WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) will be taken up in parishes nationwide on Nov. 22-23, the weekend before Thanksgiving. Echoing the teaching of Pope Francis, the collection focuses on the theme: “CCHD: Working on the Margins.”
“In the United States, many Americans continue to face the effects of a stagnant economy, debilitating unemployment, a dehumanizing cycle of poverty, and growing civic disenfranchisement,” said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
“Families are choosing between food and rent and are worried about job security and low paychecks. Poverty affects us all. Following the mandate of Jesus, CCHD creates opportunities for communion and solidarity that help us all, especially the most vulnerable. Through CCHD, we foster the common good and work to build a society where no one is left behind,” he said.
This national collection is the primary source of funding for CCHD, the anti-poverty program of the bishops of the United States. CCHD’s grants empower communities to build pathways out of poverty and isolation. For over 40 years, community organizations supported by CCHD have brought the joy and hope of the gospel to those lost on the margins of society.
Last year, CCHD provided 209 grants, totaling just over $12 million. CCHD-supported projects help people and communities in a number of ways:
• Boston’s Haley House began offering bakery training at the request of a few regular guests at the soup kitchen. Haley House was able to expand the training into a six-month course to include customer relations and basic business principles. Seventy trainees have completed the program and are now employed in the Boston area. Haley House also offers cooking classes for at-risk teens and holistic support to men and women reentering the community after incarceration.
• In the Roanoke Valley, Va., Faith Works is building community through respectful dialogue. After listening to residents and members of parishes and congregations in the city’s Southeast area, the group worked to get the area recognized as “medically underserved,” thereby secured $6 million for a new health clinic. This change will make a dramatic difference in the lives of residents, 80 percent of whom are uninsured.
As part of CCHD’s new Strategic National Grants Program, five new grantees were awarded just over $2 million to work regionally on issues related to comprehensive immigration reform, affordable housing, poverty along the Mexico-United States border, support for farm workers in the Northwest, and access to Catholic education for Latino and Hispanic students.
More information about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is available at www.povertyusa.org.