Parishes receive grants to assist local needy families

JEFFERSON CITY – Parishes assisting families displaced by a fire, the homeless, the hungry, babies and children will receive a total of $25,000 from Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri (CCCNM) this year. The Charity and Mercy Grant Award program is designed to expand the capacity of a parish or related entity, explained CCNM’s executive director, Dan Lester, in announcing the 2019 grants.

“The grant recognizes parishes providing charitable services as defined by Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love),” Lester said. “The money must be used to respond to immediate needs and specific situations; be used independent of creed or ideology but sees with the heart where love is needed; and given freely without any proselytizing.”

The Charity and Mercy Grant Award program received its name from an initiative by Bishop Shawn McKnight, who leads the Diocese of Jefferson City, in which parishes are being reminded of the essential connection between works of charity and mercy and the Catholic faith. “Our acts of charity and mercy are concrete expressions of our hope in the resurrection,” Bishop McKnight explained.

This year’s awards, each totaling $5,000, will be given to the following five charitable programs:

  1. St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Hermitage will assist with the housing needs of a family displaced by a house fire.  They will be working in conjunction with other area churches, businesses, non-profits and faith-based groups such as the Knights of Columbus so the family has a safe, clean, and comfortable new home. 
  2. Lake Area Helping Hands Homeless Shelter in Camdenton will provide shelter to homeless men, women, children and families in a safe environment so those served receive “a hand up, not a hand out.” 
  3. Good Shepherd Center in Linn will provide for the essential dietary needs of their more than 500 clients served on a monthly basis in Osage County. 
  4. St. Joseph School in Westphalia will purchase materials and equipment for students to create blankets for children, adults, and families in need, to be distributed by local non-profit agencies.
  5. St. Brendan Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Mexico will purchase supplies for the Beds for Kids program, which gives bedding to children and families in need in their local community. 

Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri is committed to providing care and creating hope for the lives of the vulnerable through compassionate social services that respect the dignity of each person and engage the local community. It is a service of the Diocese of Jefferson City, which includes 38 counties in central and northeastern Missouri. Approximately 82,000 Catholics live in the Diocese, worshipping and serving in 95 parishes.