CCDH drive Nov. 17-18
Breaking the cycle of poverty by addressing its root causes has been the aim of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) for more than 40 years.
More than $400 million has been raised and distributed through grants to community groups since the Catholic bishops in the U.S. established CCHD in 1970. According to its website, CCHD is “the nation’s largest private funder of self-help groups for the poor,” awarding grants to more than 9,000 community groups.
Catholics in the Archdiocese of New Orleans are being asked to further the efforts of CCHD by contributing to the annual campaign at Masses Nov. 17-18. Approximately $143,000 was raised last year, said Nick Albares, parish social ministry coordinator for Catholic Charities’ Office of Justice and Peace.
“It is the church’s response to Jesus’ call for the members of our community who are most vulnerable, oppressed and marginalized,” Albares said.
Where the money goes
Good Samaritan Ministry at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Slidell and The Money Management Advocacy Council Icon (MMACI) that works with the homeless and mentally ill benefited from the initial 25 percent of the money that remained here this year.
Albares said the remaining 75 percent returned to the archdiocese in community and economic development grants. Café Reconcile and the Crescent City Farmers’ Market have been past recipients, while the Micah Project and Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) were recent beneficiaries.
The Micah Project worked with church leaders at St. Peter Claver to address neighborhood violence and blight.
Gina Womack, executive director of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, said the $50,000 grant from the CCHD helped her nonprofit teach families to advocate on behalf of their children; organize parents to develop a parent-in-leadership project in four public schools to ensure the schools were using positive behavior supports to reduce suspensions and expulsions; and organize members to ensure that the Office of Juvenile Justice implements prison reforms that emphasize rehabilitation and include parents in their children’s treatment based on the Missouri Model System.
“This is the first time we have received funding from CCHD, and we are really excited about our partnership,” Womack said. “We feel that working with CCHD will allow FFLIC to broaden our reach and find the families that are in need of the support of an organization that will support them in their time of need. We are working to keep children from ever entering the juvenile prison system.”
A faith response
Albares has worked with CCHD for four years and said it strives to fight injustices by empowering individuals through education and outreach programs. His Justice and Peace office works with parishes to develop social teaching ministries and offers the JustFaith program for those wishing to get involved in the community.
Grant money also has been indirectly used to hire an intern in the Justice and Peace office. Albares said this gives a young adult experience working with and advocating for the poor, he said.
Albares sees the CCHD as an integral part of the church’s social justice ministry.
“It is unique from other church ministries in that it looks and seeks to address the root causes and is based on empowerment of people and development of people through the programs that we fund,” he said. “People feel a sense of community that not only is someone helping, but they have a voice and can create positive change through relationship building and learning more about the development component on how a community works.”
In addition to putting money in the collection basket Nov. 17-18, checks or money orders made payable to USCCB-CCHD – may be sent to: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Office of National Collections, CCHD, 3211 Fourth St. NE, Washington, DC 20017.