests for 200 Christmas meal baskets.  Ingredients for side dishes have been donated, but the baskets are in need of the main course.

Helping Hands gives out meal baskets to provide a way for the soup kitchen’s regular guests to cook and eat a meal at home with their families on Christmas.  Support of the community is greatly appreciated to make this effort possible.

Donations may be sent to or dropped off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Helping Hands, 443 Sixth St., Toledo, OH 43605.  For more information or to arrange a different delivery time, please call Paul Cook at 419-691-0613, ext. 2.

DEC. 4, 2014—Catholic Charities’ Project Rachel program will host a Project Rachel retreat for “Hope and Healing After Abortion” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, at a confidential location in northwest Ohio.

The retreat is offered to help women who experience grief, anxiety, depression or guilt after a recent or past abortion to find healing and peace.  The retreat will include Scripture reflection, prayer and an opportunity to connect with a support system.

Project Rachel provides confidential resources to women and men suffering emotionally or psychologically after an abortion.  A helpline at 1-888-456-HOPE connects callers with various local opportunities for healing, including a monthly support group, professional counseling, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and pastoral and spiritual guidance.

“Abortion not only took my baby’s life, but it almost took mine,” said Molly, a past Project Rachel retreat participant.  “I am thankful for the Church and her ministry for teaching me to love myself and to live for God.”

The retreat cost is $20 and includes lunch.  Scholarships are available and pre-registration is required.  This event is limited to 10 participants.  To register or for more information, please contact Tara Woodbury at 1-888-456-HOPE or projectrachel@toledodiocese.org.

Dec. 3, 2014—Helping Hands of St. Louis is seeking donations of 200 boneless hams, one-pound containers of margarine or butter, boxes or packets of instant mashed potatoes, apples and oranges for Christmas baskets by Dec. 15.  The East Toledo outreach center is also in need of toys, children’s undergarments and socks by Dec. 12.

“We are very grateful to the community for their support each year,” says Paul Cook, director of Helping Hands.  “The community made it possible for us to serve over 500 people for our Thanksgiving lunch.  We are in need of additional support to provide a Christmas meal to our clients.  Our greatest need right now is hams.”

Donations may be sent to or dropped off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Helping Hands, 443 Sixth St., Toledo, OH 43605.  For more information or to arrange a different delivery time, please call Paul Cook at 419-691-0613, ext. 2.

DEC. 2, 2014—Sacred Heart School in Shelby, Ohio, will host an assembly to present more than 1,000 rolls of toilet paper to veterans in need who are served by Catholic Charities.  The assembly will be Friday, Dec. 5, from 11 to 11:30 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Church Gymnasium, 5754 State Rt. 61 South, Shelby, Ohio 44875.

Dale Warren will offer a thank you on behalf of the veterans.  Two students from Sacred Heart School and winners of this year’s Patriot Pen Essay Contest will read their essays on the theme, “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans.”

Throughout the month of October, Sacred Heart School students participated in a toilet paper drive for the veterans.  The idea for the drive came when Principal Lisa Meyers inquired about items needed to help local veterans.

“Sue Warren (case manager for Catholic Charities) explained to me that Catholic Charities could get funding for things like housing and food for veterans, but they couldn’t get funding for the basic necessities like toilet paper,” Meyers said.

Sacred Heart School’s 98 students collected a total of 1,039 rolls of toilet paper.

“Living without basic hygiene necessities can reduce one’s self-esteem.  The toilet paper collected in the drive will provide a basic need to our veterans and make their lives easier,” Sue Warren said.

“Our students, staff and parents are very thankful for what our veterans have done for our country.  Through Christ, this is our way of showing our gratitude,” Meyers said.



“The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation.” ~ John F. Kennedy

The war on hunger is still a growing battle with little signs of an end. In Toledo, more than 85,000 people – that’s nearly 1 in 5 Lucas County residents – face hunger, according to The Toledo Blade.

The need for food does not end during the holiday season. Helping Hands of St. Louis has experienced a significant increase in food requests in recent months compared to 2013.  Director Paul Cook attributes the increases to the average 30 percent drop in food stamp benefits and more families moving into the East Toledo area. The decrease in benefits leave families with limited options for meals year-round.

Every year, Help Hands of St. Louis and other organizations in Lucas County pitch in to provide meals to those in need during the holiday season. Below is a list of dates and locations for Thanksgiving meals this year:

Helping Hands of St. Louis, 443 Sixth Street, Toledo, 419-691-0613. Thanksgiving Lunch on Tuesday, November 25, from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving Day and on Friday, November 28.

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Toledo (Church Hall, corner of Cherry and Summit Sts.) Thanksgiving Luncheon on Thursday, November 20, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Children’s Corner, health care and homeless-related services available at 10:30 a.m. Bus/van service from MLK Kitchen for the Poor at 10 a.m. (650 Vance St.); Family House at 10:15 a.m. (669 Indiana); Helping Hands of St. Louis at 10:30 a.m. (443 Sixth Street); and the Thomas M. Wernert Center at 10:35 a.m. (208 W Woodruff). Sponsored by City of Toledo Department of Neighborhoods.

M.L.K. Center – Kitchen for the Poor, 650 Vance St., Toledo, 419-241-2596. Lunch on Wednesday, November 26, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving Day and on Friday, November 28.

St. Paul’s Community Center, 230 13th St., Toledo, 419-255-5520. Wednesday, November 26, Lunch from Noon – 1:30 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Augsburg Lutheran Church, 1342 West Sylvania Ave., Toledo. Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day. Delivery or Pick up only. To place an order, call Cindy at 419-704-3114 by November 22. Meals delivered after 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Christ the King Church, 4100 Harvest Lane at Monroe St., Toledo, 419-475-4348.
Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Dinner 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Pilgrim Church, 1375 Sylvania Ave., Toledo, 419-478-6012. Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Dinner 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

St. Joan of Arc Church, 5856 Heatherdowns Blvd, Toledo, 419-866-6181. Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Dinner 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the school gym.

Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission, 1917 Jefferson Ave., Toledo, 419-241-6579. Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Breakfast 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Saturday, November 29, Thanksgiving Dinner – Chapel at 5:00 p.m. followed by dinner.
Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission Outreach Center, 670 Phillips Avenue, Toledo, 419-478-1005. Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Dinner 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Cherry Street Mission, 1919 Madison Ave, Toledo, 419-242-5141. Thanksgiving Lunch will be served on Sunday, November 30, from Noon – 1 p.m at 1919 Madison. (Note: Thanksgiving Day dinner for Mission residents is served off-site.)

The Culture Project

The Culture Project is coming to the Diocese of Toledo and is excited to visit your school, parish and/or youth group!  While here, seven young adult missionaries from the group will travel throughout the Diocese spreading the message to restore culture through the experience of virtue.

Based out of Philadelphia, The Culture Project International began in July 2014 with the goal of educating youth about the dignity of the human person and about sexual integrity.  The Culture Project “is an initiative of young people set out to restore culture through the experience of virtue.”  This group of missionaries reaches out to thousands of students across the country and around the world through story-telling, real life examples, natural law and scientific evidence. The presentations are suitable for a variety of different settings: the classroom, auditorium,  youth groups, rallies, etc.

The Culture Project will be in Northwest Ohio December 1-19.  Current dates and locations are:

  • Calvert High School, Tiffin: Monday, Dec. 1, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Saint Francis de Sales High School, Toledo: Tuesday, Dec. 2, 8:25 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • St. Wendelin High School, Fostoria: Wednesday, Dec. 3, 12 noon – 2:30 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 4, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • St. Aloysius, Bowling Green: Wednesday, Dec. 3, 6:30 p.m.
  • St. John, Defiance: Wednesday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m.
  • Christ the King Catholic School in Toledo: Friday, Dec. 5, 1 p.m.
  • St. Rose, Perrysburg: Sunday, Dec. 7, time 6 p.m.
  • St. Peter, Huron: Sunday, Dec. 7, 6 p.m.
  • St. Mary, Leipsic: Sunday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m.
  • St. Joseph Catholic High School, Fremont: Monday, Dec. 8, 8 a.m.
  • St. Paul Junior High and High School in Norwalk: Tuesday, Dec. 9, 8 a.m.
  • St. John, Glandorf: Tuesday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 10, 7 p.m.
  • St. Kateri Tekawitha Middle School in Oregon: Thursday, Dec. 11, 11:30 a.m.
  • Notre Dame Academy in Toledo: Thursday, Dec. 11, 3 p.m.
  • Bowling Green State University, Veritas Catholic Life Group: Thursday, Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m.
  • Lima Central Catholic High School: Friday, Dec. 12, 8 a.m.
  • St. Ursula Academy: Friday Dec. 12, 11 a.m.
  • St. Jerome, Oregon: Sunday, Dec. 14, 9 a.m.
  • St. Joseph, Maumee: Sunday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m.
  • St. Patrick of Heatherdowns, Toledo: Sunday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m.
  • St. Peter’s High School in Mansfield: Monday, Dec. 15 and Tuesday, Dec. 16, 8 a.m.
  • St. John, Delphos: Tuesday, Dec. 16, 9:30 a.m.
  • Blessed Sacrament Middle School: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 8:30 a.m.
  • Bowling Green Covenant Church, Bowling Green: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 7 p.m.
  • St. Joan of Arc: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 6:30 p.m
  • St. Nicholas, Miller City: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 7-8 p.m.

How Do I Bring The Culture Project to My School or Parish?

If your church, school or youth group is interested in hosting one of the two presentations on human dignity and sexual integrity, please contact Marriana Leach at mleach@restoreculture.com and CC Peter Range, Catholic Charities Respect Life Program Coordinator, at prange@toledodiocese.org.  There is no fee for hosting a presentation, but donations are accepted.

How Can I Further Support The Culture Project?

Typically, having seven full-time missionaries like this would cost $5,000 dollars a week, but because The Culture Project felt called to come to the Toledo Diocese they are not charging their typical fee.  Instead, they are simply asking for any financial help that is on our heart’s to put forth for the cause.  If you are able to help, again, contact Marriana Leach at mleach@restoreculture.com.

For more information about The Culture Project, please visit their website at www.restoreculture.com.


Nov. 4, 2014—TOLEDO—Helping Hands of St. Louis is asking the community for donations of frozen turkeys, boneless hams, and other holiday food to serve and distribute for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The East Toledo soup kitchen expects to serve 500 people for a Thanksgiving lunch and to distribute 200 frozen turkeys to families and individuals in need.  Helping Hands will provide about 200 Christmas food baskets to families to make it possible for families to cook and enjoy their holiday meal together at home.

Meat, boxed stuffing, canned sweet potatoes, canned cranberry sauce, eggs, milk and fresh fruit are requested by Nov. 19 for Thanksgiving and by Dec. 15 for Christmas.

Donations may be delivered between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at Helping Hands’ soup kitchen at 443 Sixth St., Toledo.  To arrange for a different delivery time, please call Paul Cook at 419-691-0613, ext. 2.

Oct. 31, 2014—Catholic Charities invites runners and walkers of all skill levels to join the Catholic Charities Team for the 2015 Glass City Marathon to raise money to help provide food, clothing, and shelter in northwest Ohio. Catholic Charities is hosting an informational kick-off meeting Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. at Dave’s Running Shop at 26567 N. Dixie Highway in Perrysburg.

At this time, the agency is particularly recruiting those interested in forming fundraising teams from churches, schools and companies; however, anyone is welcome to attend the informational meeting.

Registration for the team is open at www.catholiccharitiesteam.kintera.org. To RSVP for the meeting, please email astargell@toledodiocese.org or call 419-244-6711, ext. 232.

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