Strengthening Families. Building Communities. Reducing Poverty.
When one thinks of the good works of Catholic Relief Services across the globe, what often comes to mind is the provision of food to hungry people, the response to natural disasters like the typhoon that struck the Philippines in late 2013, or the current efforts being made to stem the crisis of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In the Diocese of Charlotte, 25% of Rice Bowl funds distributed support the CRS Rice Bowl Mini Grant Program offered in the fall.  This past year, in November 2013, $1,000 grants were distributed to sixteen parishes of the diocese.  Grants were awarded for a variety of ministries including food pantries, community gardens, thrift stores, St. Vincent de Paul Societies, children’s nutrition programs, and general outreach to families in need.  The annual CRS Lenten Rice Bowl Collection and the CRS Mini-Grant Program are coordinated by Catholic Charities' Office of Social Concerns and Advocacy.   What did these $1,000 grants mean to these parish based ministries?  The Society of St. Vincent de Paul/ St. Eugene, St Lawrence, St. Joan of Arc Conference used its $1,000 Rice Bowl grant to support its ministry of offering financial assistance to families in need.  In an email report sent to the
Like everyone else in the room that Sunday morning who watched the video of Pope Francis addressing the Catholic Charities USA Annual Gathering in Charlotte, I was exceptionally proud to be there in that space and at that time.  It was simply one of those moments that brought clarity and purpose to the work I am privileged to do as part of the Catholic Charities agency here in the Diocese of Charlotte.  It can be so easy to let my focus be trained on the operational side of this work as my days are filled with meetings and emails and documents and financial reports and telephone calls, and, and…  These are legitimate and important tasks which deserve and require my full professional and careful attention.  But the work I do – the work all of us do at Catholic Charities – is not really about ensuring maximum efficiency and effectiveness as though we’re managing just another NGO.  What we do is at its core all about “caritas” or the “love of God.”   In his own words, Pope Francis reminded us that “as Catholic Charities workers, board members, donors, parish social ministers, volunteers and organizations, you bring that joy with each and

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Teen pregnancy is a hot topic in the media. Reality shows about the struggles of teen motherhood have become popular entertainment. Though teenage mothers like these often require a significant amount of attention and assistance, women of every age experiencing an unintended pregnancy need similar support. By age 45, more than half of all American women will have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and over half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended (Guttmacher Institute, 2013). Unintended pregnancies can leave women scared, stressed, and confused. They may need assistance getting food or a place to live. They may desire to come up with a birth plan or an adoption plan. In politics and the media, single mothers are portrayed in a negative light. There are stereotypes that a child born out of wedlock always has an absent father, or that two married parents that have a child will not struggle in the same ways that single mothers do. In actuality, every mother needs support, no matter her lifestyle. There are those that may require extra support because of life circumstances such as homelessness, financial struggles, unpreparedness, and a general lack of parenting resources, among other issues. With the economy in

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Sandy* was brought to Catholic Charities in Winston-Salem one evening about 8:00 by a man who explained he found Sandy walking around in front to his house. Thankfully, several agency staff were still at the office closing up after a meeting.  Sandy told the man she had been living on the streets for a couple weeks. After a conversation with Sandy’s father, who refused to allow her to come home, the man brought Sandy to Catholic Charities. Sandy shared how she managed to continue to go to school, where she hid a blanket and a few possessions, how she got food, and how she charged her IPod and phone without notice. Agency staff quickly went to work to secure Sandy’s safety. After confirming that Sandy’s father would not allow her to return home, staff secured emergency shelter and initiated the process of helping Sandy attain a stable future. According to the National Runaway Safeline, between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth in the United States run away from home each year. Some youth may be forced to leave their home rather than voluntarily running away. Youth run away or are forced to leave their home for many reasons including abuse, neglect, substance

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Did you know that more than half of the world’s refugees are children? In light of the recent influx of unaccompanied minors arriving into the United States from Latin America, CCDOC’s Refugee Resettlement Office thought it might be an appropriate time to reflect on what comprehensive case management services look like for the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM’s) that we serve. Although we are not currently providing services to any unaccompanied children from Latin America, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has recommended that the US strengthen protections for these children and emphasize their best interests rather than the blind enforcement of immigration law. (For more information on this report, please visit the USCCB website.  We are proud to be a part of a complex, international network that serves refugee children who have become separated from their parents and other family members, an incredibly vulnerable population that requires special care and protections throughout the resettlement process. The URM’s we serve have fled from persecution (or fear of persecution) within their home countries to a second country of asylum. Their cases have been processed by such respected organizations as the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees, the U.S. Department of State, and
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