Nick Foley of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, stands as he is recognized for his active participation in the parish youth ministry program, BOLD in which members have been instrumental in hosting drives for persons in need.
Nick Foley of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, stands as he is recognized for his active participation in the parish youth ministry program, BOLD in which members have been instrumental in hosting drives for persons in need.
For well over a year, the global pandemic has created unprecedented and challenging times for people throughout the world and affected them in many ways.

But in the midst of the worldwide turmoil, the dedicated staff of the now 101-year-old Mount Carmel Guild, Trenton, persevered in remaining true to its mission to serve and meet the ever-changing needs of the community’s most vulnerable residents, the majority of whom are from the Greater Mercer County area.

So said Jane Chrnelich when she addressed all who gathered Oct. 15 in the Trenton Country Club for the annual gala that serves as the major fundraiser for the inner-city Trenton diocesan outreach agency including Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., who offered the invocation, Brenda Rascher, diocesan executive director of Catholic social services, along with staff, friends, volunteers and supporters.

“So tonight is a night to celebrate,” said Chrnelich, whose message also reached those who were viewing the event via livestream. 

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Proceeds from the annual gala benefit the Guild’s two major programs. The Community Support Program, started since 1921, provides food and other necessities, and offers homelessness prevention services and short-term financial assistance when available. Education and outreach on healthy eating and referrals to partner social services are also provided.  

The Guild also has a Home Health Nursing Program that was started in 1941 and provides quality, long-term, home-based nursing care to patients 60 years of age and older with acute or chronic health conditions. The goal of the program is to increase the patient’s medical stability through constantly monitoring and assessing their care plan and supervising their medication. Efforts are made to improve each patient’s well-being and increase access to social service, preventing unplanned hospitalizations and premature placement in nursing homes.  

Mission Minded

A focal point of the Oct. 15 gala was honoring the generous spirit of young people hailing from Catholic schools and parishes in the greater Mercer County area. They were recognized for their willingness to assist people experiencing tough times, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Tonight, we honor young people who have overcome their own challenges and continued to help the less fortunate in multiple ways throughout the pandemic,” said Mary Inkrot, the Guild’s executive director. 

“This year, the Guild reached out to all the diocesan schools and parish religious education programs and asked each to submit the names of individuals or organizations who they felt were deserving of recognition,” Inkrot said. “Tonight, we are honoring the young people who carry on the tradition passed down to them, a tradition of giving and caring for others.”

As she introduced the award recipients, brief video interviews were shown in which each honoree expressed sentiments about their relationship with the Guild. 

The Guild Appreciation Award, which is given to individuals for outstanding and consistent dedication to the Guild or their local parish community, was presented to the NeXt Level Group from St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville; John Schwimmer of St. Paul Parish, Princeton, and Nick Foley and Lauren Lencovich of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square. 

The Guild Civic Champion, that is given to a corporation or organization in recognition of superior service to the greater good of the community and whose service is aligned with the Guild’s mission of providing hope and preserving dignity for all, was presented to brothers Ryan and Kyle Grzymala of St. Paul Parish, Princeton, and founders of R&K=Smiles Toys.   The Guild Neighbor Award, given to a corporation or group that provides extraordinary support in the areas of monetary donations, in-kind donations or volunteer service to the Guild, was presented to the 2020-2021 student council in St. Paul School, Princeton.  

The Bishop Thomas J. Walsh Award, named after the third bishop of Trenton who founded the Guild in 1920, is given to an outstanding individual of the year. This year’s recipient was Favour Bush, an eighth grade student in Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy, Hamilton. 

Making Service A Priority

Other highlights of the evening included the silent auction and raffle fundraisers to benefit the Guild’s operations. Also on hand was teen actress Kassie Mundhenk who plays Moira Ross in the Emmy Award winning HBO drama series, “Mare of Easttown.” Mundhenk attended the gala through her longtime friendship with Ceil Gallucci, a member of St. Gregory the Great Parish and Guild volunteer.

After receiving his award, Nick Foley thought back to his membership in the BOLD youth ministry in St. Gregory the Great Parish during which he assisted with drives to help those in need, including with the food drives hosted by the parish Knights of Columbus council. The Mount Carmel Guild is among the agencies to receive food donations. He has also joined his parish in serving with the Loaves and Fishes program in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. 

“I want to give back any way I can,” Foley, a sophomore at McDaniel College, Westminster, Md., said, as he noted how grateful he is for his family and his home. “I’ve been blessed with so much.”