It is a new year and the best way to kick it off is to pay tribute to all of you. Catholic Social Services serves over 23,000 people every year and that is possible because of our partners and supporters. Every day churches and businesses, clubs and neighbors give their time, treasure and talent to help those in need in their community through Catholic Social Services. As we begin 2018, we thank all of you who make Catholic Social Services so strong. Please take a moment to consider how you can join us by sharing your gifts or talents with those in need.
There are so many examples of partnership to highlight and thank. Did you know that groups donate dinner to the moms and kids at Clare House every day of the year? Since it began more than 30 years ago, volunteer groups from churches and clubs all over town have brought dinner to Clare House — a donation of more than $250,000 every year.
Providence Health & Services Alaska makes and delivers dinner every night for our guests at the Brother Francis Shelter. Volunteers in the community come down to serve.
St. Francis House Food Pantry runs thanks to an army of volunteers. Some have worked with us for decades as personal shoppers — providing support to families in need to make sure they have enough to eat. Regular volunteers bring food to St. Francis House. There are so many but I must recognize the Knights of Columbus from parishes all over town. They bring food, raise funds and take care of their neighbors at the pantry.
Every Lent for the past few years, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church selects the food pantry as their special project and we see loads of fresh food thanks to their efforts.
Parishes across town have a special place in their heart for those we serve at Catholic Social Services. St. Patrick Church started a foot clinic at Brother Francis Shelter. It was inspired by Lent and continues to this day. St. Patrick’s sends volunteers to wash and care for the feet of the men and women experiencing homelessness. What a tribute to our faith and to those in need.
Refugees, through the RAIS program, have also benefitted from parishes all over town. Parishioners support refugee families when they arrive and they provide meals and fellowship as they get accustomed to living in Anchorage.
Families from Holy Family Cathedral, St. Andrew’s, Holy Cross and St. Benedict parishes all power the engine of Catholic Social Services every day. Catholic Social Services is the service arm of our church and you all flex those muscles to help our brothers and sisters.
There are so many ways to provide for your community this year. At Catholic Social Services we invite you to partner with us in that endeavor. This year our appeal to the archdiocese will happen at the very beginning of Lent — February. You will receive a letter in the mail from Anchorage Archbishop Paul Etienne and myself asking for your support. This is the one time of the year we write directly to parishioners and ask them to join us with their time, treasure and talent. There are so many ways to connect and we want to work with you to make that connection.
The One Bread One Body appeal to support the Archdiocese of Anchorage will be sent at the end of Lent — near the last week of March. In the past there has been some confusion about the One Bread One Body appeal and the Catholic Social Services appeal, so we are reaching out to try to provide clarity. Catholic Social Services and the Anchorage Archdiocese are partners in our work, and we want to make sure all of you understand where your donations go. We appreciate everything you do and we’re grateful for all of your support.