By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
The annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) will take place in the Archdiocese of Louisville parishes this weekend — Nov. 17-18 — and will coincide with the Second World Day of the Poor, which will be observed Nov. 18.
“This collection empowers low-income people to work to break the cycle of poverty in their communities, helping them to live life anew in dignity,” said a Nov. 7 press release from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which sponsors the campaign.
Parishioners in this archdiocese contributed $61,404 to the 2017 collection. Six local organizations are now benefitting from those local donations and from the national collection, according to Deacon Lucio Caruso, director of mission at Catholic Charities of Louisville.
Grant recipients from the 2017 campaign were announced at a luncheon Oct. 30.
Two local organizations won national grants from the CCHD — Catholic Charities of Louisville received $50,000 and the local grass-roots advocacy organization, CLOUT (Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together), was awarded $65,000.
The national awards will aim to empower low-income individuals to advocate for themselves and bring about changes in their lives.
While 75 percent of the collection is awarded to organizations throughout the United States through these national grants, 25 percent of the collection stays local. That means $15,351 from last year’s collection also helped local organizations. The groups that received local awards this year are Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the River Region, which received $3,000, Doors to Hope, received $7,000, Kentucky Office for Refugees, $3,000 and Catholic Charities’ Common Table Culinary Arts Training program, which received $2,000.
All of the agencies that receive grants must be in line with Catholic teaching and apply for the grants, said Deacon Caruso.
The Common Table Culinary Arts Training Program provides certified culinary and job-skills training to refugees and other unemployed or underemployed individuals. The program, said Deacon Caruso, is an “investment in individuals who will be able to care for their families by getting a good-paying stable job.”
That’s the hope of Tyrone Quisenberry Jr., Regina Cox and Antonette Sellers all students in the program. Quisenberry, who worked as a salad and dessert chef in local restaurants, joined the program in order to earn a certificate which he hopes will give him a better chance at succeeding in the food industry, he said.
“My goal is to start a restaurant or own a food truck,” said Quisenberry who is five weeks into the course. The program lasts for eight weeks.
Cox said she’s worked as a hairstylist for 30 years, but cooking has always been her passion. After one of her sisters and a friend graduated from the Culinary Arts Training program, she decided to try it out for herself, she said.
“I do catering on the side, but I want to learn more and learn how to do it more professionally,” she said.
Since the program started three years ago, 51 students have graduated, said Laura Stevens, who directs the program. Recent graduates, she noted, have found employment at locales such as the Bristol Bar & Grille and the Omni Louisville Hotel.
CASA was chosen as a grant recipient because of its mission to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children, said Caruso.
“CASA fits the criteria of trying to lift up young people who could be susceptible to things that won’t better their lives,” he said. The grant money will help fund the agency’s new mental health and substance abuse program, he noted.
Doors to Hope — a ministry founded by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in 2012 — aims to help break the cycle of violence and poverty by educating immigrant women and their families.
“In the last couple of years the need to support our Latino sisters and brothers has been greater, surrounding the issue of immigration,” said Deacon Caruso. “This is a way for the church to show appreciation and support for this program.”
The grant to the Kentucky Office for Refugees, a Catholic Charities’ program that coordinates refugee resettlement in Kentucky, will help fund the sixth annual Refugee and Immigrant Day at the Capitol in February.
The rally in Frankfort, Ky., makes a “powerful and visible statement of advocacy,” said Deacon Caruso. It also helps those who work in that ministry realize they’re not alone in their efforts, he said. Last year’s rally was attended by about 1,000 refugees, immigrants and their supporters. Participants also took part in 40 meetings with legislators and their representatives, he noted.