Be A Star Thrower: DONATE
Support is a big factor in the success in one’s physical, financial, and emotional journey and a key part to keep them moving forward. Following Marie’s journey so far, her “star throwers” are the reason she is finding victory in areas she has longed for in years. Employment Services helped her fine tune her resume and interview skills and understand how to budget through a financial literacy course, our social workers and case managers helped her look for a job and get gifts for her children through Christmas Shining Star and food for Thanksgiving, and Child and Family Services helped her strengthen her relationship with her kids through a parenting class.
The Bible tells us in Matthew 25:35, 40 this is what being a star thrower means. Putting on the heart of Christ means serving the least among us whether hungry or thirsty, help getting over sickness, or in bad situations. Christ did not come to be among the highest in society, but as a lowly servant seeking to save the isolated and cast out. The manger and shepherds were symbols of that, that even the simplest of situations can bring about the greatest of miracles.
In the last couple years with COVID-19, the opportunities to be a star thrower for all the starfish in need has grown tremendously. Just in the last year, food insecurity has increased. 57,000+ in the Jackson County and 55,000 people in Buchanan County, have needed help and Catholic Charities was able to provide just under 76.632K pounds of food (up 109% from FY20 alone at just under 36.493K pounds)! From the amazing contributions to our temporary food pantry in Kansas City through the support of Harvesters and other local parishes and our Welcome Center, 1,788 total families were served with 95 of those families coming directly to our food pantry. One of the special things about our pantry is it is not only stocks items like canned fruits and vegetables, protein, and boxed meals, but 13,155 hygiene items like toothbrushes and toothpaste wer distributed to 964 families this year.
This past Saturday, Dec.18th, we also had the honor serve our community through food distribution at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Independence, Missouri. Through the 167 households that we served: 307 were adults along with 232 children and 113 seniors. We also gave out 137 Price Chopper gift cards at a total value of $2,740.00!
Every year Christmas is a time of incredible need for a lot of families. Especially for our single-parent families who do not have a lot of “extra” income, the capacity for us to give back and serve those individuals could be the only sense of “joy” they feel through the entire year. Out of the 5,707 families we served through the last year providing emergency assistance, 434 of them participated in Christmas Shining Star. The children of those families write a list of all the items they want for Christmas and generous donors can “sponsor” a child for up to $60 purchasing the requested items or sending in a donation to Catholic Charities. In 2021, we fully sponsored all 257 children on our list!
After experiencing a record low in unemployment at 3.1% in September of 2019, and record high of 14.2% in April of 2020, Jackson County currently sits at a 3.3% unemployment rate of 12,080 people, 0.5% higher than the state unemployment rate of 2.8% and 13.9% of the total number of unemployed people in Missouri (86,638). In Buchanan County, experiencing a record low unemployment rate of 2.2% in October of 2018 and the highest unemployed they’ve experienced since February of 2014 (6.9%) at 9.1% in April of 2020. They currently sit at a 2.5% unemployment rate since the month of October. We have seen this as an area of important need and through the help our Employment Emergency Assistance, Catholic Charities was able to reach 81 families! From resume building to job interviewing all the way to employment preparation, we want to make sure our clients are very well prepared for the next step that awaits them.
Another key to success in lasting employment is the convenience of transportation. In 2021, we were able to help 202 families in the way of handing out 243 one-way passes and 95 weekly passes.
Through our Emergency Assistance and our Mom’s Empowerment Programs, we believe that to have a long healthy life it is important to set the foundation early which includes things like diapers, formula, baby supplies, and clothing that go along with soap shampoo, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. Medicine is also something that people need to survive and crucial to maintaining their quality of life from birth. Through our Emergency Assistance Program, we were able to provide 1,663 packages of diapers along with formula and love bags to 628 families as well as Pack and Plays to 57 families. We also gave 20 families prescription and medical help as well as 2,070 pieces of clothing to 369 other families.
Perhaps the biggest issue we have seen over the last year and where we put a lot of our emphasis is housing. We believe housing is the bedrock to a good life and foundational to shaping how the rest of one’s life will go. That is why in FY21, Catholic Charities assisted in $260,294.82 in utility expenses between 578 families as well as 449 families regarding rent. We saw this pay dividends for our clients. Of those served, 93% say they gained the necessary knowledge developing a long-term plan and/or connected with resources that met their long-term needs with 91% of those clients saying their sense of well-being has been improved. 86% of people who live in independent senior housing and are part of the 30 families that receive in home services, reported a sustained quality of life with 83% of those same clients saying CCKCSJ’s services prevented or reduced their feelings of isolation.
All these starfish could not have been helped the past year if there wasn’t a single star thrower to step up. That is what it is all about. It is not about one single person or one single service, but a collective effort that has made all this possible. We are so grateful for all the wonderful supporters we have, and we look forward to 2022 in earnest to see all the new star throwers that can join our team.
Will you be that next star thrower?