USCCB News Release
October 19, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Upcoming CCHD Collection Focuses On Aiding Struggling Families Amidst Economic Downturn
WASHINGTON—"Families are struggling. Faith is calling" is the theme of the 2009 Collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), which will be held in most Catholic parishes the weekend of November 21-22.
The economic crisis has left many in the United States without security: the security of having a job, of having health care or a sufficient retirement fund. U.S. Census poverty figures reveal that the number of people currently in poverty in the United States is estimated at 39.8 million, almost 3 million more people than the previous year’s readings. For most of these families, however, these kinds of security have always been out of reach, and the current crisis has amplified their struggle.
“The mission of CCHD is crucial in 2009: To uplift and embolden all who are one layoff or one medical scare away from the poverty line—and all who are already there,” said Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Subcommittee on CCHD.
For nearly 40 years, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has embodied Catholic social teaching through the pursuit of justice and the upholding of the dignity of the human person. Since 1970, CCHD has funded community groups that create affordable housing, obtain fair wages and provide job training, as well as other organizing projects led by low income individuals to help people and resolve problems in their communities.
CCHD’s primary source of support is the once-a-year CCHD Collection held in U.S. parishes. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds support projects in the diocese where the funds are collected.
“This year, our call as Catholics to bring glad tidings to the poor…to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free (Lk 4:18) is more important than ever before,” said Bishop Morin in a letter inviting parishes to be as generous as possible.
CCHD funds programs where poor and marginalized people are empowered to make decisions, seek solutions to local problems and find ways to improve their lives and neighborhoods. Economic development initiatives help poor and low-income people develop new businesses, create new jobs and develop assets that are owned by families and communities. CCHD also provides educational opportunities for Catholics to learn about poverty, interact with those affected by it and reflect on a faith response to it.
In 2008, CCHD-funded groups involved 776 Catholic parishes, 18 Catholic Charities agencies and 51 religious communities. CCHD is a complement to the direct-assistance mission of Catholic Charities agencies and other Church emergency relief programs. It helps make long-term changes in the economic condition of communities by supporting projects that address the root causes of poverty.
In 2009, a total of $7,735,613 was awarded to 250 grantees throughout the United States. A sample of 2009 CCHD nationally funded projects and the dioceses which recommended them follows. For a detailed list of the most recent grants, visit www.usccb.org/cchd/grants.
Faith and Action for Strength Together Diocese of St. Petersburg
Faith and Action for Strength Together (FAST) is comprised of 30 dues-paying member parishes and other congregations working on issues related to education, transportation and affordable housing. FAST has won many public commitments including a full day pre-kindergarten for low income children, funding to complete the creation of 3,000 new affordable housing units, expansion of school-discipline programs in struggling public schools and commitments to address areas where drugs and crime are rampant.
Progress Center for Independent Living Archdiocese of Chicago
Progress Center for Independent Living is empowering persons with disabilities to live satisfying and rewarding lives outside of institutions. Progress Center's services include intensive one-on-one peer mentoring, disability rights training, outreach, community organizing and advocacy.
United Workers Association Archdiocese of Baltimore
The United Workers Association is an organization of low-wage workers who are organizing for better wages and working conditions. UWA's Living Wages at Camden Yards Campaign resulted in raised wages for cleaners at the stadium from a flat rate that averaged less than $4.50 an hour in 2003 to the state's living wage rate of $11.30 an hour today.
Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES) Archdiocese of Detroit
MOSES is a congregation-centered, interfaith and interracial, interdenominational, urban and suburban community organization. Currently MOSES is working on issues including improving public transportation in Southeast Michigan and bringing a full-service grocery store to within Detroit's city limits.
Movimiento por Justicia en El Barrio Archdiocese of New York
St. Cecelia’s Parish in East Harlem works with over 400 primarily Mexican immigrant members to focus on tenant issues. Additionally, they have ongoing negotiations with the Mexican Consulate aimed at improving services to the Mexican immigrant population in NYC.
Golden Agers for Progress Diocese of StocktonEstablished by Catholic Charities of Stockton, Golden Agers for Progress (GAP) is a network of senior citizen leaders who are identifying needs and issues facing seniors in a four-county area. GAP's current goals are to secure the use of local transportation fund monies to establish door-to-door transportation for senior and disabled adults in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and the Mother Lode counties and research possible inter-county solutions.
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Keywords: Catholic Campaign for Human Development, social justice, economic development, workers rights, National Collections, Bishop Morin, U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops