Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Harrisburg hosted its second annual evening of appreciation for the many dedicated donors, volunteers and employees who ensure the organization carries forth its mission of providing help, hope and support to people in need.
The “Grace and Gratitude” event welcomed dozens of benefactors, volunteers, counselors and staff to the Diocesan Center in Harrisburg on Wednesday evening, October 25, as Catholic Charities’ Executive Director Kelly Gollick offered a look at the impact that each donated dollar and volunteer hour has had on the people it serves.
Gollick expressed her appreciation for Catholic Charities’ dedicated staff, passionate volunteers, and generous donors. “Every hour volunteered, every dollar donated, and, most importantly, every prayer said, fuels our mission to serve families in need across the Diocese of Harrisburg.”
Catholic Charities provides hope, help and support to thousands of families throughout the Diocese’s 15 counties each year, regardless of their faith. Programs include residential housing for homeless families at the Interfaith Shelter, women in recovery at Evergreen House, and women who are pregnant through Lourdeshouse Maternity Home. The agency also provides counseling and mental health services, a foster care and adoption program, and comprehensive counseling for high school students at Paradise School in Abbottstown.
“Serving others is what Catholic Charities is all about. Each day, we find new ways to serve,” Gollick said.
She spoke of Catholic Charities’ latest initiative, as it is in the planning stages of an innovative free, mental health walk-in clinic in Harrisburg. Gollick said the clinic will serve those with mental health challenges and help them find hope and their purpose. In conjunction with hospitals and mental health providers, the program will provide for the homeless, underinsured and uninsured who need mental health support but are not at the level of crisis intervention.
“Hopefully next year, I can stand here telling you about the progress on the clinic,” Gollick said.
She also provided an update on Catholic Charities’ strategic plan, which it embarked upon last year to examine the various needs in different areas of its 15 counties. This past year, the agency reached out to its benefactors, staff, volunteers, donors and clergy, for insights into its strengths and challenges, Golick said, expressing an anticipated plan will be ready to implement in 2024.
One of the challenges facing Catholic Charities right now is the expected funding cut to Lourdeshouse, its pro-life maternity home that provides housing and other vital services to pregnant women.
“The women residing at Lourdeshouse made the heroic decision to keep their babies despite incredible hardships such as abuse, trauma, addiction and homelessness. Lourdeshouse gives them a place to live for up to a year, so they can get back on their feet and find a way to support their babies. Our ability to provide this critical service is in jeopardy,” Gollick said. She encouraged advocates to contact their local representatives to ensure programs that offer alternatives to abortion continued to be funded.
During the evening, a number of special awards were presented to donors, volunteers and employees for their generosity and service, including employees recognized for milestone years of service, and special recognition for contributions from benefactors at St. Matthew Parish in Dauphin.
“Here at Catholic Charities, we are blessed, and tonight was about pausing for a moment to thank God and to thank you,” Gollick said. “Tonight was an opportunity to reflect on all the gifts that each one of you has shared with Catholic Charities over the years. We also look to the future and how all of us can continue the amazing work of Catholic Charities and find ways to do God’s will in our lives and in the Diocese.”
For more information about the programs of Catholic Charities, and to see how you can volunteer or contribute, visit www.cchbg.org.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness