Four Catholic social service agencies located within the Diocese of Trenton providing a range of assistance to people in need have been awarded $10,000 grants through the 2011 diocesan Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
The four organizations are: Good Counsel Homes-South Jersey, Riverside; Mount Carmel Guild, Trenton; the Mercer County Catholic Youth Organization, and Catholic Charities’ Emergency and Community Services in Ocean County.
The grant monies, said Father Joseph Jakub, diocesan director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, are made possible through donations to the annual CCHD collection taken up in all parishes throughout the country the weekend before Thanksgiving. The 2012 CCHD collection, however, will be taken up in the Diocese of Trenton the weekend of Nov. 24-25, due to the scheduling of the hurricane relief collection that will be held Nov. 17-18. Of the amount collected, 25 percent remains locally to help diocesan social service outreach organizations whose mission is to provide services to the poor and disenfranchised. Seventy-five percent is sent to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national office of CCHD for use in providing national grants.
The CCHD is the Catholic Church’s domestic anti-poverty, social justice program that has as its mission to address the root causes of poverty in America through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and through transformative education.
Father Jakub said that in 2011, the diocesan CCHD collection totaled $160,000 with $120,000 going to the national CCHD office. The remaining $40,000 remained in the diocese for distribution to the works of local Catholic social service organizations.
Explaining how the grant monies will be used by each of the agencies, Father Jakub said that Mount Carmel Guild, which is an inner-city Trenton diocesan outreach agency, will direct its $10,000 grant toward supplementing the services of its two major outreach programs – the Home Health Nursing Program and the Emergency Assistance Program.
In Good Counsel Homes-South Jersey, a shelter for single pregnant women and their children, the grant will be used to enhance the life-skills program which teaches women various strategies such as how to find a job, interview techniques, budgeting and managing money skills, etc. The goal of the life-skills program is to help the women to achieve self-sufficiency.
For the Mercer County CYO, the grant money will be directed toward the new East State Street Learning Center’s education program designed for non-school aged children of working parents or those whose parents are in search of work.
Grant beneficiary Project Hope, a program of Catholic Charities Community and Emergency, Lakewood, provides an array of services to its clients, including health literacy classes, job preparation and job search strategies, budgeting skills and parenting and prenatal workshops.
When applying for grants, Father Jakub explained that, due to the limited amount of money that is available, the social service agencies are asked to complete an application and awards will be based on three major criteria: the agency has to be a Catholic social service agency; the agency has to provide direct services to people in the community, such as food clothing and shelter, job skills, and within its services, the agency has to provide opportunities for their clients to learn life skills and become self sufficient.
The agencies must focus on “helping people to break out of the cycle of poverty and provide them with the skills they need to lead productive lives,” he said.
Noting that he had an opportunity to visit each of the four grant recipient agencies, Father Jakub said he was encouraged and heartened to “see the good works they do on behalf of the Church to help those [[In-content Ad]]