What could be better than a pre-4th of July picnic with games and fellowship? Apparently nothing! On July 1, Mercy House, a Catholic Charities-run housing complex for homeless individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS hosted residents from two other Catholic Charities’ housing groups, Pasco Women’s Shelter (Team PWS) in Hudson and Bethany Family Apartments (Team BFA) in Dade City, the former providing temporary, transitional housing for homeless women with children and the latter providing permanent supportive housing for homeless families with children.
The event was held outside where the rain held off (of course Florida being Florida, we had a few sprinkles!) long enough for guests to enjoy games of volleyball, kickball, dodgeball along with dining on hotdogs and hamburgers as well as ribs. Chef (aka ‘Cook’) Janice manned the grill and Team PWS program coordinator, Julie Kolb showed her volleyball skills while Program Manager (BFA, PWS and more) Taryn Mahabir-Best, leader of Team BFA, and Team Mercy House Senior Family Care Worker Karen Figgs and Program Specialist Anastacia Burgos did their level best to help their teams win!
Mark Dufva, Catholic Charities’ Executive Director, and Tomi Steinruck, Director of Community Services were both excited by the event itself, as well as the weather. In between participating in the festivities, Steinruck said, “Our first field day together turned out to be a huge success. It was wonderful to see our residents have a day to enjoy celebrating positive times and share their stories. The friendly competition didn’t stop people from making new friends and sharing and learning from each other’s life experiences. Everyone said they had a great time and loved interacting with residents from the other programs. They are looking forward to next year and we hope to make it bigger and better for them.” In describing his reactions to the day, Mark said, “It is wonderful that we are able to provide a day of fellowship and fun for our residents, many of whom might not otherwise be able to enjoy such festivities given their circumstances.”
Our employees, our residents and their guests were tired when the day was done, and while not everyone played the “big kid” games, they had fun nonetheless. Monica, resident at Pasco Women’s Shelter, and two of her three children took time to pose for a photograph while Rebekah’s son, a resident of Bethany Family Apartments with his mother, couldn’t keep his eyes and hands off the beach ball! No matter what age, a great time was had by all. We can’t wait until next year!