The Diocese’s Department of Multimedia Production collaborated with Mount Carmel Guild on a video to help tell the story of the Guild’s 100-year history and share its mission. The video was debuted at the Guild’s October gala. Among those interviewed were veteran Anthony Galli, seen here, and Corinne Janoska, director of the Guild’s Home Health Nursing Program. Multimedia Production photo
The Diocese’s Department of Multimedia Production collaborated with Mount Carmel Guild on a video to help tell the story of the Guild’s 100-year history and share its mission. The video was debuted at the Guild’s October gala. Among those interviewed were veteran Anthony Galli, seen here, and Corinne Janoska, director of the Guild’s Home Health Nursing Program. Multimedia Production photo
" When you are part of Mount Carmel Guild you are touched by the generosity of others. "

Reflecting on his childhood, Brian J. Duff remembers his family receiving Thanksgiving dinner from the inner-city Trenton outreach agency known as Mount Carmel Guild. 

The son of a single mom who supported her children with multiple jobs, Duff says the family never went hungry due to the generosity of the diocesan-sponsored agency.

“I attended high school on a parish scholarship and college on an academic scholarship,” said Duff, vice president of the Guild’s board of directors. “Shortly after I earned my law degree, I joined the Guild’s board in 2004 in an attempt to give back for that which I had received, because poverty and hunger have not gone away over the course of time.”

Duff shared his reflections during the Oct. 18 Mount Carmel Guild Gala, which kicked off the Guild’s 100th anniversary of serving people in need in the Greater Mercer County area. More than 200 guests gathered in the Trenton County Club to celebrate and honor the Guild’s service, its supporters – and the long history it has serving the area community.

History of Care

Mount Carmel Guild was established in January 1920 by Bishop Thomas J. Walsh, third bishop of Trenton. One of its first efforts was to establish an emergency food pantry; it has since grown to include home health nursing visits, utility and financial assistance and more. It also has decades of history when it comes to providing a wide distribution of food at the holidays, especially Thanksgiving.

“The Guild is important because it fulfills a need that exists worldwide,” Guild president Charles O’Brien said. “We provide food for the needy, and we take care of the elderly.”

Executive director Mary Inkrot is quick to praise the Guild’s legacy of partnering with area organizations as well as with the community itself. The Guild partners with Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton and the nonprofit Trenton Health Team, for example, to meet the community’s needs.

“Among our most steadfast supporters, however, are the individuals who give to our food drives, donate their time and make financial donations,” she said. “They truly allow our work to go forward. The Guild has always been a membership organization, and every donor and volunteer is part of it.”

“I believe our greatest accomplishments to date have been to listen to our care receivers, recognize their needs and work toward meeting them,” Inkrot continued. “Many children in Trenton receive breakfast and lunch at school, but their families are challenged to provide those meals throughout the summer. Our Summer Family Fest helps fill this need. Our most recent accomplishments, however, are the accreditation of the Home Health Nursing Program and changing the food pantry to client choice. 

“The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is our largest community project, when churches and business collect food and money to provide a turkey and all the trimmings. We are then able to help 800-plus local families who struggle financially to celebrate together with the traditional dinner,” Inkrot said.

Expanded Services

In looking ahead, Inkrot said the Guild hopes to offer more prevention and nutrition education. “We are securing more healthful food and encouraging our families to choose healthful items. We also would like to offer recipes, cooking demonstrations and nutritional guidance.

“In addition, the Home Health Nursing Program would like to expand and offer home health aides to our elderly patients. That would require additional accreditation and increased funding,” she said.

A staunch believer in the motto “giving is also receiving,” Inkrot says, “When you are part of Mount Carmel Guild you are touched by the generosity of others, moved by the thankfulness of the care receivers and inspired by Christ’s commandment to love one another.”

Duff would agree. After being a recipient of the Guild’s services as a young boy, he makes it a point to pass along the spirit of service to his family.

“I take my children with me on our volunteer activities even though they have not been raised under the same circumstances as I have so they, too, will understand that we need to be involved in helping others,” Duff said.

To learn more about the Mount Carmel Guild, or becoming a volunteer or supporter, call 609-392-5159; email information@MtCarmelGuild.org or visit www.mtcarmelguild.org.