Catholic Social Services’ broad mission provides strategic ‘works of love’

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Catholic Social Services in Alaska has eight different programs, each and every one of which could stand alone, but they all stand together under our mission to compassionately serve the poor and those in need, strengthen individuals and families, and advocate for social justice. The fact that we have a diversity of programs speaks to the needs in our community. Catholic Social Services has built itself to grow and fit with the needs of our population. Our broad mission allows that flexibility.

In our emergency shelters at Clare House and Brother Francis Shelter staff members help to provide a safe and warm place to stay while our Homeless Family Services program and case managers work with men and women and children at the shelters and in the community to find permanent housing and employment.

Over at the St. Francis House Food Pantry, on any given day we help more than 100 families get emergency food supplies. This food allows families to spend money where they need it, often for rent, utilities and medical bills.

Our Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services program helps refugees start new successful lives after fleeing fear and persecution. It is a housing first model for our homeless brothers and sisters from around the world, supporting them and welcoming them to their new community.

Our Family Disability Services provides care for individuals who experience developmental disabilities and offers a support system for their families. The support allows families time, space and resources to be successful in so many ways.

Our Pregnancy Support and Adoption Services program supports pregnant women, birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees through child placement, education, counseling and continued family support. We are finding loving forever homes for children.

Our Charlie Elder House helps homeless, troubled teenage boys to live independently, achieve academic success, maintain positive relationships and contribute to the community. It is an option for a vulnerable population that often has such limited choices in our world.

Having one agency that does so much sometimes masks the sheer quantity of work accomplished under our CSS umbrella. It could appear too broad for just one agency. However, a great number of our clients have many needs and require multiple services. Having those needed services as a part of our agency allows us to serve many needs. The concept of having them under one roof make a lot of sense.

We are strategic and efficient in delivering our services by partnering with each other as programs and providing support for our clients in navigating complex systems. We use our resources efficiently and are able to create a lasting impact in our clients’ lives.

Every day we strive to provide help and create hope for Alaskans. Through Catholic Social Services and our eight programs, those are not just meaningful words, but literal action. I encourage you to come volunteer your time, talent or resources to help us help those in need and to strengthen the excellent work each of our programs provides.

“Works of love directed to one’s neighbor are the most perfect external manifestation of the interior grace of the Spirit…” — Pope Francis

The writer is executive director of Catholic Social Services in Alaska. For more information about CSS, call 276-5590 or visit cssalaska.org.


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