The Diocese of Des Moines
Catholic Charities

December 9, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

During this season of hopeful expectation, join in praying to end world hunger. Pope Francis and Caritas International are leading tomorrow's global wave of prayer. The idea is to pause at noon, wherever you are in the diocese or the world, and pray. Caritas' official prayer is below. First, hear Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, President of Caritas International, invite us to prayer:

 

 

Noon Prayer on December 10, 2013

Printable Flyer in English Spanish

 

O God, you entrusted to us the fruits of all creation so that we might care for the earth
and be nourished with its bounty.

 

You sent us your Son to share our very flesh and blood and to teach us your Law of Love.

Through His death and resurrection, we have been formed into one human family.

 

Jesus showed great concern for those who had no food – even transforming five loaves and two fish into a banquet that served five thousand and many more.

 

We come before you, O God, conscious of our faults and failures, but full of hope,
to share food with all members in this global family.

 

Through your wisdom, inspire leaders of government and of business,
as well as all the world’s citizens, to find just, and charitable solutions to end hunger
by assuring that all people enjoy the right to food.

 

Thus we pray, O God, that when we present ourselves for Divine Judgment,
we can proclaim ourselves as one human family with food for all.

 

AMEN

 

 Visit Caritas Online




April 19, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

We hope you have been enjoying Catholic Charities blog and have found it useful, interesting and informative! To better communicate with you, we have re-designed our blog for easier identification and to provide you with a more user-friendly experience.

 

 

 

To receive notifications of blog updates specifically for Catholic Charities related information click here. Enter your email address (the "sign up for e-mail notification" field is on the left) and click submit.

 

 

 


 

 

After you have subscribed through the Catholic Charities website, all blog notifications from us will come into your inbox as: CatholicCharities@dmdiocese.org.

 

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns at 515-237-5078 or tradke@dmdiocese.org.

 

And as always - thank you so much for your support!




April 5, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

How is the work that is done through Catholic Charities distinctively Catholic? We certainly serve and employ people of all faiths, provide professionservices similar to other social service agencies, so what makes our work Catholic?

 

Catholic Charities Executive Director Nancy Galeazzi and myself (Trish Radke, staff member) returned today from a training that explored just that.

 

Held in New Ulm, Minnesota, the training was hosted by Catholic Charities USA as part of its Mission Integration work and gathered leadership from Catholic Charities agencies in Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota.

 

Among many topics discussed was the underlying theme that, though Catholic Charities agencies around the country are unique in structure and programming, we are all guided by Catholic social teaching that leads us to serve the poor and vulnerable in our local communities with faith-filled compassion. Someone at the conference said it best...how could you do this work without faith?

 

The dignity and respect of the human person is truly at the core of what we do.

 

Interested in learning more about the key principles of Catholic social teaching that guide the work we do? Check out the CCUSA website here for a quick overview.

 

Catholic Charities in the Des Moines Diocese is involved in the opportunities offered through Catholic Charities USA and utilizes the resources and relationships to evolve the work that we do locally. From policy development, advocacy at a national level, leadership training and resource sharing, Catholic Charities USA links almost 1700 agencies around the US that carry out the social mission of the Catholic Church.

 

As a volunteer or supporter of Catholic Charities, YOU are part of this network too-- a network that provides help and hope for more than 9 million people of all faiths each year.




March 31, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

To kick off Sexual Assault Awareness Month which is recognized nationally throughout the month of April, the Phoenix House Domestic Violence Program & Sexual Abuse Program organized a proclamation signing this morning with Mayor Tom Hanafan of Council Bluffs.
 
In attendance was Sheri Smith with Kaplan University’s School of Criminal Justice, Phoenix House Coordinator Diane McKee, Jim Matthai from the Pottawattamie County Sheriffs’s Office, Superintendent of Council Bluffs Public Schools Dr. Martha Bruckner, CB Police Department Chief Ralph O’Donnell, Jill Ferguson from Jennie Edmundson Hospital and Athletic Director at Iowa Western Community College Brenda Hampton.
 
Each one of these people work hard every day to protect and educate the public about domestic and sexual violence and to provide help and healing to those affected by such violence. A big thanks to them for publically affirming their commitment to end violence and for encouraging the community to support programs that assist victims in finding the help they need.
 
Catholic Charities Phoenix House is active in providing education which is key to violence prevention advocates say. Last year alone, Vicki-lynn Anderson, the Phoenix House Training and Prevention Educator presented the 10 week anti violence curriculum called "Safe Dates or Flirting or Hurting" to over 600 students in Council Bluffs middle schools.
 
But there is so much more to be done. Please join the Phoenix House during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and all year long in taking an active role to stop sexual and domestic violence in your community. 
 
For more information about the Phoenix House including "The Art of Healing" a Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault fundraiser and awareness event coming up April 7, 2011 click here. 
 
For more information about Sexual Assault Awareness Month visit http://www.nsvrc.org/saam.
 
 

 




March 25, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

Yes-- we did say laundry lovers!

Let me explain.

 

Thanks to the generosity of so many people in our community, Catholic Charities' Refugee Resettlement Program has an amazing stock of donated comforters, blankets and sheets that will be used in apartments for refugee families that have been forced to leave their home country because of war and violence. Read more about Refugee Resettlement here.

 

Part of an apartment set-up process through the Refugee Resettlement Program is providing basic necessities, like blankets, sheets and other bedding. So, after all of these items are generously donated, volunteers are needed to help take loads of the items to the laundromat to be washed.

 

That's where you laundry-lovers come in!

 

Volunteers can offer to pick up a load or two to launder, and then return it clean and ready to provide a safe, warm and dignified place for people coming from unspeakable circumstances.

 

If you are interested in helping us with this within the next two weeks please contact Katie Ryan via email or by phone - 515-237-5090!
 

 




March 24, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

The current crisis in Japan and other disasters throughout the world affect the anxiety levels of adults and children alike. As a parent, I have been wondering (as I am sure many of you have) if my children are taking all of this in and how it may be affecting their behavior. So, I went to our professional counseling staff to get tips on who to ease children's fears about disaster and crisis.

 

Here is what they had to say:

 

Being mindful of how you as a parent react to news of crisis and disaster, and first managing your own emotions, is key in helping your children work through their fears.

 

“How parents react and cope in the situation directly effects how children react,” says Sharon Bandstra, L.I.S.W., therapist with Catholic Charities.  Bandstra says that being aware of your own fears and how you project them onto those around you is essential in helping children deal with their fears.

 
Other tips that may help reduce anxiety and fears related to news of crisis and disasters include:
  • First, consider how you are managing yourself. Children pick up on cues from parents, so if you can stay calm, it is easier for your children to stay calm.
  • Preparation is key. Have a plan of action for disasters that would directly affect your family and talk to your children about it. Make sure your plan is detailed and includes scenarios like, if there is a fire in the house meet in the neighbor’s front yard by the large oak tree.
  • Separate facts from fears. Children tend to worry about worse case scenarios and facts can help ease some of those unrealistic fears. They may not need all of the details, but it is essential to help them sort out the facts.
  • Keep to your schedule. If the disaster/crisis has directly affected your family you may need to create a new schedule or pattern. Predictably helps ease anxiety in children and adults, so sticking to a routine is essential.
And finally, therapists say that it is important to understand that some people may be more sensitive to external events, and may need more time to adjust and take in the information. Be aware and attentive to the specific way your child handles anxiety.
 
 
About Catholic Charities Professional Counseling
For more than 50 years, the Counseling Program at Catholic Charities has provided supportive relationships in a clinical setting to individuals and families of all faiths. Licensed therapists, including a bilingual therapist, provide quality, professional counseling services focusing on the management of anxiety in a variety of life situations including job loss, divorce, parenting, anger management, grief and loss, depression, stress, marriage, drug and alcohol abuse, among many others.
 
Appointments are available in downtown Des Moines, Ankeny, Waukee, Perry and Council Bluffs.  Most major insurance is accepted and clients without insurance can utilize a sliding scale fee structure that meets each client’s needs and is based on income and family size and ranges between $10-$125. Contact the Des Moines office at 515-237-5045 and the Council Bluffs office at 712-328-3086.

 




March 9, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

Today, Ash Wednesday, we would like to share with you a touching reflection  written by a Director of Catholic Charities in Tennessee. Be sure to read all the way to the end where he talks about "taking up" your skills (rather than giving something up) to help bring the poor and vulnerable out of the ash and into hope.

 

What a wonderful message to all those who give hope through their work with Catholic Charities!

 

 

As a college student, we called it over the hump day. As a high school teacher, we called it review day. At Catholic Charities, we call it activity day for the day care, or half-price day at the thrift store or soup day in the kitchen. In many ways, it is just another day, the most ordinary day of the week, the weekend prior has already passed and the Sunday to come seems far off. Wednesday is sort of stuck in the mud. No wonder our church takes this day, the most ordinary day, and buries it in ashes. It is a day when we are reminded of our humanity, that we are "dust and to dust we shall return." It is a day we are covered with ash where we can't see even the possibility of the light of Easter Sunday.

 

This Ash Wednesday is a symbol of the day that many of our clients, residents, students, and guests experience as their everyday. The ash and weight of poverty, homelessness and depression surround them so that not even the possibility of a new life can be seen. In response to these ashes of despair, we at Catholic Charities are called to provide help in lifting others out of the ash and to provide hope for the possibility of new life.

 

On this Ash Wednesday let us, staff, volunteers, board members, in all capacities recall that this often referred to as the day that we "GIVE up" candy or soda, let us instead "TAKE up" our skills in order to dust off the hopelessness, our hands to wipe off the sadness, and our hearts to shed light through despair. This is the gift of being part of our Catholic Charities network of service: We get to lead people from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday!

 

Let us pray that the next 40 days can be days of hope and help leading us to a new experience of life and hope.

 

-Written by Fr. Ragan Schriver, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Eastern Tennessee




February 24, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

On Saturday, February 19, the House of Representatives recommended massive cuts to various humanitarian assistance programs, including: 
  • 45% cut to Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA)
  • 10.4% cut to the Office of Refugee Resettlement
  • 67% cut to International Disaster Assistance (IDA)

This would greatly impact Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program which, in the last six months, has helped resettle 126 refugees who have been forced to leave their home country due to war and persecution.

 

The Senate will likely vote on its own FY2011 spending bill the first week of March. 

 
What We Need to Do: Please call your Senators and urge them to reverse these cuts, and to instead support funding these accounts at the same amounts as enacted last year (FY2010). Please call as soon as possible and no later than March 1st. The Senate will be in their home states this week until Feb. 25th, so please also try to schedule a meeting or just drop in to talk with them and their staff about the need to stop these cuts and robustly fund the refugee program.  Go to www.senate.gov  to find out who your Senators are, and call (202) 224-3121 to be connectedto the DC offices of your Senators.
 
If you call - What to say:
- Hello, my name is [name] and I’m calling from [town/city].
 
- I am calling to ask [Senator] to not cut, and to instead support strong funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Migration and Refugee Assistance, and International Disaster Assistance.
 
- I help resettle and provide services to refugees in Des Moines, Iowa. While I fully recognize the pressures to reduce spending, the United States has a responsibility to provide adequate services to those whom the U.S. government has committed to protect. When local agencies are adequately funded, services are available that help refugees integrate and become vibrant and productive members of our communities.
 
- As a constituent, I deeply care about the fate of refugees in the U.S. and abroad. Cutting these accounts will have a devastating impact on refugees and the communities hosting them. I urge you to stop these cuts, and instead fund these accounts as they were funded last year, in fiscal year 2010.
 
If you email - What to write:
Dear Senator:
As your constituent, I write to urge you to save the refugee resettlement program from drastic cuts, and to fund the Migration and Refugee Assistance Account (MRA); Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR); and International Disaster Assistance (IDA) accounts at their FY2010 enacted levels. Cuts to these accounts, which have been historically under-funded, will have a devastating affect on refugees, Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa recipients, victims of torture and trafficking, other vulnerable populations, as well as communities across the country that welcome these populations.
 
While I fully recognize the pressures to reduce spending, the United States has a responsibility to provide adequate services to those whom the U.S. government has committed to protect. Once refugees are resettled to the United States, too often there are insufficient resources available to help them find employment and integrate into their communities. If those services are available then refugees can integrate and become vibrant and productive members of our communities. Similarly, if the U.S. and other leading donors reduce their humanitarian commitments, many displaced persons will be left without basic care and protection, and that this will put increasing pressure on poor countries hosting refugees.
 
Life-saving programs funded by the Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) and International Disaster Assistance (IDA) are the last resort for those refugees who cannot stay in their country of first asylum and cannot return home, including Iraqi refugees who are targeted because of their work for the U.S. Government; Burmese fleeing a repressive regime; and, Darfuris driven out of their homes and surviving in harsh camp conditions. Similarly, resettlement in the U.S. is the only solution for many refugees living in limbo, and the services provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) are essential to refugees integrating and building new lives in the United States.
 
As your constituent, I strongly urge Congress to provide robust support in fiscal year 2011 for refugee assistance and resettlement. Without strong support the United States will experience significant challenges in resettling refugees in the coming years. Such a setback in the program would undermine the United States’ ability to meet its international humanitarian obligations to protect refugees worldwide.
 
 
About Catholic Charities Social Justice Consortium:
Catholic Charities’ Social Justice Consortium promotes the social justice mission of the Catholic Church. Guided by Bishop Richard Pates, the group’s mission is to work toward a comprehensive and consistent ethic of life for the pursuit of the common good. Initiatives include Respect Life, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities’ USA Poverty Campaign, JustFaith ministries, Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse Advocacy, Justice for Newcomers and Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Response.
 

 




February 16, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

Last Friday night about 250 people gathered for a special preview of a film by New York filmmaker Luis Argueta. The film has gained national attention, sparked interest from local media like the Des Moines Register and hits extremely close to home … the film was a documentary about Postville Iowa,  where one of the largest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in the history of the United States took place in 2008.

 
The documentary, "abUSed: The Postville Raid," was incredibly educational and not only put names and faces to the thousands of people affected by the raid (which was not only the detained workers, but also their husbands, wives, children, friends, school teachers, town restaurant owners, school principals, day care centers…), but also walked the viewer through a much broader picture of the issue.
 
The film takes a look at the legal proceedings that followed the raid, the history of the meat packing industry and how it came to settle in small town America and the circumstances surrounding the decisions immigrants make when deciding to come to the US.
 
All this is intertwined with personal stories that reinforce again and again the need for comprehensive immigration reform:
-         the little boy who no longer sees his mother because she was deported
-         men who worked hours upon hours without getting paid for time worked
-         mothers who wear ankle devices 24/7 with travel limited to boundaries that prohibit work and medical appointments
-         underage workers being subjected to long hours in poor working conditions with dangerous equipment
 
So, where can you see this film? A massive outreach campaign is being launched to get the documentary out to as many people as possible and includes education modules for high schools and colleges, the film in multiple languages, submissions to film festivals and special screenings. Potential television screenings are planned for mid-2011 and a DVD release will soon follow. Get updates and more information via Facebook: aBUsed the Postville Raid.
 
For more information about the film or Catholic Charities’ Justice for Newcomers Social Justice Consortium initiative, contact Sol Varisco at 515-237-5068.



February 14, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

Experienced marriage counselors at Catholic Charities say that one of the best gifts you can give your spouse this Valentine's Day is a gift that involves maintenance.
“Periodically, you have to get your car in for a tune up to make sure it stays running smoothly,” says Sharon Bandstra L.I.S.W., therapist at Catholic Charities. “Marriage is similar. Sometimes you need to ‘check in’ with your spouse which helps keep your relationship running smoothly.”
Counselors suggest several ways to “tune up” your marriage:
·         Make time for each other. Demands of children, work, extended family and other activities can make it hard to find time for your spouse. Making a special effort to spend time together will help maintain a healthy relationship.
·         Consider how your behaviors play a role in your relationship with your spouse. For example, ask yourself how you handle day to day stressors and then consider how the resulting conduct effects your relationship.
·         Consider talking through issues with a professional counselor. More and more couples are finding solace in speaking with counselors about small issues before they become larger.
Counselors also encourage couples to remember that all relationships have their ups and downs but that a little attention to maintenance can make a big difference.
The Catholic Charities Counseling Program is based on Bowen Family Systems Theory, a theory that assists families and individuals through the understanding and improvement of human relationships. The professional, licensed counseling staff, which includes a bilingual therapist, works with clients of all faiths regarding a number of issues, including marriage.
Insurance is accepted and for those whose coverage does not include marriage counseling (or for those without insurance), fees are based on income and family size.
Evening appointments are available. To schedule an appointment contact the Des Moines office at 515-244-3761 or the Council Bluffs office at 712-328-3086.

 




February 8, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

Great article in the Business Record about Tom Moreland's entrepreneurial and charitable efforts, including his support of the St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter expansion!

 

Just as the article portrays, this is a person who has vision and truly wants to use that vision to help others.

 

At the blessing of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter this past November, Tom said, "As we celebrate the new shelter, let us not forget that there are people right here in Des Moines that won't have a place to stay tonight and that don't have a roof over their head. We have to keep fighting poverty." 

The world could use a few more people like Tom!

 




February 3, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

If you are looking for a challenging yet rewarding volunteer position, or an opportunity to do something just plain good, we have a volunteer job for you!
 
St. Mary Family Center, our food and clothing pantry located at 1815 Hubbell in Des Moines, is in need of volunteers to assist at the clothing desk.
 
Clothing Desk Volunteers help monitor clothing closet traffic, document items going in and out and enhance the quality of services offered at St. Mary Family Center by maintaining a dignified and respectful environment for people seeking assistance.
 
Help is needed on a regular basis between the hours of 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Mon.-Fri. Take a shift once a week or once a month!
 
Kind and assertive individuals are encouraged to contact Pat Nestvedt at 515-237-5019 or pnestvedt@dmdiocese.org.  
 



January 27, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

Catholic Charities Social Justice Consortium along with other local pro-life organizations are hosting the annual Prayer for Life Day, Tues., Feb. 8.

 

 

The day will begin at the Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave. in Des Moines and end with lobbying and a rally at the State Capitol.

 

Highlights of the day include:

  • Keynote speaker Abby Johnson - Johnson became a pro-life advocate after working in the abortion industry. She will share her personal story and testimony about her transformation.

  • Lobbying Training & guidance as you go and lobby our legislators!

  • Prayer Rally at the Capitol.

 

Only able to make part of the day? The entire schedule is below:

9:30 a.m. Registration

9:45 a.m. Abby Johnson Speaks

10:45 a.m. Q&A with Abby Johnson

11:15 a.m. Lobbying Training

11:35 a.m. Sponsoring Organizations Share

12:00 Lunch

1:00 p.m. Lobbying Legislators at the State Capitol

3:00 p.m. Prayer Rally

 

 

Reservations for the morning speakers are required by calling 515-244-1012 or by email at iowa@iowaRTL.org.

        

Catholic Charities’ Social Justice Consortium promotes the social justice mission of the Catholic Church. Guided by Bishop Richard Pates, the group’s mission is to work toward a comprehensive and consistent ethic of life for the pursuit of the common good. Initiatives include Respect Life, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities’ USA Poverty Campaign, JustFaith ministries, Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse Advocacy, Justice for Newcomers and Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Response.

 

For more information about the Respect Life initiative, contact Wendy Solawetz at 515-237-5082.




January 20, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

The annual Mass for Life is tomorrow night, Fri., Jan 21 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Pius Church, 3601 66th St. (Corner of 66th and Douglas) in Urbandale.

 

If you have never attended, we encourage you to take part in the evening which will include  excerpts from Tom Quiner’s upcoming musical, "The Pope of the People" beginning at 6:00 p.m.

The Mass will follow at 6:30 p.m. with Bishop Richard Pates presiding.

 

 

The Respect Life initiative is part of Catholic Charities Social Justice Consortium and assists parishes in understanding and implementing the concept of the Consistent Life Ethic, whereby the respect and dignity of all persons is embraced from the moment of conception to natural death.

 

Catholic Charities' Social Justice Consortium is committed to working toward a comprehensive and consistent ethic of life for the pursuit of the common good. Read more about the consortium and other initiatives here.

 

Also, don't forget to save the date of Feb. 8 for the Prayer for Life Rally! Speaker and writer, Abby Johnson will share her personal story about working in the abortion industry and her conversion to pro-life advocate.  

 

On that same day-- Feb. 8 the annual Legislative Mass will be held at St. Ambrose Cathedral, 607 High St. in Des Moines at 6 p.m. All four bishops of Iowa will celebrate the annual Legislative Mass and we are all are invited to join them.




January 11, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

The documentary, "Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth," has been hailed for putting a face on the issue of immigration and the ongoing struggle of immigrants.

 

Catholic Charities' Social Justice Consortium is co-hosting a screening of this eye-opening documentary this Sun., Jan. 16 at 3 pm at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1548 8th St. in Des Moines.

 

"Papers" is the story of undocumented youth and the challenges they face as they turn 18 without legal status. The movie is an opportunity to learn more about the need for comprehensive immigration reform and a change in public policy.

 

The screening is free and open to the public. Catholic Charities encourages anyone wanting to know more about immigration issues to attend the viewing.

 

It will be a Sunday afternoon well-spent.

 

 




January 6, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

Happy New Year to everyone. Like many of you, Catholic Charities is off and running this New Year with a calendar full of day to day service to clients, special events and new ventures. Here are just a few dates for you to mark on your 2011 calendar!

 

Jan. 16 - Community viewing of “Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth,” Grace United Methodist Church at 3:00 p.m.


Jan. 21 
-  Mass for Life, St. Pius Church at 6 p.m. 


Feb. 8
- Prayer for Life, 9:30-12:30 p.m. at the Catholic Pastoral Center followed by lobbying and Prayer Rally at State Capital from 12:30–3:30 p.m.


April 7
- Fourth annual Art of Healing fundraiser for the Phoenix House Domestic Violence Shelter and Sexual Abuse Program in Council Bluffs


June 23
- Catholic Charities Night at the Iowa Cubs, Principal Park


Aug. 29
- Bishop's Catholic Charities Golf Classic, Echo Valley Country Club


Dec. 2-4 - No Room at the Inn, fundraiser and awareness event for St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter

 

 

 

 




January 6, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

Longtime Catholic Charities staff member Mary Stookey died at Iowa Methodist Medical Center on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 following complications from pneumonia. Mary was an Administrative Secretary at Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Des Moines for 30 years!

 
Mary was known for so many things especially her genuine respect and empathy for the clients she welcomed daily, the words of wisdom that she could offer on almost any topic and her one-of-a-kind sense of humor.
 
Mary will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
 
Please remember Mary, her family, friends, co-works and everyone whose lives she touched in your prayers. 

 

 

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

 

Friday, January 7th
Visitation will be from 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Hamilton’s Funeral Home in Altoona
105 Fourth Street S.W. - Altoona, Iowa 50009
 
Saturday, January 8th
Funeral Mass will be at 11:00 am
at St. Ambrose Cathedral, 607 High Street in Des Moines
a luncheon will follow at the Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave. in Des Moines
 



December 21, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Still wondering what to give that hard-to-buy-for person on your Christmas list?

 

How about a gift that is impossible to wrap-- a Gift of Hope.

 

By making a gift to Catholic Charities in a loved one’s name this Christmas, you will provide essential services for our friends and neighbors who are struggling. Food, shelter, clothing, financial assistance, counseling and support to return to self-sufficiency are gifts that we can all feel good about giving and receiving.
 

Here are just a few of the many ways your gift will keep on giving long after it is opened:

  • $25 provides a family of four with a five-day emergency food box
  • $38 provides one night of shelter at our emergency homeless shelter for families
  • $72 provides a one-month bus pass for a refugee mother and her child during the cold winter months
  • $100 provides emergency rental assistance for a family struggling to buy medicine or pay rent
  • $500 provides rental assistance for a refugee family from a war-torn country coming to the US to start a new life

To give a Gift of Hope this Christmas:
1 .Click here for a remittance stub to mail in with your donation or click here to donate online today.
2. ANNOUNCE YOUR GIFT by using a Gift of Hope tribute card to tell of your gift. Tuck a card in your own special card or wrap one up in a box.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Catholic Charities!




December 15, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

The butter nativity sculpture that captured much attention during Catholic Charities annual No Room at the Inn event on Dec. 3-5 will be on display one more time this Advent season.  

 

Our friends out at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in West Des Moines are displaying the butter nativity sculpture tonight during their Live Nativity from 5:45pm-8pm.

 

As part of a Confirmation project, the 8th students will be sharing information and taking donations for St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.

 

Special thanks to those who helped to move and store the sculpture and to artist Sarah Pratt for retouching the beautiful work of art.

 

Thanks to the St. Francis Knights of Columbus for their hard work bringing the Live Nativity to our No Room at the Inn event every year and for the beautiful job they do with it!




December 13, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Winter has arrived! If you are feeling miserable because of our Iowa winter weather, just think of those who don’t have proper coats or hats or boots!

 

We currently have an urgent need for winter-wear in the Refugee Resettlement Program. Help us create a warm Iowa welcome to families coming from war-torn countries (many of which have never seen snow!)

 

How can you help?

Donate new or gently used coats, hats, scarves, gloves, boots and snow pants. All sizes needed! 

  • Hold a donation drive at work or at your church.
  • Hosting a holiday party? Ask your guests to bring new or gently used winter-wear items.
  • Kids looking for service projects? Organize a “Warm Welcome” coat drive for Refugee families.
  • Out shopping and find a great sale on winter coats? Pick one up for a refugee who is experiencing an Iowa winter for the first time.

Donations can be dropped off

Mon.-Fri., 8:30am-4:30pm at:

Catholic Charities

601 Grand Ave.

Des Moines, IA 50309

 

Thank you for helping to create a WARM IOWA WELCOME for refugee families!

 




December 8, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

This week is looking to be one of the busiest ever with 7 refugee families arriving through our Refugee Resettlement Program. Volunteers are urgently needed to help set-up apartments and winter coats, hats and gloves are also a top need-- especially with the winter storm coming in this weekend!

 

Call Katie at 515-237-5090 or email at kryan@dmdiocese.org if you can help!




November 28, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Preparations for the annual No Room at the Inn homelessness awareness event have already begun. Many of you have already heard about the newest addition to exhibition of nativities from all over the world - the butter nativity.

 

This year, the nativity exhibition will feature a hand-sculpted butter nativity by artist Sarah Pratt. Sarah is the current artist behind the butter art featured at the Iowa State Fair and is creating a butter sculpture of the holy family.

 

Sarah has been hard at work over the holiday weekend to create the 5 foot sculpture that is housed in a large 8 foot by 6 foot cooler donated by our friends at Borgen Systems in Des Moines.

 

 Follow the creation of the butter sculpture on our Facebook page. We are posting photos of the project.

 

So many people have helped to make the butter sculpture part of this year's event including past Board member and current Marketing Committee member Joe Hrdlicka. Kent Lehs over at

Midwest Dairy Association and AMPI (Associated Milk Producers) have also made the sculpture possible. It has been an amazing process to watch happen! Thanks to everyone who has made this possible!

 

Many people have asked (or are at least thinking), "why a butter nativity?"

 

Well, has it peeked your interest?

Do you want to come and see it just a little bit?

Have you told your friends about it yet?

It is our hope that the butter nativity will be viewed as not only an amazing work of art, but also as a way bring attention to the plight of the homeless, especially homelessness among families.

 

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Last year, 14,068 Iowans were in homeless families. This is a big issue and it deserves big issue attention.

 

It is our hope that this fun-spirited Iowa tradition will bring some new attention to homelessness in our communities and help us to remember the true reason for the season.




November 24, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Our outreach centers have been extremely busy these last few weeks and the media has been capturing many of our efforts to assist people in need. Check out the following stories on WHO TV and KCCI.

 

At St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter, staff have been gearing up to increase the number of families staying at the shelter. Thanks for the recent remodel and expansion, the shelter can accomodate up to 10 families.  The public is invited to tour the new facility during No Room at the Inn coming up Dec. 5.

 

A metro shelter for families is celebrating a new expansion but says the demand for help is continuing to grow. The St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter in Des Moines is the only shelter in Polk County that keeps homeless families together.
 
 
At St. Mary Family Center, volunteers have given out 450 hams and turkeys since last Thursday. Manager, Susie Paloma said that they distributed 120 food boxes last Thursday (a record for one day), 107 food boxes on Friday and another 90 on Monday. Many of the food boxes distributed were to new families, indicating a disturbing trend in the number of families seeking assistance.
 
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Des Moines Area Religious Council pantries are serving on average 400-500 new families per month who have never before requested emergency food from the DMARC network. Tuesday, November 23, 2010.
 
 

 

 

 




November 16, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

It is difficult for those of us who have enough to truly understand the situations that families living in poverty experience every day – the decisions they have to make, and the fears and frustrations they feel.
 
That is why Catholic Charities and JustFaith of Des Moines are inviting you to walk a mile in the shoes of those facing poverty by participating in a
 
 
Held in conjunction with Catholic Charities annual  No Room at the Inn homelessness awareness event, the hands-on simulation will help you understand what it might be like to live in a low-income family trying to survive month to month.
 
A suggested donation of $10 helps to cover the cost to put on the simulation.
 
The simulation is getting outstanding "reviews" from those who have gone through it and community leaders are taking the time to go through the simulation. On Thursday of this week, Catholic Charities and Just Faith are hosting a special simulation for the West Des Moines Leadership Academy.
 
Here are what some past participants are saying:
“The poverty simulation was very eye opening for me. I must admit to some preconceived ideas about those who are poor and even some judgments. The simulation really opened my eyes to the major hurdles that the poor face as they try to help themselves. I had never “walked in their shoes” and that’s what the simulation does. Thankfully, we only have to “pretend” to be poor for an hour or so, but the reality of their situation settles on you very quickly.”  Patsy Carlson, Poverty Simulation participant.
 
Please pass this on to friends, relatives, teachers, school boards, city, church and other councils and to anyone that could benefit from walking a mile in the shoes of someone living in poverty.  

 

We encourage you to register today!

 




November 12, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Since everyone else is saying it, I guess we will too -- the holiday season is upon us.

Don't worry, we won't be hanging the decorations quite yet (Advent is still two weeks away), but we are encouraging people to use the momentum and magic of the holiday season to think about issues like poverty, huger and homelessness.

 

Next week is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and Catholic Charities' Social Justice Consortium is looking forward to attend a community event called, "Opening Doors, Celebrating Stories of Homelessness to Hope" on Nov. 16. Real people, who have experienced real homelessness will share their stories-- stories of success.

 

As part of Catholic Charities work with the homeless population, staff are taking part in the event hosted by the Polk County Housing Continuum, a collaboration of organizations serving the poor and homeless in the county. 

 

Megan Thibodeau, Program Coordinator for Catholic Charities Poverty Reduction Programs, is part of the group organizing the event. She, along with many other providers that sit on the Polk County Housing Continuum, are very dedicated to addressing the issue of homelessness and work with homeless families daily.

 

St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter and St. Mary Family Center are two of Catholic Charities Poverty Reduction Programs that serve homeless or people and families at risk of becoming homeless.  Both programs have seen a steady increase in needs over the last few years.

 

Below is a copy of the press release with more information. Join us in reflecting on hunger and homelessness. If you can't attend this, consider attending the "No Room at the Inn" homelessness awareness event coming up Sat. & Sun. Dec. 4-5.

 

AREA ORGANIZATION PRESENTS STORIES OF HOMELESSNESS TO HOPE
WHAT:  Opening Doors
WHEN: November 16th, 4:30-6:30 pm
WHERE: United Way Atrium, 1111 9th Street
FOR MORE INFO CONTACT: Merlie Crowley, 515.282.3233 Ext. 4,  mcrowley@pchtf.org
 
Homelessness in Polk County has increased, with more families with children in particular finding themselves without a roof over their head.  But even in the toughest of times, people are persevering and overcoming great challenges.  At Opening Doors, an event staged by the Polk County Housing Continuum November 16th at United Way, formerly homeless people describe how they turned their lives around.
 
"These are people that have overcome major challenges in their lives," says Tim Shanahan, Chair of the Polk County Housing Continuum and Director of Hawthorn Hill/New Directions Shelter.  "The perseverance and courage these people have shown is truly inspiring.  We wanted people to share their stories so that the public would understand that the homeless are just like you and me.  We really believe this event will put a face on the homeless problem in Des Moines."
 
"In Polk County, there were 5801 homeless people in 2009 of which were 688 families with children." says Merlie Crowley Polk County Housing Continuum Coordinator, "That’s a 7.6% increase in homeless people, mostly families with children.   Additionally there were 4562 people at imminent risk of becoming homeless."
 
Opening Doors is hosted by the Polk County Housing Continuum, a collaboration of organizations serving the poor and homeless in the county.  Additional support comes from Nationwide Insurance and United Way.  The event is held in conjunction with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, which is held each year one week before Thanksgiving to draw attention to dire situations faced by many locally and across the country.
 
"Homelessness isn’t a permanent situation," Shanahan says "“People come to terms with the problems in their lives and make changes for the better every day.  The people at this event are living proof of this."



November 11, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

It may not be surprising that therapists with the Counseling Program at Catholic Charities are seeing a trend in the number of military families seeking support due to the stress and anxiety caused by separation because of deployments.

 

What may be surprising is the level of anxiety surrounding families when the soldiers come home.

 

"While reunification is a time of great relief and happiness for families, it can also be a time of great stress, " says Stacie Weires, therapist with Catholic Charities Counseling Program in Des Moines. "When the military family member is away, everyone takes on a new role in the family system, making re-entry a stressful transition time for many families."
 
Therapists offer several tips to help ease the transition:
  • Spouses should take the time to reconnect with each other which in turn will strengthen the entire family unit.
  • Be practical and remember that everything is not going to be exactly as it was prior to the family member's deployment.
  • Try not to rush things upon the family members return. Give everyone time to ease into the new dynamics and adapt to the changes.
  • Don't be afraid to seek professional support during the transition. If you are having trouble finding a provider, contact an organization like Catholic Charities which offers professional counseling for families using a sliding scale fee based on income for those without insurance as well as most major types of insurance.
The Counseling Program at Catholic Charities offers professional individual, couple and family counseling services in downtown Des Moines, Altoona, Ankeny, Waukee, Perry and Council Bluffs. Licensed therapists work with clients of all faiths regarding a number of issues including depression, anxiety, stress, issues concerning relationships, child behavior problems, marital conflict, eating disorders, sexual abuse, separation and divorce issues, criminal behavior, addictions, physical handicaps, health problems and spiritual crisis.
 
Insurance is now accepted and the program also serves those without insurance through a sliding scale fee structure that is based on income and family size. Evening appointments are available.
 
To schedule an appointment contact the Des Moines office at 515-244-3761 or the Council Bluffs office at 712-328-3086.



November 9, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Catholic Charities in Des Moines is connected to Catholic Relief Services through the Social Justice Consortium and works to raise awareness of global poverty through this initiative.

 

 Currently, Catholic Relief Services is focusing on the upcoming national referendum in the Sudan. 

 
Sudan is at a critical juncture.
 
This short video is excellent - watch this and find out why.
 
 
Brief history:
Having experienced only 11 years of peace since achieving independence in 1956, Sudan faces enormous challenges as well as opportunities. More than 40 years of intermittent fighting led to the longest-running war in Africa, displaced several million people, and largely devastated the infrastructure across southern and central Sudan. Oil revenues support a booming economy in the capital of Khartoum, but other areas of the country continue to lack even basic social services.
Meanwhile, the unresolved conflict in Darfur threatens the current, fragile peace maintained between the north and south. The humanitarian needs in the Darfur region continue to increase and an estimated 2.7 million people remain internally displaced.
 
The country is set to hold a referendum on unity or secession for the south in early 2011. Sudan's response to this important event could usher in a new era of peace and prosperity—or more violence.
 
What is CRS doing to help?
Catholic Relief Services currently offers programs in Agriculture, Civil Society and Governance, Education, Disaster Response, Health, HIV and AIDS, Microfinance, Peacebuilding, Water and Sanitation and Food Security
 
What can you do to help?
Follow the CRS blog concerning Sudan and stay informed or check out crs.org for more information.
 

Urge President Obama to do everything he can to support a peaceful and stable Sudan

Click here for more information.

 

 




November 3, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Just five years ago Tom Moreland stood in the kitchen at St. Joseph Shelter and cooked his first meal for the families staying at shelter.

 

Last night, Tom stood in that same space for the blessing and ribbon cutting of the newly renovated shelter that he helped build, not only through his million dollar gift, but also through his compassion and his sincere desire to share the many gifts God has blessed him with. 

 

"As we celebrate the new shelter, let us not forget that there are people right here in Des Moines that won't have a place to stay tonight and that don't have a roof over their head," Tom said during the ceremony. "We have to keep fighting poverty." 

 

Board and committee members, staff, volunteers, construction crews, architects and shelter supporters also attended the celebration of the completion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter last night. Bishop Richard Pates blessed the renovated home that has been remodeled to include 5 additional bedrooms, an upgraded kitchen, expanded dining room, handicap accessibility and a play room. All of which will contribute to, "Giving them [shelter guests] the best shot at returning to self-sufficiency," Nancy Galeazzi, Executive Director at Catholic Charities stated at last nights ceremony. 

 

I encourage you to stop by for your own tour on Sunday, Dec. 5 between 1-5 p.m. The shelter (1535 11th Street in Des Moines) will be open to the public for tours in conjunction with No Room at the Inn, our annual awareness event for St. Joseph Shelter. 

 

As Tom reminded us last night-- there is still so much work to be done and so many people who need help. Your continued support and prayers for all families trying to make ends meet, is so appreciated!

 




November 2, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

This afternoon, Catholic Charities board and committee members, staff, shelter guests, the expansion committee and supporters of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter will celebrate the completion of the expansion effort.

 

And what an effort it has been! The remodeled home looks amazing and will increase the quality of services Catholic Charities is able to provide to homeless families.

 

Bishop Pates will be in attendance and will do a special blessing of the renovated shelter, which is the only emergency family shelter in Polk County that keeps the entire family unit together, including mom, dad and children of all ages. Funded by an I-JOBS grant, a major gift from the Thomas J. Moreland Charitable Fund, as well as contributions from the community, the new shelter includes additional bedrooms, an upgraded kitchen, expanded dining room, handicap accessibility and a play room. 

 

Click here for more information about the expansion project!

 

The ribbon cutting celebration is from 4-6 p.m. today and will include tours, a ribbon cutting and a blessing ceremony. A larger, public Open House will be held on Sunday, December 5 from 1-5 p.m. in conjunction with No Room at the Inn, St. Joseph Shelter's annual fundraiser and awareness event. Learn more about No Room at the Inn, including plans for a very special addition to the exhibition of nativity displays!   

 

We hope you will join us for one of these celebrations of the renovated shelter and continue to keep those in need of shelter like St. Joseph in your thoughts and prayers.




October 14, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and thanks to Girl Scout Troops  38 and 20, the Council Bluffs Public Library is displaying awareness materials about the issue of Domestic Violence. The displays, uniquely created by the Girl Scout Troops, also highlight some children's books about safe relationships.

 

"They did a fantastic job and the displays are creating some good buzz from people stopping and reading the information," said Rachel Mabrey, Public Relations & Volunteer Coordinator for the Phoenix House.

 

 

              




October 12, 2010
Written By: Guest Blogger Megan Thibodeau

In late Sept., staff from Catholic Charities attended the Catholic Charities USA Centennial Celebration in Washington D.C.  The focus of the celebration was poverty reduction, and Catholic Charities’ goal of reducing domestic poverty in half by the year 2020. 

 

A highlight of the trip was a day at Capitol Hill, where over 1,000 representatives from local Catholic Charities agencies visited with members of Congress to present The National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act, a bill drafted by Catholic Charities and introduced into both the House and Senate during our time in Washington

 

The goal of the visits was to introduce the legislation as well as request co-sponsor from each Representative and Senator. The legislation is focused poverty reduction using three objectives: developing and empowering local markets, creating new holistic approaches and incentivizing results driven outcomes with more modern use of technologies, so that the federal government can invest in programs that truly bring people into self-sufficiency.

 

Catholic Charities staff was able to meet with staff from the offices of Bruce Braley (First District, Iowa), Dave Loebsack (Second District, Iowa), Leonard Boswell (Third District, Iowa) and Steve King (Fifth District, Iowa) as well as the staff from the office of Senator Tom Harkin.  Senator Charles Grassley was available to meet with the delegation personally. 

 




October 6, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

The new dinning area at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter will now be able to seat all of the families at one time, in one room! Dinner is provided (by volunteers) every evening and families gather to eat at 6:00pm. The shelter remodel not only includes a new upgraded kitchen but it also a beautiful open dinning area.

 

          

                                        Kitchen                                                               Dinning room

 

You can help purchase the dinning room furniture!

 

 40 Premium Stack Chairs = $70 each    
Durable, easily cleaned chairs that can be stacked were an essential item for the new dinning room.  
Click HERE to donate now (you will be directed to a secure donation page. Select "Catholic Charities" as the designation and "St. Joseph Expansion Project" for the sub-designation.) 

 

2 WORK TABLES, 72" LONG = $500 each

Advance Tabco Model No. SAG-246

Work Table, 24" wide top, without splash, 72" long, with adjustable

Click HERE to donate now (you will be directed to a secure donation page. Select "Catholic Charities" as the designation and "St. Joseph Expansion Project" for the sub-designation.)

 

For more information about the shelter expansion click here.

 

 

 

 




October 4, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Yesterday afternoon, the home of Gerry and Mary Lou Neugent was filled with rhythmic sounds of an Iraqi “Peace” band, the smells of Persian, African and Nepalese cuisine, and stories of strength, courage and heart.

 
Yesterday was a celebration of Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program, a program that’s future was in question just five months ago.
 
“This is what we are called to do,” said Nancy Galeazzi, executive director of Catholic Charities, about the Board of Directors decision in May to continue the program independently.
 
“Thank you to Bishop Pates who was so supportive in the continuation of this program which is so important to so many.”
 
Dil Subba, a refugee from Bhutan, was at the gathering with her husband and two children. Subba spoke about their life in a refugee camp for 18 years and her gratitude for programs such as Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program.
 
Patrick Muyej, a Case Manager with the Refugee Resettlement Program and a former refugee, also spoke about his journey from The United Republic of Congo to a refugee camp, imprisonment, his opportunity to come to the US as a refugee and his enthusiasm to join the US Army. “I wanted to show my appreciation and was proud to fight for this country and for the freedom we experience here,” said Muyej. 
 
More than 50 people were in attendance at the late afternoon gathering generously hosted by Gerry & Mary Lou Neugent in Des Moines. Attendees celebrated the contributions of refugees in Iowa, discussed opportunities for the program moving forward and stood in solidarity with those suffering because of war and persecution.
                   
Dil Subba, a refugee from Bhutan                "Peace Band" - members are refugees from Iraq
and Sanjita Shrestha, Employment/
Program Coordinator for Refugee
Resettlement Services 
 
 
                 
Bishop Pates, Mary Lou & Gerry Neugent      Suku & Dr. Mary Radia, Ambassador Kenneth  
listen to Dil Subba speak of her experience     Quinn, Barbara Decker and Kathy Zumbach
coming to Iowa as a refugee 

 




October 1, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Last night, Omaha and Council Bluffs mayors met on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge between the two cities to emphasize the importance of working together to end Domestic Violence. 

WOWT out of Omaha covered the event.


Catholic Charities' Phoenix House Domestic Violence Shelter and Sexual Abuse Program, along with other community partners, hosted the event in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

 

After the two mayors signed a proclamation designating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Phoenix House hosted the 21st Annual Candle Light Vigil at Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs.

 

"The program featured stories of five women who were killed in 2009 in Council Bluffs and surrounding areas by their intimate partners. Each of their stories were read by volunteers and then we ended with a story of a survivor," said event coordinator and Phoenix House Volunteer/PR Coordinator, Rachel Mabrey.

 

 

   

Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and Council Bluff Mayor Tom Hanafan read the proclamations, each in their respective city.

 

21st Annual Candle Light Vigil in honor of victims of Domestic Violence

 

 




September 27, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Thank you Dowling Catholic!

Yesterday, 300 students from Dowling Catholic High School in Des Moines visited 6 local charities in support of services that help a variety of vulnerable populations. The students organized a 3-hour walk to local agencies as part of their fall service project. Along with monetary donations for each organization, the students took along backpacks full of items for the agencies including laundry supplies, personal care items, diapers and infant items.

 
Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program and St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter were two of the programs visited during the Walk.
 
Above: Dowling President Jerry Deegan presents Katie Ryan, Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Volunteer/Donations Coordinator, with a check for $1100.
 
 
 
Dixie Webb, House Manager at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter, stands with Dowling President Jerry Deegan during the Dowling Catholic High school student Walk on Sunday. Three-hundred students participated in the walk which included a visit to St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter which is in the final stages of a major expansion.
 

Students heading down 11th street after stopping at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.




September 22, 2010
Written By: Guest Blogger Ken Bresnan

This coming weekend, which is being celebrated nationally as Catholic Charities Sunday,  several parishes in our diocese are taking part in Catholic Charities postcard campaign to Reduce Poverty in America

 

Parishioners are being offered the opportunity to send preprinted postcards to our two senators and their representative asking them to take a stand against poverty in America, and in essence, to join with us in our efforts to cut poverty in half. 

 

The number of our citizens that are living below the poverty line is at the highest it has been since the great depression. We are asking our fellow supporters to speak out on this injustice and to help our legislators work toward reducing this number. If you want to receive a set of the postcards and they are not available in your church call 515-237-5089

or email Kenan Bresnan.

 

 
 

 




September 14, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Things are still moving along on the St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter expansion project. Interior walls are coming down to make room for an expanded dinning room that will be able to seat up to 28 guests-- including those in highchairs and, for the first time, those in wheelchairs!

 

Photographer Jacob Sharp has been helping to photograph the amazing transformation. Check out his photos below!

 

         

 Interior wall tear out - new dinning area                       Prepped for painting

 

 

   New deck outside of St. Joseph Shelter

 




September 13, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Guest Blogger - Ken Bresnan

 

I had the pleasure this past Sunday of speaking to the congregations of St. Joseph’s in Villisca and St. Clare’s in Clarinda. 

 

I am always amazed at how attentive and interested parishes are in the work that we do. That I do. 

 

It is obvious from watching their reactions as they listen that they see the value in our services and especially as I explain that the work we do, we are doing in their name.  When they contributed to Catholic Charities through service or collections of items or money,  they are providing us with the resources to provide essential services.

 

This experience has served as a good reminder to me that people in every part of our Diocese truly want to know about and to share in the work of Catholic Charities.

 

Ken Bresnan is Parish Outreach Liaison for Catholic Charities. To schedule Ken to speak to your parish, school, group or business please email Ken Bresnan or call him at 515-237-5089.

 




September 2, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

I just attended a fantastic training about using social media (such as this blog) led by several of Catholic Charities Marketing Committee Members, Mary Jo Meister and Carol Westercamp. One of the many valuable "tips" that I left with is the realization that an important thing has been missing from this blog-- conversation with YOU.

 

Catholic Charities wants to hear from YOU!

 

Are you finding that the posts about the St. Joseph Expansion are keeping you informed? Have you been moved to get involved, and if so has this blog or our website provided you with information needed to do so? Has your understanding of the issue of homelessness and poverty grown over the last month due to this blog?

 

Share your experience with us so we can continue to provide you with valuable updates on the Shelter expansion and many other efforts to serve all people in need with compassion and competence while advocating for justice.  




August 31, 2010
Written By: Anonymous

Imagine for a moment that you could take the place of the proverbial “fly on the wall” at the monthly St. Joseph’s Emergency Shelter staff meeting. 

 
From your perch you observe a rather motley crew—people from all walks of life, all ages, races, social classes—gathering, greeting each other as old friends do with exclamations and inquiries. Some have been shelter staff for years, others are going on decades. Soon, the group settles around a large table with a few snacks. Your fly-self notices that though the energy level is high, many in the group look distinctly careworn. It’s that look you often see in long-time teachers, in public health workers, in activists—physical and mental exhaustion mixed with sparks of passion. They witness much, this group, in their mission to provide support and safety to the guests at St. Joe’s Shelter. They could certainly “tell stories”, as the saying goes.
 
You notice, as the meeting commences, that while the focus falls on the house managers and program directors, it is clear that the group is a collective team, each one an equal player—an integral voice and a necessary cog in the mechanism of shelter operation. Sherry, the Community Support Advocate at the shelter, offers updates, suggestions, and support to staff as they discuss the observed ups and downs of shelter life. You hear snippets of “What can we do?” and “How can we help?” as the group works its way through this month’s agenda.
 
You listen, as staff talk in serious tones about recent snags, and cheerfully rejoice in the successes of guests past and present. Topics as mundane as who cleans the bathrooms or where to toss the trash, to the seriousness of handling a guest’s medication, or what to do in the event of an emergency all make their way across the table. Each member offers a unique perspective about how best to address the situations at hand. 
 
A quiet observer, you get the sense that the shelter takes on a life of its own, as an organism that morphs and changes with the ebb and flow of families through its doors. Even the staff are constantly in flux—working different shifts on different days, as their busy schedules dictate. But the collective goal does not falter: shelter staff strive to provide safety, structure and compassionate service those in need. They, like the changing house, are not perfect—but it is apparent that a more caring, concerned or dedicated group could not be found. 

 

 

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.




August 27, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Everyday, staff at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter are reminded that Des Moines has a great community of caring providers for people in need.
 
Each day, Sherry, the Family Advocate at St. Joseph, works tirelessly with those providers to assist families in whatever way possible. Here, Sherry shares an example of that kind of collaboration and how, when we work together, we can make a difference.
 
A grandmother called looking for shelter for her daughter, son in law and 4 children living in a tent down at the river.  Grandma is not able to help due to her own housing situation, but very concerned for her family too, particularly the children not being in school.  Grandma had been calling on their behalf to all of the shelters and no rooms available.  I asked further questions and made some calls myself and we were able to get the mom and children into New Directions the next day with the assistance of Primary Health Care to transport the family and JOPPA who did all of the outreach while the family was camping. In addition, Kim Peterson the Polk County School's Homeless Liaison was enlisted to help the children get into school and help with supplies and etc..
This truly is reflective of how we collaborate and how much we depend on each other to make things happen for families that need us. This is only one story, there are many more, I really think that over the last few months we have just noticed more how much we need each other and that is what makes our resource community so strong.

 

 

Please join us in thanking all the service providers in this community that work together daily to make a difference in the lives of those in need.




August 26, 2010
Written By: Celeste Egger & Trish Radke

St. Joseph Shelter is located at 1535 11th Street in Des Moines in the King Irving neighborhood. A recent article in the Des Moines Register sited, "Since 2003, the King Irving neighborhood has seen a 50 percent drop in vacant, buildable lots, a new city report shows. Assessed property values have increased 47 percent in the past decade, compared to a 31 increase citywide."

 

The current remodel and expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter is happening before our eyes and in the spirit of this renewal of the King Irving neighborhood. 

 

Here, Shelter Manager, Celeste Egger shares her experience and fondness of the neighborhood.

 

Walking to the bus stop to go to work, the summer is long, hot, humid and noisy.
The insects and birds are awake apparently 24/7, the hum of the air conditioners, lawnmowers, traffic, dogs barking, all the grateful sounds of summer.
 
Then I get off to head to work on busy 11th and University and I’m immediately reminded I’m in a great neighborhood. A car stops to let me make it across. A gentleman says hello on the way to his car. Kids walking to year-round school, someone letting the dog out for exercise, people walking to their destinations, a couple bike riders, too. But it seems quieter. Not the traffic I left, no hum of air conditioners, lawnmowers, or vehicles.
 
As I walk north toward Clark St. to St. Joseph Shelter, the noise level increases. Cement trucks, vans, and cars parked all along the street. Air hammers, drills, saws and workers’ voices fill the air and remind me how lucky we are to be in this neighborhood. Neighbors, that say “the shelter looks like it was always that way”! A neighbor who brings us fresh eggs, who will cut the grass, who needs a phone.
 
When families who are coming to stay at St. Joseph arrive, they often say they passed right by - meal providers too! I think it just means this house belongs here – it serves homeless families and the neighborhood serves us all.

      

        Before Remodel                                            After Remodel




August 25, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Many families who come to St. Joseph Shelter have experienced a number of set-backs and pitfalls making a big disaster, like a flood, even more devastating.

 

Last week St. Joseph Shelter and many other Catholic Charities' programs began receiving calls for assistance due to the recent flooding. Some people were in need of general referrals to other resources and some were looking into shelter options. One family was taken in, but learned later in the day that their landlord was able to find them another apartment-- a huge thank you to that landlord! 

 

Fortunately, there are landlords working with flooded tenants as well as local agencies working to create resources for flood victims.

 

Des Moines Catholic Charities is among those agencies advocating for flood victims and connecting them to essential information for recovery. If you know of someone who could benefit from the following information, please pass this on!

 

What to do if...

Your home was completely flooded, your basement had four feet of water, your dealing with sewer back up...

 

Apply for Disaster Assistance with FEMA!
1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY)
  • Fill out ALL forms
  • Do it online if possible (if not, call during the night to reduce time waiting)
  • Do it quickly! If you don’t apply now, you won’t be able to get assistance later!
  • Assistance varies, but can help with grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Community Resource Site
A local Disaster Recovery Center is open at Logan Community Center, 1740 E. Garfield Street, Des Moines.  The center will be open from 9 am – 7 pm until further notice.  This includes Saturday and Sunday.
 
Call 2-1-1
This will link you with local organizations that can assist with food, clothing and basic needs.
  
Free Mental Health Counseling at Catholic Charities
Call 515-244-3761 for an appointment. Catholic Charities is offering free mental health counseling to flood victims. We realize mental health needs may not be at the top of your list right now. Please keep this number and contact us if any point you are in need of someone to talk to.
 

We hope to have more information in the weeks to come. Please check back at our website for updates. www.CatholicCharitiesDM.org

 




August 24, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

The new deck is going up at the shelter today!  Construction crews are finally able to start work on it after having to wait due to the excessive rain we have had. The deck will overlook the new playground area which is a very popular spot for guests.

 

                 

 

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.




August 23, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Yesterday, Ken Bresnan, Catholic Charities' Parish Outreach Liaison, spoke about St. Joseph Shelter at several services at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Des Moines. This congregation has had a strong tie to St. Joseph by providing evening meals for years, and in 2008 they led an effort to remodel the entrance and office area at the shelter (part of the shelter that is not part of the current remodel).

 

Below is an excerpt of Ken's Sunday's visit at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd:

 

I would like you to think for a moment. Picture yourself as a young boy named Joseph or a young girl named Mary, and you are eight years old. Things have not been going well for your family for quite awhile. You are tired and hungry. You come to St. Joseph Shelter where you are welcomed with food, a bed and maybe what you need most...structure. The structure that lets you believe that you will get three meals a day, not just food every so often. The structure of knowing that you can do laundry and you can have clean clothes every day.  The structure and security to know there is toothpaste, brushes and shampoo. You can be safe when your parents have to leave to do what needs to be done to get their life in order.
 
 
When a family comes to the shelter, St. Joseph Shelter provides food and shelter for thirty days, but that is just the beginning. 
  • We help them find financial assistance that they quality for
  • We work with them on finding a place to live
  • We work with them to find child care
  • We assist them in finding transportation 
  • We work with helping the kids to get in or stay in school. 
  • We connect them to outside resources.
  • We work with Primary Outreach who comes into the shelter to assist with finding the resources for medical and dental needs.
  • We act as ombudsman and advocates to help families navigate systems successfully

 

 

So many different churches and groups have volunteered and donated to St. Joseph Shelter over the years-- very visibly making the mission one that the entire community is committed to. We are so grateful for all of these efforts!  

 

If you are interested in having Ken speak at your parish, to a church group, or even at a business you can contact him at 515-237-5089 or kbresnan@dmdiocese.org.




August 20, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Families come to St. Joseph Shelter for a variety of reasons. For some it is because of a job loss and for others, health issues play a large role. Generational poverty is a factor for many who come, although last year, 56% were homeless for the first time. Whatever the reason, all have a similar story-- they had no other place to go.

 

Below is a reflection of the events that led one mother, Ericca, to St. Joseph Shelter. 

 

"In the past year a lot of things have been happening. We had a home, we were struggling because I did not have a job but we always made ends meet. Over time, things began to change and things really got harder and then we lost our home.

We decided to move in with some friends and stayed there for one day and decided it was not the place for us. During this time I began going to school at DMACC while [my boyfriend] kept the baby. We went to a motel but soon realized that we could not afford it so we went back to our friends and paid them rent. That same day they kicked us out... which has led us here."

 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Ericca, an extremely bright young woman, and her adorable five-month old, Martel Jr. While at St. Joseph, Errica and Martel Junior's father, worked with Sherry, the Shelter Advocate, to find an affordable place to live. Ericca, who had to quit school due to the circumstances, was able to re-enroll in DMACC.

 

While things will continue to be a struggle for the family of three, Ericca left the shelter with a place to call home, the opportunity to continue her education and hope for a better future. 

 

That is what St. Joseph Shelter is all about.

 

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.

 

 

 




August 19, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke & Sherry Kepner

One of the services provided at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter is case management to help guests work toward returning to self-sufficiency. Our very compassionate and knowledgeable Community & Family Support Advocate, Sherry, works with each family to create goals and a plan that will enable them to move forward-- that may involve finding affordable housing, gaining employment, taking care of medical needs, enrolling in school... the list truly goes on and on.

 

Here, Sherry shares a bit about her day-to-day work at the shelter.

 

When I arrive each day, I come with a plan, or at least an idea of what I want to accomplish that day.  Due to the nature of this work, that plan is subject to change at a moments notice, depending on the needs of those that I serve.  It may be a school issue, a transportation problem, no child care, an unexpected appointment, a need for housing resources, an address, a phone number, advice on where to start on a case plan, or just needing to talk to someone. 

No two days are the same, but to feel the stress lessen for a family day by day as they begin to trust and find hope, is always worth a change of plan.

 

 

As you can imagine, providing an advocate to the families we serve is an essential piece to shelter care. Of course, all of the shelter staff, supporters and everyone reading this can be an advocate.  By using knowledge of how programs like St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter actually work, we can all call attention to ineffective policies and systems that create barriers, and work to improve them.

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.

 

 




August 18, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

The new shelter is really taking shape. The playroom addition is complete and the kitchen and new bedroom additions are getting finishing touches.

 

It is hard to imagine how a five bedroom shelter can go to a ten room shelter and still keep its identity as the warm, cozy and homey shelter that most of us know. But architect's from BSB Design have done it! The two story house fits beautifully into the neighborhood and has kept its charm and warmth.

 

Check out the floor plan.

 

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.




August 17, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Yesterday, a co-worker and parishioner from St. Thomas Aquinas in Indianola, asked about our supply of pillows for St. Joseph Shelter. Several years ago, St. Thomas did a pillow drive and collected a huge supply of new pillows for the shelter. It was a fantastic project that provided new pillows for guests for a long time!

 

That conversation got me thinking about how valuable that pillow drive was to the families that stay at the shelter. Having your very own, fluffy, new pillow to sleep on may seem like a small thing, but the comfort it can bring is so important. By providing new items to our guests at the shelter, we are showing that we care, that their well-being is important and that they deserve, at the very least, a pillow to lay their head on, food to eat and roof over their head.

 

If your group is looking for a service project, consider hosting a shower for St. Joseph Shelter. St. Joseph is registered at www.Target.com (first name: St. Joseph Shelter, last name: Catholic Charities).

 

Thank you to everyone who has purchased items from the registry already! Towel sets, alarm clocks, shower curtains, coffee makers, and many other items have already been donated!

 

Product Image 

 

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.

 




August 16, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Last weekend, these adorable little kids sold lemon"ath" for the St. Joseph Shelter expansion project.

 

Ok, so I might be a little biased since two of them are mine and the other is my nephew, Owen, who truly is quite the salesman. My three year old son, Cole, spilled more than he sold, but four month old Sammy was the real trooper!

 

The boys encouraged people to buy some "lemon'ath'" all morning during a recent garage sale that we had. They raised $40 for, as Cole would explain, "the people and kids without homes."

 

This was a great service project for the little boys to begin learning how to share their earnings with others-- a somewhat confusing lesson for a three year old, but a very valuable one for all ages!

 

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.

 




August 13, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

The kitchen cabinets at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter are in and they are gorgeous! Beautiful white maple cabinets line the new kitchen that is painted in "milk and honey" giving it a clean and open feel. 

 

The upgraded kitchen will also have energy efficient appliances including  two dishwashers, ranges, microwaves and refrigerators making food storage, preparation and clean up a much more convenient experience for guests, staff and volunteers.  

 

As in most homes, the kitchen is a busy place and the new layout will better accommodate the extensive usage it gets. When you consider the potential traffic of 10 families eating three meals a day and two snacks, the importance of a well laid out and efficient kitchen is essential.

 

Off of the kitchen will be an expanded dinning room... check back for dramatic updates on this! Walls will be coming down soon to open up this space. New tables, chairs, booster seats and highchairs are being purchased for a total transformation. Stay tuned...

 

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.

 




August 12, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

If knowing that there is a new playroom addition to St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter isn't enough to make you smile, the name of the new carpet in the playroom should!

 

"Burst Out Laughing" 

 

Truly, this is the name of the new carpet that covers the floor in the soft yellow room that is soon to house laughing children.

 

Tom Moreland, major donor for the St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter expansion, was the number one advocate for a playroom addition for the shelter. Tom, who began helping families staying at St. Joseph by providing evening meals, had first hand experience of the many children that stay at the shelter. 

 

Last year alone, 58% of the guests who stayed at the shelter were children age 13 or younger. 

 

 

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.




August 11, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke & Dixie Webb, House Manager at St. Joseph Shelter

The day to day household chores at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter are similar to most households. Floors need mopped, dishes need washed and laundry needs to be done. But when these chores are multiplied by 5 (St. Joseph currently houses 5 families at one time and it will soon have the potential of housing 10!) things can get interesting. 
 
Dixie, one of the house managers at St. Joseph Shelter, shared with me her experience on Friday when one of the washing machines wasn't working properly.
 
Last week we had a guest move out. We are down to one washer which doesn't always get the clothes spun out well.  When the clothes are extra damp the dryer takes longer to get them dry.  It took most of yesterday to get the laundry done from one guest room.  Thank goodness, none of our guests were needing the laundry facilities at the same time!  A commercial washer and dryer that can handle more laundry and run more efficiently will be a huge improvement to help staff get rooms turned around quicker and enable our guests to do their own laundry in a reasonable time frame.

 

The commercial grade washer and dryer that Dixie refers to is on the top of the Shelter Expansion wish list. As the number of guests doing laundry increases, laundry facilities that can handle that type of use are going to be essential. 

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.




August 10, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

So far, we have talked a lot about the great need for an expanded and updated homeless shelter for families in the Des Moines area, but what will the finished shelter all entail?

 

Well, almost a year ago now, an Ad Hoc Committee at Catholic Charities was formed to start visioning what the expanded shelter would include. The talented and committed group of people include:

 

Tom Moreland, CEO of St. Jude Enterprises and major donor for the project

Doug Sharp, Architect & Chairman of the Board at BSB Design

 Marty Walsh,  Chairperson for Catholic Charities Board of Directors

Gerry Neugent, President and Chief Operating Officer of Knapp Properties

Nancy Anstoetter, Vice-Chairperson for Catholic Charities Board of Directors

Paul Rupprecht, Secretary for Catholic Charities Board of Directors

Dan Buscher, Catholic Charities Board Member

Jerry Spaeth, Catholic Charities Board Member

Norm Bormann, Diocese of Des Moines Building Manager

Nancy Galeazzi, Executive Director of Catholic Charities

Patrick Nestvedt, Associate Director of Catholic Charities

 

What has come from this amazing group of people was more than anyone could have imagined. The shelter is going from five bedrooms to ten, including a handicapped accessible room with a full handicapped accessible bathroom. The kitchen is being expanded and will include energy efficient appliances and the dining room is also being expanded to accommodate all of the guests who come together every evening to eat dinner (prepared by volunteers).

 

A playroom addition has also been added, a much needed space considering the fact that 58% of the people who stay at the shelter are 13 or younger.

 

A small parking area and play area has also been included in the plan and the existing garage (that has been used for years to store donated furniture for families to use when moving into new homes) will stay in place so we can continue to offer those items to families.  

 

The Ad Hoc Committee have worked extremely hard and taken a realistic look at what it truly takes to provide for multiple families living in crisis situations. If you know or see any of the amazing people who are working on this project, please thank them for their dedication to creating quality shelter care and services to families in need.

 

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.

 




August 9, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

"Homeless and at-risk populations are vulnerable to disaster. They lack cushions and buffers that let other people get by in rough times." (As sited by the Iowa Institute for Community Alliances, originally  from "Population Composition, Migration & Inequality by Donner, William & Havidan Rodriguez, 2008.)

 

The 2009 Annual Report on Homelessness in Iowa came out several weeks ago. The report shows a very dismal picture of homelessness among families-- more than 60% were homeless for the first time in 2009. The report also showed that the top cause of all homelessness was economics, reaffirming what the staff at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter already know through the daily phone calls they receive from families seeking shelter. In June alone 75 families were turned away because the rooms at the shelter were already full!

 

The expansion of St. Joseph Emergnecy Family Shelter is coming at a time when the need has become more obvious than ever. Doubling the number of rooms and making upgrades to enhance services to families staying at the shelter are a huge part of helping this vulnerable population but we encourage you to learn more about the causes of homelessness, including poverty, domestic violence and other social justice issues.

 

One place to start is to check out Catholic Charities' Social Justice Consortium.

 

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.




August 6, 2010
Written By: Dixie Webb, House Manager at St. Joseph Shelter

What a great idea for a service project!

 
Yesterday, the St. Francis 6th grade girls brought a couple items from the St. Joseph wish-list and a $95 Target gift card.  They had put together a garage sale as a service project and donated the proceeds to St. Joe's. 
 
Thank you to the group of 6th graders from St. Francis of Assisi School in West Des Moines for generously thinking of the needs at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.
 
St. Joseph is registered at Target for items needed to complete the shelter expansion. New sheets, pillows, alarm clocks, and all of the basic household items we all use daily are need to make St. Joseph a true home for the families that stay there.
 
You can go to www.target.com click on Gift Registries + Lists and use St. Joseph Shelter as the first name and Catholic Charities for the last name.
 
Your donation will be sent to Purcell Printing in Urbandale who has generously offered to collect items until St. Joseph’s is ready for them. Which will be here before we know it!



August 5, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Last night I visited St. Joseph Shelter during dinner hour, an often busy time as guests gather around for meals, relax, take in the day and look ahead to the next. I met Margo who has been staying at the shelter with her husband and son for the past two weeks.

 

Margo, like many guests who come to St. Joseph, suffers from several health conditions that have limited her ability to work for the past several years. She is currently undergoing more tests and is hopeful. "This needs to be a two income family," Margo says. "So I am looking forward to getting my doctor's release and get back to work."

 

Margo's husband, Marvin is a veteran who is working odd jobs until he can find something more permanent that will provide a better income for his family.

 

Then there is 12 year old Izaya that brings a smile to my face and the face of his mom!  He is very respectful of his mom and seems to be adjusting to their circumstances well. As they sat and ate dinner I listened in on their discussion about vegetables. "That pea salad is miserable,"  he says. But he LOVED the strawberry shortcake!

 

I asked Margo about another guest I had met earlier in the week, Ericca, and she filled me in that her family got an apartment and moved out of the shelter earlier in the day. "I'm happy for her that she got a place but I am gonna miss her," Margo says. I asked if they would keep in touch and she nods confidently. "Oh yah, we will."




August 4, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

When guests arrive at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter one of the first things they learn is that all basic necessities will be taken care of for the duration of their 30 day stay at the shelter. This includes three meals a day, personal care items, laundry facilities and bus transportation (when funds allow). Taking care of these basic necessities enables guests to save what few resources they may have and focus on a plan to return to self-sufficiency (with the help of our fantastic case manager... more to come on that). 

 

One of the most basic of needs provided for guests is food. Volunteers provide evening meals every day of the week which is a HUGE help making our annual food budget less than $5000! Considering last year the shelter housed 261 people for varying lengths of time, volunteer meal providers play an ESSENTIAL role in serving guests.

 

To sign up to provide a meal at the shelter, contact 515-282-1235.

 

One of the many items on our shelter wish list are refrigerators and freezers to accommodate the food supplies. The shelter house manager told me that they go through 8 gallons of milk each week-- which will most likely double when the expansion is complete. Reliable, energy efficient appliances will ensure proper food storage, and thankfully, past donations from the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Des Moines and other friends' of Catholic Charities have provided new appliances when needed. If you are looking for a way to help, contributing toward a need such as this is a very valuable way to fulfill a very basic need.

  

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for up updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.

 

 




August 3, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Though it has been one of the rainiest summer's on record, construction at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter is moving along. Thanks to a few dry days last week, the new driveway and parking lot have been poured. One of the new features of the homeless shelter (which currently has 5 bedrooms, but through the new addition will increase to 10 bedrooms) is a new parking lot that will better accommodate families staying at the shelter who have vehicles.

 

Transportation is an extremely critical issue for families staying at the shelter. While many families do have vehicles, many rely on public transportation to get to work, job interviews and doctor appointments to name a few of the many places people need to go daily. The cost of public transportation is often a barrier for families so one of the many services St. Joseph provides to guests are bus tokens for families in need of transportation assistance. For this reason, donations of of bus tokens are always on the top of the shelter's wish list and are a welcomed aid for guests staying at the shelter.

     

 

During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for up updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.

 




August 2, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Seventy-five families were turned away from St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter in June because the shelter was full.  Seventy-five families, comprised of moms, dads, infants, toddlers, teenagers, even grandmas and grandpas, sought a place to stay because they had no place else to go.

 
When the case manager at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter shared that number with me a few weeks ago it made me realize the true significance of the St. Joseph expansion. More families are finding themselves in need of assistance and Catholic Charities is working to respond to this increased need by doubling the size of St. Joseph’s, the only emergency shelter in Polk County where everyone in the family is able to stay together.
 
Anyone who has been to the five bedroom, two story house knows that it is as charming and homey as going to “Grandma’s House”. This charm and warmth is being multiplied through the construction which is keeping the architectural integrity of the home while providing updates that will assure guests find themselves in a respectful and dignified environment.
 
Construction began in the spring and is slated for completion at the end of September, so things are moving along quickly.  Since the building and grounds are changing by the minute, I invite you to check back daily as we post updates including photos of the progress.
 
Through the month of August we will share updates about the construction, information about the amazing people who are making this project possible and stories about families who have made St. Joseph their home. 

 




July 30, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

It may not be surprising that therapists with the Counseling Program at Catholic Charities are seeing a trend in the number of military families seeking support due to the stress and anxiety caused by separation because of deployments.

 

What may be surprising is the level of anxiety surrounding families when the soldiers come home.

 
“While reunification is a time of great relief and happiness for families, it can also be a time of great stress, ” says Stacie Weires, therapist with Catholic Charities Counseling Program in Des Moines. “When the military family member is away, everyone takes on a new role in the family system, making re-entry a stressful transition time for many families.”
 
Therapists offer several tips to help ease the transition:
  • Spouses should take the time to reconnect with each other which in turn will strengthen the entire family unit.
  • Be practical and remember that everything is not going to be exactly as it was prior to the family member’s deployment.
  • Try not to rush things upon the family members return. Give everyone time to ease into the new dynamics and adapt to the changes.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek professional support during the transition. If you are having trouble finding a provider, contact an organization like Catholic Charities which offers professional counseling for families using a sliding scale fee based on income for those without insurance as well as most major types of insurance.
The Counseling Program at Catholic Charities offers professional individual, couple and family counseling services in downtown Des Moines, Altoona, Ankeny, Waukee, Perry and Council Bluffs. Licensed therapists work with clients of all faiths regarding a number of issues including depression, anxiety, stress, issues concerning relationships, child behavior problems, marital conflict, eating disorders, sexual abuse, separation and divorce issues, criminal behavior, addictions, physical handicaps, health problems and spiritual crisis. Insurance is now accepted and the program also serves those without insurance through a sliding scale fee structure that is based on income and family size. Evening appointments are available.
 
To schedule an appointment contact the Des Moines office at 515-244-3761 or the Council Bluffs office at 712-328-3086.

 




July 29, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

This is an exciting time for St. Joseph Family Emergency Shelter! Thanks to a major gift from the Thomas J. Moreland Charitable Fund and an I-JOBS grant, work is underway to double the size of St. Joseph’s, the only emergency shelter in Polk County where entire families are able to stay together. 
  

Help us make the house a home by making a contribution toward items needed for the shelter. Financial donations enable us to provide necessary items and ensure that they meet all codes and regulations.

 

There are several ways you can help!

1. Click here to learn more about how your monetary donation will help provide shelter furnishings.

2. Go to www.Target.com and donate an item from the Shelter Expansion Gift Registry. Use St. Joseph Shelter as the first name and Catholic Charities for the last name.

 

Call Trish Radke at 515-237-5078 or email to learn more about how you can contribute to the St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter Expansion Project.

 




July 26, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

I recently had the privilege to sit down and talk with one of the case workers in our Refugee Resettlement Program. He shared that one of the most difficult parts of his job is conveying the laws and rules of our culture, both official and non-official, to people who are coming from other countries.

 
He used an example of signing a lease for an apartment. In the U.S., people enter into written agreements, actual contracts that are signed, to rent a home. Homes are rented for a specific time period and come with a set of expectations of the tenant and landlord, which are written in the contact.
 
This concept is not common place in third-world counties like Burma, Somalia and Sudan where many refugees that Catholic Charities’ resettle come from. In many of these countries, homes are “rented” out in minutes, with a word-of-mouth agreement. There is no paperwork, no need for drivers license numbers or the location of your last six residences.  
 
So you can imagine the confusion caused by simply trying to find an apartment or a house, something I, for one, have always taken for granted. And just think of all of our "non-official" rules, like not to ask a woman her age or not to talk about a persons weight?
 
Our dedicated case workers work to educate refugees on issues such as this, as well as a mountain of other ins-and-outs of our culture.  When a refugee family arrives in Iowa, a case worker meets them at the airport and helps them as they being their journey here in Des Moines, Iowa. Rules and laws, official and not, are immediate topics of discussion.
 
Catholic Charities’ is now one month in of handling refugee resettlement independently (after 15 years of partnership with Lutheran Services in Iowa).  As we work to provide the best possible services for families coming to the US because of war and persecution in their homeland, we invite you to join us.
 



July 23, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

By now most of you have heard the news that Catholic Charities is currently the only agency in Iowa resettling refugees. This past spring, Catholic Charities' Board of Directors voted to continue the program independently from Lutheran Services in Iowa, who had to close its Refugee Resettlement program. The State Bureau of Refugee Services also announced this past spring that they would no longer resettle refugees either, making Catholic Charities the lone agency in Iowa providing this service.  

 
The reality of Catholic Charities' decision has been playing as they immediately began building infrastructure, hiring staff, securing household items and major donations needed to adequately facilitate the program.  The support from the community has been amazing. The storage facility is full of new mattresses for families and donations of dishes, pots and pans have begun to fill the new storage shelves.  
 
The local and national media have helped tell the story of Refugee Resettlement in Iowa and how it has evolved over the years. Catholic Charities is proud to be part of this important work – both in the past and in the future.
 
Check out these links to stories produced by both national and local media.
 

WHO Radio - Refugee Resettlement Series by Mark Stevens

Iowa Public Radio- The Exchange




July 21, 2010
Written By: Ken Bresnan

Last week I attended the Midwest Regional Gathering for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Chicago. Besides updates on CRS Haiti relief operations and some very valuable information on the problems facing small farmers in Mexico, that to some extent fosters the desire to immigrate to the U.S, we learned about the process that CRS uses when it develops projects in foreign countries.

 
I was aware of how they operated in disasters like Haiti and the Tsunami, but I wasn’t that knowledgeable about how they approached the poverty problems in the countries that they work with on a regular basis. I was impressed by their process of designing programs. They first assess social, economic, cultural and political structure in the context of justice and then design programs based on protecting the sacredness and dignity of the human person. 
 
I know that was a complex sentence, but to me it shows that they have a very realistic approach to involving the people not just delivering a set of “cookie cutter’ programs. They are working on recognizing that each country has different assets and systems.

 

 

*Note - Ken Bresnan, the Parish Outreach Liaison for Catholic Charities,  is the Diocese of Des Moines CRS representative through his work with Catholic Charities' Social Justice Consortium which promotes the social justice mission of the Catholic Church through a coordinated effort to work toward a comprehensive and consistent ethic of life for the pursuit of the common good.




July 19, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

 Even though school is not in session, many youth find that they still need to meet service hour requirements during the summer months. Some youth are even looking for special projects to occupy some of their time as we move into the dog days of summer.

 

An easy service project for this age group-- and all ages for that matter-- is to host a housewarming party for St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter. The shelter is undergoing a major remodel and expansion that will double its size. Serving more homeless families matters now more than ever-- the shelter's case worker reported that they had to turn away 75 families in the month of June because the shelter was at full capacity.

 

As the only emergency shelter in Polk County that keeps the entire family unit together, household items from highchairs to bathroom rugs are needed to make the new house a warm and comfortable home for families.

 

Hosting a housewarming party with your church, neighborhood, sports team or friends is easy!
1.       Go to www.CatholicCharitiesDM.org and look for a list of items needed for the shelter or
2.       Go to www.target.com to preview items on the St. Joseph Target Gift Registry (First Name: St Joseph Shelter, Last Name: Catholic Charities).
 
For more information about the project or how you can help contact Trish Radke.



July 14, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Most of us don't need to worry about where we will lay our heads tonight. But this month, right here in Des Moines, 50 families will worry about that.

 

During this time of year, the summer months, an average of 50 families are turned away each month from St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter due to lack of space.

 

Fortunately-- we are a community that cares. Thanks to generous contributions, St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter, a homeless shelter for families, is undergoing a major expansion that will double its capacity.

 

There are many ways to help including making a monetary donation or ordering items from the St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter Target Gift Registry.

 

Just go to www.target.com, click on gift registries and use St. Joseph Shelter as the first name and Catholic Charities for the last name.
 
Registered items include sheets, bedding, linens, lamps, alarm clocks and other household essentials.
 
Monetary donations will go toward items as well. All items purchased for the new home are being carefully selected to meet desired codes and regulations to enable Catholic Charities to provide the best possible experience for families in need. Click here for details.
 

 




July 12, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter is undergoing a major remodel that will double its capacity. Families are currently the fastest growing of the homeless population, making the expansion project more important than ever. Walls are up and almost ready for siding. Photographer Jacob Sharp took photos of the expansion progress last week. Check back for regular updates on the expansion progress and how you can help!

 

 




July 8, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Mark your calendards for Monday, August 30 for the Bishop's Catholic Charities Golf Classic at Echo Valley Country Club.

 

Sponsorships for individuals and foursomes are availalbe and all proceeds support social services offered by Catholic Charities including pregnancy counseling & adoption, the food and clothing pantry and refugee resettlement services just to name a few! Click here for more information about sponsorships.

 

This tournament is fast-paced, fun-spirited and begins with lunch at noon followed by a 1:00pm shot gun start. Call 515-237-5078 for more information today! The 2010 Golf Committee thanks you: Mike McCoy (event chair), Paul Juffer, Paul Rupprecht, Joan Bindel, Jim Sarcone III, Dennis Galeazzi, Ken Bresnan & Trish Radke.

 

2010 highlights:

  • Golf with Bishop Pates! - Raffle tickets are on sale now through the morning of the tournament for a chance to have Bishop Pates golf with your foursome at the event. For more information contact Trish at 515-237-5078.
  • Church Challenge! - Parish teams are invited to compete against other parish teams. The foursome with the lowest team score will take home the Catholic Charities Bishop’s Golf Classic traveling parish trophy!  

Reserve your foursome today!




July 2, 2010
Written By: Megan Thibodeau

July will be a  busy month for Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program as we begin to see arrivals, new staff and completed infrastructure, and truly kick off the new Refugee Program. 

 

The last few months have been full of trainings, holding meetings with local churches, interviewing, meeting with other agencies who work with refugees and creating the infrastructure needed for the program.  

 

For those of you who want to help, there are many opportunities to volunteer! One such opportunity is coming up Friday, July 16th.  Volunteers are needed for final unpacking and inventory of our on-site storage.  Some of the necessary volunteer support includes unwrapping, unpacking and unboxing a variety of household goods ranging from lamps to silverware to sheets to glassware.  Some lifting and manual labor will be involved as items are placed on the shelves.  Please wear closed-toe tennis shoes or boots and wear comfortable clothing.

 
If we secure enough volunteers, we will organize a second volunteer team to inventory our off-site storage unit that same day.  This will involve detailed inventory of the large furniture items secured by that point.  
 
To summarize:
Friday, July 16th
Where: Catholic Charities - 601 Grand Avenue, Des Moines
Time Frame: 9:00 – finish (or 4:00….whichever comes first!)**
(**Note: If you are only available for half day, you are more than welcome to join us.  Please advise your hours of availability in your email to me.  A light lunch will be provided for those who are present over the lunch hour.)
What: Unpacking; Shelving; Inventory
 
Please contact us at mthibodeau@dmdiocese.org by Friday, July 9th if you are able to help!

 




June 30, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Imagine being forced to leave your home because of war and having never met your three year old son…

This is reality for Abbas who spent the last three years living in a refugee camp while his wife and three children began a new life in Iowa. Several weeks ago, Abbas was finally reunited with three year old Ahmed when he was able to come to the US through Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program.
 
Due to recent closures of other refugee programs, Catholic Charities is currently the only resettlement agency in Iowa. Catholic Charities will maintain past efforts to resettle 100-130 refugees annually who have been forced to leave their homeland due to war and persecution because of race, religion or political affiliation.
 
Catholic Charities invites churches, groups and individuals to get involved in this effort by volunteering time or donating new or gently used items. Please call 515-237-5087 to donate items or click here to make a donation online.

 




June 25, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Catholic Charities Night at the Iowa Cubs last night was a huge success! Thousands of Catholic Charities supports came out to the ballpark to raise essential funds for programs that make a big impact on our community. Each year, Catholic Charities helps more than 20,000 people of all faiths! This is made possible by dedicated supporters like Mercy Medical Center, title sponsor for the event for the sixth year, as well as the Iowa Cubs who generously work with us to make the evening a success each year! 

 

Catholic Charities would also like to thank skybox sponsors, Mercy College of Health Sciences, the "Southsiders" and Doyle and Friends and inning sponsors Krause Gentle Foundation & Artistic Waist.

 

 

 

 

 

 




June 19, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Do you know what a refugee is?

Sunday, June 20 is World Refugee Day, a day to bring awareness of the millions of people who have had to flee their homeland due to persecution because of war, religious beliefs and other realities that we here in America can only begin to understand.

 

Beginning July 1, Catholic Charities in Des Moines will begin resettling refugees independently after 15 years of successful collaboration with Lutheran Services in Iowa, making the agency the only one in Iowa to continue refugee resettlement.

 

Catholic Charities will maintain past efforts to resettle 100-130 refugees annually who have been forced to leave their homeland due to war and persecution because of race, religion or political affiliation. Resettlement efforts include assisting with housing, food, transportation, cultural orientation and job placement for the first 90 to 180 days of arrival.

 

But we can't do it alone. Please consider helping by donating time or items to help families who come to Iowa in search of a better life.

 

Items currently needed (new or gently used please):

Couches

Dinning tables and chairs

Pots/Pans
Kitchen Utensils-Spatulas, wooden spoons, etc
Hygiene-toothpaste-shampoo-bar soap-deodorant-razors-
Cleaning-Multipurpose Surface cleaners, laundry detergent, dish soap, brooms, dust pans, trash bags
Plastic Shower curtain liners, shower rings, small trash cans
 
 
 
 

 




June 16, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Don't miss your chance to win a dinner with Bishop Richard E. Pates at the silent auction held during Catholic Charities Night at the Iowa Cubs June 24, 2010!

 

Visit the Catholic Charities Silent Auction inside the main gates at Principal Park for your chance to win dinner for 8 with Bishop Richard Pates and Catholic Charities’Executive Director Nancy Galeazzi on August 7, 2010. Hosted by and at the home of Dan & Mary Buscher, this evening is sure to be an entertaining night out! Get your friends together and pre-plan to outbid the competition.All proceeds support Catholic Charities. It’s a win-win!

 

 

Click here for more information about Catholic Charities Night at the Iowa Cubs or to order tickets!




June 8, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

On June 24, charity begins at home plate!

Enjoy a family night at the ballpark on June 24th in support of programs that offer food, shelter, counseling and hope to more than 20,000 people each year.  Catholic Charities Night at the Iowa Cubs will be held on Thursday, June 24th when the Iowa Cubs play the Omaha Royals. Game time is 7:05 p.m. with special fireworks following the game. Tickets for this fundraiser are being sold at local Catholic parishes or you can order your ticket online today! 

 

General admission tickets are $5 each with reserved grandstand tickets at $10.

Special dinner packages are also available, including dinner with Bishop Pates and a picnic dinner with ticket package available for just $25.

 

Click here for details or to preview items on the silent auction!

 




June 2, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Sharon Bandstra, counselor for more than 30 years with Catholic Charities, was honored by the University of Iowa Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work students for her work with Department of Social Work Masters level interns for the last  20 years. Bandstra, Program Coordinator for Catholic Charities Counseling Program, says she's grateful that Catholic Charities allows her the time to help the next generation of counselors.

 

Catholic Charities Counseling Program offers professional individual, couple and family counseling services in downtown Des Moines, Altoona, Ankeny, Waukee, Perry and Council Bluffs. Licensed therapists work with clients of all faiths regarding a number of issues including depression, anxiety, stress, issues concerning relationships, child behavior problems, marital conflict, eating disorders, sexual abuse, separation and divorce issues, criminal behavior, addictions, physical handicaps, health problems and spiritual crisis. Insurance is now accepted and the program also serves those without insurance through a sliding scale fee structure that is based on income and family size. Evening appointments are available. To schedule an appointment contact the Des Moines office at 515-244-3761 or the Council Bluffs office at 712-328-3086.




June 1, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Recipients of Catholic Charities’ Bishop Charron Caritas Award were announced at the annual volunteer appreciation dinner held May 25 in Des Moines. Purcell Printing & Graphics received the award in the group category, and Dennis Wilson, volunteer for St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter and St. Mary Family Center, received the individual volunteer award. Sponsored by Mercy Medical Center, the Bishop Charron Caritas Award recognizes Catholic Charities volunteers for compassion, humility, commitment and enthusiasm in helping all those in need.

 

Purcell Printing and Dennis Wilson will be recognized publicly at Catholic Charities Night at the Iowa Cubs at Principal Park on June 24 as they join Bishop Pates and Catholic Charities’ Executive Director, Nancy Galeazzi, on the field prior to the first pitch.




May 19, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Brian Williams, anchor of NBC Nightly News, talked about Catholic Charities at the University of Notre Dame’s commencement this past Sunday. Clearly, his comments are testament to all we do.

“Wherever I’ve come across people suffering and dying, I’ve also found Catholic Charities right there standing alongside them, ministering and soothing, helping and healing, without regard for self. Every one of them a shining towering example of sacrifice and selflessness Let’s make that what people think of when they think of the Catholic Church in America.”
- Brian Williams, Notre Dame Commencement, May 16, 2010

 

With Notre Dame’s permission, Catholic Charities USA has posted Williams' remarks and a link to the video on their Web site at http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.




May 12, 2010
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Catholic Charities to independently continue

resettling refugees

Agency continues its legacy of helping those fleeing their homeland

due to war and persecution
 

            The board of directors for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Des Moines decided today to begin independently resettling refugees for the first time in 15 years. Previously, the agency had been working in collaboration with Lutheran Services in Iowa, which announced in late January that it will cease resettlement at the end of the fiscal year.

            "This was a hard decision to make in light of the number of variables we needed to consider including the needs of the local community, the national outlook for refugee resettlement and funding," said Catholic Charities Executive Director Nancy Galeazzi. "However, our mission is to help anyone who needs a helping hand and to advocate for justice, regardless of faith, or country of origin. We believe this is what we are called to do.”

            Catholic Charities Board of Directors Chairperson Marty Walsh said during the meeting, “We’re looking forward to helping as many refugees as we can. We’re committed to the program and to continue Iowa’s place in history for refugee resettlement."

            Catholic Charities began working with Polish refugees in the late 1940s. Catholic Charities independently resettled refugees from Southeast Asia between 1975 and 1995, when cooperative resettlement services with Lutheran Services in Iowa began. Families from the Sudan, Bosnia, Somalia, Bhutan, Burma, Vietnam, Cuba and Iraq have been settled in Iowa. 

            Last year, Iowa resettled more than 900 refugees, 129 of them Catholic Charities assisted through Refugee Cooperative Services, a collaboration between Catholic Charities and Lutheran Services in Iowa.

            As a result of the board’s decision, Catholic Charities will be the only agency in Iowa independently resettling refugees in the state. The agency will focus on maintaining its effort to resettle 100-130 people annually. Catholic Charities will use federal money, United Way contributions and donations of both time and money to continue the program. Resettlement efforts include assisting with housing, food, transportation, cultural orientation and job placement for the first 90 to 180 days of their arrival.

            Catholic Charities will continue to work with volunteer churches, businesses and individuals in an effort to resettle families fleeing their home country because of war and persecution. Volunteers have historically played an incredible role in supporting the efforts of the program and Catholic Charities looks forward to continuing to work with individuals, non-profits and private financial supporters to provide refugees the best welcome possible to their new community.




March 18, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Did you know that each month, St. Mary Family Center provides diapers for more than 350 infants and toddlers, totaling a distribution of more than 11,500 diapers? St. Mary Family Center, Catholic Charities food and clothing pantry, can assist families in need with a weeks worth of diapers… but we need your help to keep the shelves stocked!

 

St. Mary’s relies on the generosity of donations to stock the shelves and provide this essential assistance. With daily traffic at the center reaching 300-400 people each day, the need for help is evident. Please consider hosting a diaper drive in your church, school or group. Diaper drives are great service projects for youth.  Contact Pat Nestvedt at 515-237-5019 for more information.




March 15, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Did you know that every two and a half minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted? Or that in January, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported that the number of people killed in fits of domestic violence is growing?

 

The Phoenix House Domestic Violence Shelter & Sexual Abuse program strives to be there for these victims of violence as well as educate the greater community to prevent this violence from ever occurring.

 

We invite you to join us in support of this important cause on Thursday, April 8 for The Art of Healing, the annual fundraiser and awareness event for the Phoenix House at Our Lady, Queen of Apostles Church in Council Bluffs from 5-8 p.m. For more information or to get involved in raising awareness and funds for this program please contact Rachel Mabrey at 712-256-2059.




March 11, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

With the expectation that comprehensive immigration reform could soon be considered by Congress, it is important that supporters of reform make their voices heard on Capitol Hill.
 
For this reason, the Justice for Immigrants Campaign has initiated a postcard campaign led by the USCCB to urge Congress to pass reform legislation.
 
Catholic Charities has already delivered 2,000 postcards directly to congress with another 38,000 expected to be mailed directly by parishes or individuals in the Des Moines Diocese.
 
Join us in these efforts by going to www.justiceforimmigrants.org to send a postcard to congress today!



March 9, 2010
Written By: Stacie Weires, LISW

I was recently asked, “What sets Catholic Charities Counseling Program apart from others?” My simple response was that we have the pleasure and the opportunity to provide therapy services for all those that may need it. Our sliding fee scale enables us to provide quality, professional services to those who may otherwise not be able to access services. We also take insurance allowing people who do have the option to utilize their health care benefits. 
 
But that’s not all.
 
Our practice of Bowen Family Systems Theory also sets us apart from many other counseling agencies. We encourage and support individuals to look at things from another perspective by being more thoughtful verses emotional when making decisions. We do not tell people what to do, but guide them to a healthier and more productive way of looking at things.
 

Stacie Weires, LISW




March 2, 2010
Written By: Diane McKee

The Iowa House of Representatives has a great opportunity to step-up and help protect victims of domestic violence. Since 1995, two hundred and five Iowans have been killed in domestic abuse murders. Over half of these murders – 111 – involved guns. To prevent so many murders in the future, the bill currently in subcommittee, SF 2357, prohibits domestic abuse perpetrators from possessing guns and clarifies the power of local officials to enforce the law. 

 
Under the law, people convicted of domestic abuse assault or subject to a final protective order are prohibited from possessing guns. These people get notice and a hearing with a judge. They can bring attorneys and tell their side of the story. If they disagree with the conviction, they can appeal. And the prohibition on guns only lasts as long as the final protective order. There are plenty of steps built into this process to protect the rights of gun owners. 

There currently is a federal gun ban law. So if the legislation is passed, this new state law will not be taking guns away from people who currently have the legal right to possess them, it would only create a mechanism for local law enforcement to remove firearms from abusers who under federal law legally should not have firearms in their possession in the first place.

We need the additional state law so that local law enforcement officers have the legal authority to enforce the firearm ban. There is currently no mechanism for enforcing the federal firearms prohibition for domestic abusers under state law. Therefore, if the abuser chooses to keep firearms in violation of federal law there is nothing local law enforcement officers can do about it. This legislation would give local law enforcement the authority and the process for taking firearms out of the hands of abusers who already illegally possess them under federal law. Without additional state law there are only two ATF agents in the entire state who can act to enforce the federal law, which is woefully inadequate. Two ATF agents cannot enforce the firearm ban provision alone. Without local law enforcement involved abusers will not and are not abiding by the federal firearms ban.

Under no circumstance, in federal law or under the new proposed state legislation would a person lose the right to possess a firearm unless they were given a hearing where both parties were given notice and were allowed to make their case in front of a judge. They also have the right to appeal a ruling if they believe it was found in error. Therefore, no firearm rights can be removed without full due process of law.
 
This bill is necessary to protect victims of domestic violence. We don’t want to have to tell another parent their child was killed because the legislature waited too long to pass this law. We want a safer community now.



February 26, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

It is difficult for those of us who have enough to truly understand the situations that families living in poverty experience every day – the decisions they have to make, and the fears and frustrations they feel. That is why the St. Pius Social Justice Committee is hosting a Poverty Simulation on Sat., March 6 from 9am-Noon at the St. Pius Fellowship Hall at 3663 66th Street in Urbandale.

 
The simulation, offered in collaboration with Catholic Charities and JustFaith of Des Moines, asks you to walk a mile in the shoes of those living below the poverty lines. The simulation is hands-on and will help you understand what it might be like to live in a low-income family trying to survive month to month- a valuable lesson in sensitivity and understanding of the vulnerable and hurting among us.
 

 

I encourage you to learn more about the upcoming simulation by clicking here or emailing Catholic Charities for more information.

 

Here are what some past participants are saying:
“The poverty simulation was very eye opening for me. I must admit to some preconceived ideas about those who are poor and even some judgments. The simulation really opened my eyes to the major hurdles that the poor face as they try to help themselves. I had never “walked in their shoes” and that’s what the simulation does. Thankfully, we only have to “pretend” to be poor for an hour or so, but the reality of their situation settles on you very quickly.”  Patsy Carlson, Poverty Simulation participant.
 
Please pass this on to friends, relatives, teachers, school boards, city, church and other councils and to anyone that could benefit from walking a mile in the shoes of someone living in poverty.