Annual campaign benefits diocese - Catholic Courier

Annual campaign benefits diocese

Diocesan parishes will take up a second collection Sept. 18-19 in support of this year’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development. The campaign, which was established in 1969, is the domestic anti-poverty, social-justice program of the U.S. Catholic bishops.

Proceeds from the 2003 CCHD collection totaled $78,969, according to Judy Taylor, who coordinates advocacy and communication for diocesan Catholic Charities. As in previous years, 75 percent of that money was used to fund CCHD’s nationally funded grants, while 25 percent of the proceeds remained in the diocese. Diocesan CCHD proceeds were used to fund the following initiatives:

Monroe County:

* Raise a Roof, a project of the community group Interfaith Action, which is aimed at expanding home ownership, improving public safety and revitalizing several commercial districts.

* Women’s Coffee Connection, a job-training program for women in substance-abuse recovery.

* Farmworker Women’s Institute, a program that helps women farm workers develop confidence and leadership skills by learning English and setting up mini-businesses, such as catering and selling tamales at public markets.

* Healthy Sisters’ Soup and Bean Works, a work-experience program to help unemployed or unemployable women achieve self-sufficiency by learning the job skills necessary to produce soup and chili mixes.

Finger Lakes:

* The Boys and Girls Clubs of Geneva, which used grant money to support an after-school program that combines education and fun through creative activities.

* The Hispanic Network of the Finger Lakes, which used grant money to support a project promoting self-reliance and leadership in the Hispanic community.

* The Farmworker Women’s Institute, which provides and promotes education, leadership and advocacy training for female farm workers.

Southern Tier:

* Workers’ Rights Center, which empowers low-wage workers and immigrant workers to change existing laws and employer behavior regarding fair treatment of workers and provides information, referral, advocacy and support to workers.

* The Southern Tier Labor-Religion Coalition’s Employment Ministry, which works with faith communities to provide support to unemployed workers, help workers find jobs and advocate with unemployed or low-wage workers for necessary changes.

The Diocese of Rochester also benefits from the 75 percent of CCHD proceeds that support nationally funded grants, according to Jack Balinsky, executive director of diocesan Catholic Charities. In 2003, several local organizations received national grant money, including the Independent Farmworker Center (CITA) and Interfaith Action, which is made up of churches and organizations working to revitalize Rochester’s west side.

“This is in fact a very practical and tangible expression of our value on (the) Catholic social teaching of preferential options for the poor,” Balinsky said.

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