Dear Friends of Catholic Charities,
Thank you for taking the time to review the 2017 Annual Report for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. This past year, we at Catholic Charities have continued our fervent mission to bring mercy, relief and hope to thousands of people across our 28-county diocese. Through our network of area offices and facilities, Catholic Charities offers a wide array of programs. These programs range from providing basic assistance to long-term interventions designed to help individuals and families overcome obstacles preventing them from maximizing the wondrous gift of life bestowed by our Creator.
I have been asked in the past whether Catholic Charities should focus on giving a person a fish or teaching a person how to fish and my answer has always been – both! To me it is not an either/or question. There are so many people that come to Catholic Charities who are in temporary need of help or who have suffered an unexpected crisis in their lives. What they need is an immediate, non-judgmental expression of God's mercy. What they need is temporary assistance until they can get themselves back on their feet again. What they need is a fish. Literally thousands of people across the diocese have come to Catholic Charities for the first and only times in their lives. They are afraid, embarrassed and shocked to find themselves in a position they never thought was possible. Catholic Charities greets them with dignity and respect and provides these families with food, clothing, medicine and shelter. We provide God's light in their darkest days and so many have never had to come back again.
Catholic Charities also operates programs that teaches a person how to fish because many people need more comprehensive interventions to help them become self-sufficient or to better care for their families. Our Intact Family Services, Professional Counseling Solutions, Faith In Action and Learning Independence For Tomorrow (L.I.F.T.) programs are all designed to empower individuals and families to lead healthier, happier and more productive lives. Through these professional services, Catholic Charities makes a long-term commitment to help people fully realize their God-given potential.
I met George last year in one of the dozens of small rural towns Catholic Charities now serves through our Mobile Food Pantry program. George was a disabled veteran of the Korean War and he came that day proudly wearing his United States Marine Corps sweatshirt. George is a widower living alone on a fixed income. He shared with me that many times a year he simply does not know where his next meal is coming from. He is grateful for his "beans and peanut butter" on those days. He does not have a vehicle and the nearest town with a food pantry is 75 miles away. George was incredibly thankful for providing him with food that day. He tearfully wanted me to tell whoever was responsible for this blessing that he will never forget the kindness he has been shown.
On behalf of George and all of us at Catholic Charities thank you for making what we do possible.
Steven E. Roach, M.S.
Diocese of Springfield in Illinois