August 26, 2020
When the COVID-19 crisis first began over five months ago, we immediately saw our CCAB community-- staff, volunteers, donors, neighbors and partner organizations—jump into action in response to the increased demand on our programs and services. Our Board Chair and CEO, Kevin MacKenzie, recently said, “During these challenging times I have had the opportunity to work with our teams and observe their incredible commitment to serve tirelessly the growing needs of the families that rely on us every day. I have also seen the kindness and goodness that lifts us all in difficult periods through the amazing generosity and support we have received from our donors, advocates and the overall community.”
We continue see the effects of the pandemic in our neighborhoods and could not rise to meet this increasing demand without our Community Champions. Our food pantries have served over 1 million lbs. of food this year. Our shelter staff and volunteers are extending their work into surrounding communities. New volunteers are coming to us to help out, and the local organizations that we partner with are continually stepping up to help where and how they can. We could not be more thankful for each person who has stepped in to support our community members in need in the face of this pandemic.
We started this blog series to shine a light on the people and organizations that help us do our work, and here are just a few recent stories of people that we are proud to call CCAB’s Community Champions:
- MLK Scholars at Teen Center: This summer, 10 local teens from the MLK Scholars Program have been working at the Teen Center at St. Peter’s, continuing to support the youth and families enrolled at the Teen Center with basic necessities and activities throughout the summer. Thank you, MLK Scholars, for helping us continue this important work in the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood of Dorchester.
- A generous donor and neighbor of our St. Ambrose Family Shelter in Dorchester, Maribeth, purchased and donated food for a family in need who recently moved out of the shelter. It is community members like Maribeth who remind us how much good is still out there in the world. Thank you, Maribeth, for helping to support our community members in need.
- Lovin’ Spoonfuls, an amazing partner organization of ours, delivers fresh produce to our St. Ambrose Family Shelter every Friday, ensuring that the residents have access to fresh and nutritious food. Lovin’ Spoonfuls also delivers food to our pantry locations, enabling us to provide for our neighbors in need each week.
- We recently worked with our partners at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless and provided them with the resources to deliver food to nearly 400 individuals and families in the Boston area, making over 800 deliveries. Partners like Boston Healthcare for the Homeless help us extend our work outside of our program locations to support the larger communities in which we serve, and for that we are very thankful.
Thank you to all of our staff, volunteers, donors and community partners who enable us to continue helping local families and individuals in our communities here in Eastern Massachusetts. We are so grateful for your generosity and support!
August 20, 2020
This time in history is a creativity explosion, as people and countries come together to combat COVID-19. The challenge of combating COVID-19 has been addressed medically, socially, economically, and emotionally and spiritually on websites, radio and TV shows and in houses of worship.
It has forced us to learn new skills and to use our present skills to help each other. We are learning that we are all creative and resilient in the face of adversity. I have seen communities and organizations supporting each other, and even helping people they do not personally know, through the giving of food and other necessities.
Counseling services are available online, as are online support groups for many issues that people are facing. People have been giving food to neighbors and others who are homebound and can’t get their needs met. They have run errands for people who could not take care of themselves.
I have seen people being creative in walking groups they formed, with friends and with their pets. They have been playing more with their children on a daily basis. They have been doing yoga in their own homes, painting pictures, knitting and doing other creative activities such as writing. People have been in daily contact using the phone and other technology. I have seen encouraging signs in various communities offering hope and support to people who walked or drove by them. In stores, people have been kind to each other and followed the instructions of the stores to keep everyone safe during this pandemic. Schools have put courses online. The list goes on and on. Everyone is looking for creative solutions to support each other and keep going.
This was a creativity explosion in how people positively moved forward to solutions. People are learning from the past experiences and using new information to find solutions to the challenges they are facing. This can be used for our future lives. Keep moving forward, look for the good daily, have an attitude of gratitude, help one another. We are resilient and have overcome past challenges and will do the same this time.
Written by Jeri Rabchenuk, Catholic Charities, LICSW, BCD 3/2020 ©
June 25, 2020
At Catholic Charities of Boston, our work often extends beyond the walls of our 23 locations in Eastern Massachusetts, as we are committed to supporting our communities through partnerships and outreach initiatives.
Our St. Ambrose Family Shelter in Dorchester has been hard at work, supporting the families currently living in the shelter and providing food, personal items and more to individuals and families living in the surrounding communities. We could not do this work without the amazing organizations with whom we partner, and we are honored to partner with some truly great, inspiring community champions.
The Mariposa Mask Team of Connecticut is run by a high school teen who generously sent the St. Ambrose Family Shelter 50 handmade masks for the families, employees and to distribute to others in the community. They also sent 30 masks to our Nazareth Shelter, with plans to donate 100 more to CCAB soon. Thank you, Mariposa Mask Team, for this wonderful donation!
St. Ambrose Family Shelter recently donated 20 bags of personal care and other items to Lady Team New England, a group for teen girls run by Neycole from the Department of Transitional Assistance. We were also able to deliver another 10 bags to individuals in the community.
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Breaktime and the YMCA have been delivering food to St. Ambrose Shelter through the pandemic. They have also assisted us in growing a garden at the shelter, so we have been able to not only feed the families in shelter but also distribute to many local families in need throughout the community on a regular basis. It is energizing to see us all working together for a common cause
June 2, 2020
“No. Thank you for inviting me!”
I heard this sentence five separate times Saturday after I said “thank you for coming” to sweaty but happy volunteers who came to Catholic Charities Yawkey Center to pack bags of food, snacks and produce for the 1300 families and individuals we expect will come to Yawkey this week to pick up one of those bags of food.
They thanked me. They thanked me after they stood for two hours packing granola bars, applesauce, raisins and a juice boxes into brown bags. They thanked me for the hundreds of bags they opened and double bagged. They thanked me for the cases of canned goods and pasta they lifted and put into those bags lining our hallways and, they thanked me for the hundreds of pounds of potatoes they sorted and put six potatoes in smaller bags to be added to the larger bags prior to the start of our daily distribution.
They even thanked me for the workout they got as they lifted those 50 pound bags of potatoes and cases of canned goods! For some, the thanks came as they periodically checked the number of steps they took on their phone. Needless to say, all neared or hit 10,000 worthwhile steps by the time they left, feeling gratified they were able to help.
At the beginning of March, all five of our pantries were ‘choice’ pantries where those needing food would ‘shop’ for what they wanted. Today, our staff and volunteers pack the bags in advance to follow social distancing. Our goal is to make sure that every person coming to our door representing themselves or a family at home is served with a bag of food that typically weighs approximately 25 pounds. That bag is place outside the door by a staffer or volunteer with gloved hands and plastic mask over a cloth mask.
Underneath those masks is definitely a smile because whatever language those receiving that bag speaks, there is a very audible “Thank You.”
Written by Beth Chambers
Director of Catholic Charities Greater Boston and Catholic Charities South
May 21, 2020
Almost two months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see the effects of the crisis across all of our programs and services at Catholic Charities of Boston.
Our five food pantries are serving increasing numbers of individuals week over week-- in fact, since March 9, the number of individuals that we serve has increased over 460%. Our pantries have distributed over 100,000 lbs. of food more than this same time period last year.
We are thankful for the support of community partners who help us rise to meet this increasing demand on our pantries.
Through the US Department of Agriculture's new food box program-- an initiative aimed at connecting surplus produce, meat and dairy with food banks and nonprofits that serve those in need-- HP Hood will be donating 1 pallet (480 ½ gallon bottles) of milk weekly to CCAB's food pantries.
The Mexican food product company Mission Foods donated 6,400 lbs. of tortillas and chips to our Yawkey Center food pantry last week. We are grateful for their support in providing food for our neighbors in Dorchester and hope to continue building a relationship with the Texas-based company.
May 12, 2020
Catholic Charities of Boston is so appreciative of the many volunteers and donors who make our work possible.
St. Cecilia Parish in Boston has been a long-time supporter of CCAB, particularly at our Yawkey Center food pantry. They continuously help us keep our pantry shelves stocked with staples for area families in need. For the past 10 years, parishioners at St. Cecilia's who are involved in their Homelessness and Hunger Ministry have also been involved in a food rescue program, delivering food from local grocery stores to the Yawkey food pantry.
Even during this time of immense uncertainty, we are thankful that our generous and compassionate friends at St. Cecilia's continue to show up and help where help is needed.
Thank you, St. Cecilia's Parish!
April 16, 2020
As COVID-19 continues to escalate, our goal is to shine a light on the helped in our community – our CCAB Champions—who are helping us continue our programs and services that support the most vulnerable in our communities.
We are so grateful for our community champions! Take a look at what’s going on across the agency:
A Generous Donation from Kraft Enterprises and Mass Military Support Foundation
A special thank you to the team at Parker & Bailey Corp. for delivering these donations to our food pantries. We’re so thankful for your generous support!
St Ambrose Family Shelter Team Helping Out in the Community
Our amazing St. Ambrose Family Shelter staff and volunteers have been delivering good, medications, gift cards and personal necessities to those in need throughout the local community.
Thank you to Greater Boston Food Bank and Lovin’ Spoonfuls
We’re grateful for your support in keeping our food pantry shelves stocked and our community members fed!
April 9, 2020
During these unprecedented times, it’s important to shine a light on all of the helpers in our community who are doing their part to care for others.
Jim, Kathleen and Anna are a local family who enjoy giving back, engaging in a number of volunteer projects with area organizations.
With this Easter holiday looking a little different this year, Anna enlisted the help of her mother and grandfather to assemble 70 Easter boxes filled with treats for children in our community.
They donated them to be distributed at our Yawkey Center food pantry and we are so thankful for this kind and generous donation.
There will be many smiling faces this Easter weekend, all thanks to the kindness of these community helpers. Thank you, Jim, Kathleen and Anna, for your thoughtfulness and caring for others in this time of great need.
Helping to spread Easter kindness to community children.
March 26, 2020
During these unprecedented times, the Catholic Charities team is hard at work responding to an increased demand for basic needs services, including food at our food pantries. To keep up with this demand, we are immensely grateful to our community partners for their generous donations and support. We can't thank these amazing partners enough for helping us help our neighbors in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team at United Way of Massachusetts Bay recently donated $20,000 towards relief funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. This donation enables us to continue providing vital services for our community members during this time of great uncertainty.
Bob Harrington at BMS has been a longtime partner of CCAB, providing us with paper bags for our food pantries.
Recently, he's ensured that our bag deliveries are efficient, allowing us to safely distribute food to our pantry clients. We are grateful for this ongoing support!
Our Merrimack Valley food pantry in Lowell recently received a $20,000 from DCU. This money is essential in helping us continue to provide our Merrimack Valley neighbors with food, hygiene items and other staples.
CCAB is thankful for the team at Brewster Ambulance helping us deliver food to our elderly neighbors in need in the Brockton area, who otherwise would not have access to food.
Hope and Comfort recently donated over 1,800 essential hygiene items to our Yawkey Center in Dorchester, including hand soap, toothpaste and shampoo. These items will be distributed to clients in need across the Boston area and we are very grateful for this support in getting essentials to our neighbors in need.
March 23, 2020
The COVID-10 pandemic is affecting people across the globe. Many individuals and families in our communities are finding themselves in a pinch, lacking the basic necessities to support their families during this time of uncertainty. At Catholic Charities of Boston, our focus remains on supporting and providing for our neighbors in need.
In a video message on March 18, Cardinal Sean O’Malley urged us to come together as a community, saying, “We need to take care of each other.” Watch his video address by clicking here.
During this stressful time, with so many suffering and fearful, we want to shine a light on the helpers who continue to show up to serve those who need it the most. We are so grateful for the CCAB community—our staff, volunteers and donors—who come together to help our neighbors all the time, but especially during this time of great need.
Take a look at what’s going on across the agency as we work to continue the programs and services that help over 175,000 people each year.
Here’s what’s going on in our Basic Needs program:
We’ve been busy putting together prepackaged food bags at each of our five food pantries. Our dedicated volunteers continue to show up to help with packaging and distributing these essentials to our neighbors in need. Volunteer groups are also coming forward from Holy Name and St. Cecilia parishes and the Brockton Public Schools.
We simply could not do what we do without the support and hard work of our volunteers. Cathy, pictured here, has been a dependable and indispensable volunteer at our Merrimack Valley Food Pantry in Lowell for over two years. At the young age of over 80, she says it brings her joy to help those less fortunate and know that she is doing her part.
We owe a special "thank you" to the organizations who help us stock our pantries, and provide for our shelter residents. Boston Public Schools and RLC (Rescuing Leftover Cuisine) both recently donated food to our St. Ambrose family shelter in Dorchester. St. Ambrose is also delivering food bags and other essentials to those in need in the local community through this crisis.
Lovin' Spoonfuls continues to be an amazing partner, delivering food to our pantry locations to help feed our neighbors in need. Just last week, they donated hundreds of pounds of food which helped us serve almost 700 families.
Here’s what’s going on in our Youth and Family Services program:
The staff at the Teen Center at St. Peter's makes sure that every teen enrolled in the program has food, and for those who have been unable to make it to the Center, others deliver the food to them!
CCAB’s team of behavioral health clinicians continues serving their clients via telephone and video conference appointments, as we encourage social distancing but also understand the positive impact that these appointments have on many individuals in our community.
We are supporting Boston Public Schools’ meal distributions with interpreter services to further aid our community members during a very vulnerable time.
Continue checking back here regularly for more stories of our community champions.
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