Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you for your support of our mission and programs, for volunteering in our programs, for telling others about our ministries, and for attending our awareness-raising events. Thank you, especially, for your generous investments in others.
As 2019 draws to a close, it is only natural to review how we did over the year with what you provided to others through us. Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg impacted over 12,000 people in five west-central counties. We served 240,000 meals to the hungry, housed nearly 4,400 people, welcomed more than 2,500 new citizens to our great country, and helped nearly 2,600 families celebrate the blessing of a new baby through pregnancy or adoption.
Over 1,000 men, women and children who fell through the cracks of our fractured health care system received free medical care. Older adults enjoyed stable, safe housing through 14 apartment complexes for low-income seniors. Our housing programs kept people away from life on the streets, provided refuge for some suffering from domestic violence, and provided services so people could rebuild their lives. Families eager to purchase their first homes and reach financial stability received counseling on how to make the best decisions for their future.
Special projects your local Catholic Charities completed this year include:
• Opening the thirty-third and final Hope Cottage™. These 20-foot steel shipping containers were repurposed to improve living accommodations for Pinellas Hope homeless residents.
• Building a community center at San Jose Mission in Dover, so migrant farm worker families can
enjoy afterschool enrichment programs, assistance coordination, the celebration of the Mass and
community events – rain or shine.
• Renovating and converting an old Brooksville motel for use as housing for Veterans and purchasing a Tampa apartment complex for conversion to affordable housing.
• Adding Perinatal Comfort Care services, to accompany parents facing pregnancies where their unborn child has been diagnosed with a fatal health condition.
• Adding a portable dental unit to our free medical clinic programs.
Unfortunately, it is not enough. My staff and I constantly review our community’s needs. Two major areas of concern are affordable housing and affordable medical care. In support of Bishop Parkes’ Courageously Living the Gospel initiative to add 8-10 locations of affordable housing, we are planning additional units in Hillsborough (2), Pasco (2), Citrus (1) and Pinellas (1) counties. We are expanding our medical operations in partnership with BayCare Health System at both La Esperanza Free Medical Clinic in Wimauma and Pinellas Hope.
We could never accomplish what we did this past year without your prayers, your investments and your trust. Even as I thank you for everything you have done, I ask you to keep us close to your heart in 2020. Please consider us as you make your Christmas donations and throughout the year with sustaining gifts on our website (Catholic Charities), through MobileCause (text MERCY to 91999), through AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com/ch/59-0875805) or through Change-Makers (text CCDOSP to 43506) for donations of spare change.
The Catholic Charities mission is to “serve with compassion and charity to promote the sanctity and dignity of all people with God.” Thank you for joining us as we live out that mission and for following, in a very concrete way, Christ’s mandate to help the less fortunate among us.
I wish you and yours a Blessed Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.
Margaret (Maggie) Rogers