by Lauren Solidum for The Leaven
‘Tis the season to give help and hope through the ministries of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.
Our ministries change lives. One of the greatest blessings during the pandemic was serving on the frontline with our team and volunteers. I was answering phones at one of our Family Support Centers (FSC) on a cold winter afternoon last December when a woman I’ll refer to as “Katie” called.
Katie was living in Kansas City, Kansas, with her 2-year-old son on a mattress in the back of a tire shop. They would soon be evicted from a place that wasn’t even a real home. She was panicked as she was attempting to find refuge for the night.
Our team sprang into action with transportation to our FSC, food, winter clothing and safe housing for the next several weeks. In addition, after reviewing Katie’s immediate needs, our team assessed that she’d be a great candidate for our employment services and possibly our St. Rita skills training program.
In a matter of weeks, Katie was working in the restaurant industry and inquiring about a health care training program.
We must prioritize the poor and respond as a church. As the charitable arm of the Roman Catholic Church, Catholic Charities serves the 21 counties of our archdiocese. Our agency is a large part of how the church responds to the poor. When Catholic Charities responds, the church is responding. By way of your prayers, time, talent and treasure, you too are sharing in the church’s call to serve the poor and vulnerable. You are a witness of Christ’s love.
The need is great. This past year, Catholic Charities provided $2.38 million in financial assistance to keep families safely housed, fed and clothed during times of job loss, illness, eviction or disconnection. These efforts were in response to an 89% increase in the need for housing and housing supports.
The need is vast. Catholic Charities provides over 20 ministries spanning food, clothing, shelter, education and employment. Our services go beyond meeting the immediate needs. We help the single-parent household find a living wage job and attain the skills and education to move past the threat of poverty once and for all.
We can store up treasures for heaven. A Scripture verse from the Gospel of Matthew beautifully articulates the need to keep our eyes on the real prize: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (6: 19-20).
Each time we give of our earthly possessions and financial wealth to help someone in need we are, in fact, storing up treasures in heaven. The same can be said when we provide others the opportunity to give of their earthly possessions and financial wealth.