Strengthening Families. Building Communities. Reducing Poverty.

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The police office on duty last week asked me to speak with the person who was first on the food pantry line to convince him not to come so early the next time he visited us for help.  She gave me his name and I proceeded to the front of the line to catch him as people were guided into our offices at 7:00 a.m.  Mr. Harper wasn't on the front of the line as I expected.  He was in a motorized wheel chair being led into the office through a more handicapped accessible door.  I made an excuse for the shocked gasp that flew unexpectedly from my mouth when I met him.  It was a silly excuse - I was trying to catch my breath in the cold.  In 19 years of working for Catholic Charities agencies, I had never seen a frozen person before.  Mr. Harper, in his wheelchair, was covered in frost.  He had waited on our line so long that frost had formed on his hat, his hair, his face, his legs, his wheelchair.  Mr. Harper had waited in our line since 4:00 am to make sure that he received one of our food boxes.  Apparently, he
         Imagine you are dropped off in an unknown city with $25.00 of pocket money and without an iPhone, car, friends/relatives or knowledge of the local language. This is the initial reality for thousands of refugee families that are resettled in America each year. Refugees, many of whom have lived in refugee camps for years, can feel isolated and stranded because they cannot communicate or get around their new city after their arrival in the United States. This can be a frustrating experience for them since they are eager to explore their new home, but lack the necessary skills to do so.          At Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Office we offer an extensive bus-training program for our newly arrived refugees during the first month after their arrival. The training includes using the CATS calling system to get directions, reading bus maps, understanding payment options, entering and exiting the bus safely, signaling the designated bus to stop and respecting other passengers. Once they have participated in the bus training they also receive two weeks of bus passes to get them started. We prioritize visiting the Department of Social Services, the Health Department on Billingsley and the CCDOC Office, because these are typically
This year’s World Day of Peace Message of Pope Francis puts a spotlight on the modern day scourge of trafficking human beings for economic and sexual exploitation. The title of the Holy Father’s message for the 2015 World Day of Peace, celebrated on January 1, is Slaves no More, But Brothers and Sisters. (Read the message). Pope Francis wants the world to react with swiftness and intensity to the current situation of forced economic exploitation (of girls, boys, men and women) and the sexual exploitation of children and adults (overwhelmingly girls and women). With millions of people currently being treated as tradable commodities to be used and abused in horrific conditions of slavery, such a situation should shock the world community to act to end this evil. Sadly, according to a June 19, 2014 article in The Washington Post, perhaps only one percent of those trapped in this “modern day slavery” have been freed from their suffering. Pope Francis has chosen this social concern in his second World Day of Peace message because he is passionate about this issue. He has called human trafficking “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge on the body of Christ.” This
This year’s food pantry has been a quite busy and successful one! Catholic Charities serves 55 families per week on each Tuesday and Thursday to help those in need. Our food pantry has received numerous donations from different parishes and members of the community. We constantly see a great need for toiletries, personal items, and also microwavable foods for those who do not have access to a stove to prepare certain foods. This month our food pantry has a great need for toiletries, pasta sauce, and white rice. William Kent Lewis was recognized at our 2014 Vineyard of Hope this year for the Fruit of the Vine Award. Kent has been volunteering and serving our food pantry for over 3 years and has also completed over 1000 hours within our food pantry. Kent has shown much dedication and commitment to helping out at the food pantry. We thank him for his time and commitment to serve those in need. By Dejerica HeathDirect Assistance Social Worker

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"She showed me I wasn't alone."   Andrew was a teenager met in the parking lot one afternoon.  He was quick to smile as he encountered people in the Catholic Charities parking lot. When I spoke with him about why he was waiting he was surprisingly open and shared his story.   He explained that he started hanging out with people at school who got into trouble a lot and who didn't care about their schoolwork or grades.  "It got easy for me not to care about what I did.  I didn't care about my grades and I didn't care about getting into trouble.  My mom finally got sick of it and we started coming for counseling.  We get along pretty good now."   Andrew and his family took advantage of the FREE counseling services that is offered to young people and their families at Catholic Charities.  The services are offered by masters level mental health counselors who are licensed by the state of North Carolina.  Because the service is offered as part of a federal grant program focused on preventing teen runaways, Catholic Charities provides the service in Winston-Salem free of charge.  There are no income guidelines to receive free counseling, however,
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