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home : news : our diocese February 22, 2019

Social service agencies can apply for assistance from Bishop Ahr Fund

Aiming to assist those in need within the Diocese of Trenton, applications are being accepted from social service agencies for grant monies provided through an annual fund.

Honoring the seventh Trenton bishop whose name it bears, the Bishop George W. Ahr Endowment Fund will review applications for aid between now and April 26.

“The applicant should describe the project or program for which the grant is being requested, and indicate how much money is being sought,” wrote Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio, diocesan vicar general and moderator of the Curia, in a letter outlining the application requirements. “This endowment is available to any church, office, apostolate or ministry attempting to provide services for vulnerable and/or poor families/individuals within their community… There will be approximately $10,000 available for distribution.”

Last year’s grant recipients included Gennesaret, Good Counsel Homes and Bread from Heaven Café.

The 2018 $750 grant received by Bread from Heaven Café helped pay for its liability insurance as well as food for its soup kitchen – which feeds more than 100 people per day in Ocean County areas.

“The mission of Bread from Heaven Café is to provide a safe haven where everyone is welcome for a hot meal, and a food pantry so families can take food home,” said the café’s executive director, Helen Ludowig. She works with about 50 volunteers, and started the non-profit because she felt a growing need to feed people.

“A lot of businesses have stepped up to the plate to help,” she said. “No matter [the amount] it helps to put a dent in the cost for helping people in need. I greatly appreciate the kindness.”

Gennesaret Retreat, which began in 1991, is offered twice a year as a three-day weekend retreat providing spiritual support for those coping with a life-changing or life-threatening illness. Teams of priests, medical personnel, musicians and helpers join retreatants in prayer, talks, Masses, and the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick. The 2018 grant received from the Bishop Ahr Fund assisted with retreat costs like the use of the retreat house and rental of medical equipment; retreatants attend free of charge.

“I was so aware of how important the prayer and caring of the outside community is to our retreatants,” said Hilare Reinold, Gennesaret organizer. “I have heard retreatants say they can’t believe someone they don’t even know cares about them … and through this caring they feel God’s love.”

Requests must be received on or before April 26, and should be forwarded to Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio, Bishop Ahr Endowment Fund, Pastoral Center, Diocese of Trenton, P.O. Box 5147, Trenton, NJ 08638.

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