Strengthening Families. Building Communities. Reducing Poverty.

Those We Serve

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She shows up four hours early on food pantry days to be first in line. On a frosty morning, I invite her to come inside and warm up, but she declines.  She wants to stay outside, where the sun is shining.  She tells me she got used to harsh conditions when she was in the military.   As we talk more, she tells me about her son. Her face lights up when she speaks of him. He is a special needs child, and she sees him as her gift from God. She is a single mother who holds down a job, and does whatever it takes to care for her child. She came to Catholic Charities because she cannot make ends meet each month. When all the bills are paid and car is filled with gas to travel to work, there is little is left for groceries. 

She tells me the first time she came to Catholic Charities, it was with great reluctance. She didn’t like asking for help, but her child comes before her pride. She is certain things will get better. Until then, she comes knowing she will be treated with respect and leave with her dignity intact.

She is one of the many who come to the food pantries of Catholic Charities. They are people working two jobs, people who have had hours cut, grandparents struggling to raise grandchildren, seniors trying to make it on social security and $15 a month in food stamps, and people who have experienced an unexpected crisis. They are people who sit next to you in church, and they are your neighbors. They are our brothers and sisters, and we are honored to serve them.



Michele Sheppard joined the Western Regional Office of Catholic Charities in 1998.  She spent 12 years working as a domestic and international adoptions social worker and as coordinator of the regional office’s food pantry and direct material assistance program.  She spent the last 4 years as the Office Director in Asheville before retiring in March 2014.


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