February 2015 Update

Bio Pic - For Website


Christopher Meehan, Director of Development

Hello from Catholic Charities!  It is my pleasure to update you on some of the latest news from our agency.

Looking back on the 2014 Christmas Season, we are thankful for the many individuals, businesses, churches, and organizations that support us.  Through the generosity of many people, we were able to help make Christmas a little brighter for those in need.  Our annual Christmas Party (sponsored by Xerox of Harrisburg) was a wonderful evening for children in our various programs.  Our guests were able to enjoy a fun night of food, crafts, gifts, and pictures with Santa.  In addition, the Christmas Season included many donations of toys, gifts, winter coats, and other items for people in need.  Christmas is always a special time for us, and we are grateful for everyone who helped us help others this year.

As we move forward into 2015, it is a busy time at Catholic Charities.  We recently had our annual St. Elizabeth Guild “Souper Bowl Sunday” Soup Sale at eight different parish locations (Good Shepherd, Holy Name of Jesus, Seven Sorrows, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Joan of Arc, St. Joseph in Hanover, St. Joseph in Hanover, and St. Theresa).  Through the efforts of many volunteers who made soup and staffed the sales, and through the cooperation of the parishes that hosted us, we were able to raise more than $6,000 for our Homes for Healing – Evergreen House, Interfaith Shelter for Homeless Families, and Lourdeshouse Maternity Home.  Thank you everyone for helping to make this year’s sale a big success!

Hopefully the cold weather will end soon and spring, will soon be here.  With that in mind, please join us for these upcoming Catholic Charities events:

Soup, Salad, and Sermon – March 3rd

Our annual Soup, Salad, and Sermon Lenten Lunch will take place on Tuesday, March 3rd at 12:00 p.m. at the Cardinal Keeler Center. Bishop Ronald Gainer will be our guest speaker. There is no cost for this event, although a freewill collection will be taken to benefit the Adoption Program. To register for the lunch, contact Christopher Meehan, Catholic Charities of Development, at 717-657-4804 (ext. 284) by phone or cmeehan@www.cchbg.net by email. All are welcome!

Interfaith Shelter Golf Classic – May 11th

Our annual Interfaith Shelter Golf Classic will take place on Monday, May 11th, 2015 at Blue Ridge Country Club in Harrisburg, PA.  The schedule for the day includes:

11:00 a.m. – Registration and Boxed Lunch; Practice Area Available

12:30 p.m. – Shotgun Start (18 holes with cart, scramble format)

6:00 p.m.   – Dinner and Sports Memorabilia Auction

In addition to golf, lunch, and dinner, the day includes registration gifts for all golfers, various skill prizes, team prizes, and an exciting hole-in-one contest.  Registration is $100 per golfer, and various sponsorships are available.  All proceeds benefit the Interfaith Shelter for Homeless Families, a residential facility that keeps families together when facing a homeless crisis.

Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community – May 16th

On Saturday, May 16th, Catholic Charities will be one of many Harrisburg-area organizations participating in the annual Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community. The Walk for a Healthy Community is a wonderful opportunity for us to raise much-needed dollars for Lourdeshouse Maternity Home. The event is presented by Highmark Blue Shield, who underwrites the cost of the walk so that 100 percent of the money raised by walkers supports the participating organizations.

The Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community is open to people of all ages. The walk is also accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.  Nonaggressive dogs are welcome at the walk on a leash.  Anyone/everyone interested in participating is welcome to join us.

Thank you for your continued interest and support of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Harrisburg.  We are blessed by the work we do each day to provide help and create hope for those in need and grateful for the generosity of our benefactors.  If I can help answer any questions, please contact me at 717-657-4804 (ext. 284) by phone or cmeehan@www.cchbg.net by email.


Imagine your dream student - someone who is bright, inquisitive, kind to others, and comes to class eager to learn. Well, that is Koffi. He first came to my ESL class in May of 2014. He had only been in the United States for about 6 months at that time.

For many people, those first 6 months can be overwhelming and hectic, but Koffi’s spirit is indomitable. He came to class every night ready to learn and in a short time he found a job. Even after a long day of working hard, Koffi would come into class with a smile on his face. He greeted his fellow students with a smile and was ready to learn.

After being in the country for a little over a year, Koffi decided he would like to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). He took the initiative and researched his options before deciding on the program at HACC.
Koffi continued with his English studies right up to the time his CNA class started at HACC. I was sorry to see him leave, but so happy for him.

In June of this year Koffi graduated from the CNA Program at HACC. We are all so proud of Koffi. He has been such a positive influence on all of us, staff and students alike. It is impossible to look at Koffi’s smiling face and not want to smile right back, he is that full of kindness and hope. I am so glad he was my student and I feel certain that he will do even more amazing things in the future.

- ESL Instructor

Tiffany starts her story by openly stating that the first 39 years of her life were a waste. She spent all of her time drinking, which was her way of coping with the many let downs in her life.

Fearing for her life, a friend convinced Tiffany to check herself into a 30-day detox program. Upon completion she entered the Evergreen House program. While this was not her first choice, Tiffany ended up residing at Evergreen House for seven and one-half months.

Tiffany credits Evergreen’s staff and their patience with her eventual success in the program. Evergreen’s staff understood what she was going through and eventually became like her family. The Evergreen House program provided the structure and support she needed to maintain her sobriety.

Tiffany credits Evergreen House for a second chance at life and she is determined to have a positive impact on others.

- anonymous

Catholic Charities Adoption Services and Specialized Foster Care not only provides foster care and adoption services, but it also helps adoptees and their birth families to connect with one other through Search services. Nearly 50 years ago, Tina was an accomplished athlete who found herself pregnant while pursuing an advanced degree. With housing and supportive services from Catholic Charities, Tina made the difficult decision to place her daughter for adoption. Following the adoption, Tina pursued her career as an athlete, coach, and business administrator. While she was confident that she had made the right decision, Tina constantly thought about the daughter she had placed for adoption and wondered about her well-being. She eventually made attempts to find her daughter through various sources and by updating her online information in the event that her only child might someday want to meet her. After several years, Tina had come to the conclusion that meeting her daughter was just not meant to be.
This past year, Tina’s daughter, Beth, contacted Catholic Charities with a request for information about her birth parents. After talking with Beth and encouraging her to pursue the search, Catholic Charities was able to connect Beth with her birth mother. The two later traveled to meet each other, and Tina was given the opportunity to meet Beth’s husband and daughters. Tina was thrilled to learn that she was a grandmother, but she was most happy to hear that her daughter had loving adoptive parents who had given her a good life. Tina later wrote to Catholic Charities that “I think someone did a lot of praying and the prayers were answered.”

- Anonymous

A native of Puerto Rico, Maria* moved to Harrisburg with the dream of building a bright future for herself and her baby. While working to gain her bearing, Maria was kicked out of the house in which she had been staying, rendering Maria and her son homeless. Maria had very few options, as she had not yet secured a job, childcare, or private housing. In March 2017, Maria and her two year old son were welcomed into the Interfaith Shelter.
Upon entering the Interfaith Shelter, Maria immediately began building the skills needed to obtain self-sufficiency. The first challenge to overcome was Maria’s limited English proficiency. Determined to improve her English, Maria enrolled in ESL classes at the Tri-County Adult Learning Center, and she began practicing her growing language skills with residents and staff at the shelter. Maria also enrolled in a workforce development program offered through the PA Department of Human Services, working to develop marketable skills and gain permanent employment. Although many of the area’s transitional housing programs were completely full and had long wait lists, Maria eagerly applied to the YWCA Transitional Housing program. She knew that, with determination and hard work, she could build a better life for her family.
As she was nearing the end of her stay with the Interfaith Shelter, Maria was accepted into the YWCA Transitional Housing program and was assured that a room would soon be available. In order to keep Maria on the path towards success, the Interfaith Shelter granted Maria an extension until she was able to move into the YWCA. During her stay at Interfaith, Maria successfully obtained childcare, enrolled in a cash assistance program, improved her English proficiency, and began developing employment skills leading to a new job. Maria has served as an inspiration to others at the shelter that any barrier can be overcome.

- Anonymous
Council on Accrediation Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations United Way

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