Six agencies committed to serving the poor of the Diocese have been awarded a total of $28,000 to further their good works through the 2019 national collection to support the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
CCHD recipients for 2019 collection announced
Sponsored by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, the CCHD is the annual domestic anti-poverty program. The collection is traditionally held on the weekend before Thanksgiving.
The recipients of the 2019 collection, and the amounts of the grants they received, are the Mercer County CYO, Trenton, $5,000; Society of St. Vincent de Paul Christ the King Conference, Long Branch, $5,000; Mount Carmel Guild, Trenton, $ 5,000; St. Joseph’s Social Concerns Ministry, Toms River, $5,000; Society of St. Vincent de Paul Our Lady of Guadalupe Conference, Lakewood, $5,000, and Mercy Center, Asbury Park, $3,000.
Mary Inkrot, executive director of Mount Carmel Guild, Trenton, expressed gratitude for the grant and said the money will allow the agency's food pantry to continue providing healthy meal kits to its clients, an initiative that was started last year.
"The Guild believes in offering and encouraging healthy choices for all who use our food pantry," she said, noting that the impetus for the healthy meal kits was based on surveys that were completed by the care receivers, the majority of whom are Trenton residents. The surveys, she said, indicated that the kits were well-received, and there were requests for more fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and fresh meat, fish and poultry. She noted that more than 60 percent of survey participants disclosed that they are living with diabetes or are dealing with high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
This year's grant money, Inkrot said, "allows us to build upon our initial success with the meal kits, offer more of the requested items on the survey and provide healthy and tasty options," including purchasing lower-sodium foods and reducing the distribution of canned goods and prepackaged food with high sodium and high sugar content.
"New Jersey is one of the richest states in the country, yet one in 10 residents experiences hunger and food insecurity," she said. "Also, income inequality perpetuates health disparities and addressing obesity and access to healthy food is a priority in our community."
In 2019, faithful in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties contributed $106,148 – 75 percent of which, or $78,130, was sent to the Catholic Bishops’ national CCHD office for grants and programs that offer hope to communities across the country. The remaining 25 percent, or $28,018, was returned to the Diocese to support local anti-poverty projects.
“The opportunity to help create programs that represent a ‘hand up’ and not a ‘hand out’ because of the generosity of people within the Diocese is critical to our Catholic Social Services,” said Brenda Rascher, diocesan executive director of both the CCHD and Catholic Social Services. “I can’t thank everyone enough for their support of CCHD.”
Rascher also noted that this year, the grant requirements were adjusted to allow agencies to utilize 20 percent of their grant to support the salary of the staff person who will run the program or project, for instance, the salary of a tutor for a tutoring program.