Catholic Charities Today: Now More Than Ever
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 by Communications

“Wishing to lend every assistance practicable to alleviate the suffering and ameliorate the condition of the widows and orphans, the feeble and infirm, the weak and faltering, the abandoned and cast-off…”

So began the letter from concerned Chicago businessmen to His Eminence Cardinal George E. Mundelein in 1917, urging the formation of a central fundraising mechanism to help parishes struggling to meet the needs of the poor.

On November 29, 2012, in our 95th year, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago held the Annual Meeting of our Board of Directors and Board of AdvisorsAs 370 board members and staff convened at the Hilton hotel in downtown Chicago, we reflected upon the nearly ten decades of growth, change, adaptation and dedicated service to the needs of the poor that this social service agency has provided to the people of Cook and Lake Counties.

Since the First World War, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago has pursued our mission of service to poor and struggling families and individuals, using every available resource to reach our most vulnerable neighbors during challenging times.

Today, faced with increasing diverse and complex requests for assistance from individuals and families throughout Cook and Lake Counties, Catholic Charities continues to remain aware, flexible and adaptable to the evolving needs of our one million neighbors who come to us for assistance each day, year after year

Here is just a sampling of our 157 programs that serve or impact people 24 hours a day.

*1 a.m. Our Mobile Outreach telephone hotline dispatches a van to meet a young adult on the street and provide free transportation to a safe shelter.

*2 a.m. A Chicago mom quiets the cries of her baby daughter, who will now sleep through the night with a full tummy because the young family visited one of Catholic Charities’ 16 Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Centers.

*3 a.m. For the first time in more than a year, a mom, dad and their two children safely rest at one of Catholic Charities Interim Housing facilities for homeless families. Recently selected by the City of Chicago to expand its transitional shelter services, we provide more beds at night, and during the day offer numerous services such as counseling, access to available benefits, transportation to school for the children, and employment training for their parents. 

*5 a.m. A 62-year-old man finds security and privacy in his Section 202 apartment in one of Catholic Charities’ 20 Affordable Housing Residences for low-income seniors, including two new buildings completed this year. He will make himself breakfast before heading downstairs to a meeting of the Building Resident Council, followed by an information program on smoking cessation and a quick conversation with the site’s social worker.

*6 p.m. In the early evening, Madonna House, Catholic Charities’ renovated shelter for women and children in Wrigleyville, welcomes young adult volunteers from Catholic Charities’ Junior Board to read a story, share a snack, and work on a craft with the children, while the parents pursue goals of generating savings and finding employment. 

Last year, Catholic Charities’ Senior Services and Health Care helped 102,210 older adults and their families, especially those with low incomes, to maintain quality of life and independence for as long as possible, with in-home and community-based services that kept them grounded in familiar settings. Homemaker and Elder Abuse Services, as well as Senior Centers, assisted and protected these seniors with a range of programs and improved their quality of life. 

At all hours of the day or night throughout the year, Catholic Charities embraces each opportunity in our 157 programs to assist, protect and encourage the families, seniors, children and individuals we serve, especially those who are most in need.

The heart of our mission is service to the poor, because in serving our struggling neighbors, we serve Christ Himself. For many decades, our time-honored maxim has been: “Caritas Christi Urget Nos – The Charity of Christ Impels Us!”

Our Mission Statement sums up our purpose and our vision: “Catholic Charities fulfills the Church’s role in the mission of charity to anyone in need by providing compassionate, competent and professional services that strengthen and support individuals, families and communities based on the value and dignity of human life.”

Now, more than ever, as we embrace and continue our 95-year tradition of serving our most vulnerable neighbors in ever more challenging times, we receive increasingly diverse and complex requests for assistance. Strengthened by faith and hope, our tradition of professional excellence, the outstanding support of our Board of Directors and Board of Advisors, and our generous volunteers and donors throughout Cook and Lake counties, Catholic Charities gratefully looks forward to serving families and individuals in need for years to come. 

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