Catholic Charities celebrates 35 Years in Effingham

Posted on July 20, 2016

July marks the 35th anniversary of Catholic Charities ministry in Effingham area.  On July 1, 1981 Catholic Charities was begun in Effingham located in a small house next to St. Anthony High School offering services to the community including counseling, adoption, infant foster care and emergency assistance. During its first year, the agency served 125 clients, and had 13 members on its board.

In 1982 Second Hand Rose Resale Shoppe, a clothing store opened for the dual purpose of serving impoverished people and of increasing revenue for the emergency assistance program. 

Between the years from 1982 through 1993, as the needs of the community increased, the agency moved twice to a larger facility and increased staff.

Catholic Charities Advisory Board had the idea to convert a school bus to transport school supplies and clothing to children in rural communities.  The Ramblin’ Rose program was begun.

In 2003 a capital campaign, The Jabez Project, was launched to purchase and renovate the former Keller Furniture/Appliance building to consolidate all Catholic Charities services to one location.  Catholic Charities moved into the renovated location in January of 2005.

Catholic Charities’ services have increased over the last 35 year and now include Counseling, Emergency Assistance, Food Pantry, Legal Services, MedAssist, Mobile Food Pantry, and Second Hand Rose Resale Shoppe.  A MedAssist Outreach Office is located in Marshall to serve the MedAssist clients in that area.

Catholic Charities collaborates with many local agencies in various capacities to provide expanded services.  FISH and Catholic Charities became co-sponsors of the Christmas for Kids program.  CEFS and Catholic Charities have worked together on helping with emergency needs of people as well as with the needs of the Head Start program.  Catholic Charities and Unit 40 Effingham School District co-sponsor the Summer Food Lunch Program held each summer.  St. Anthony Memorial Hospital resources to purchase foods for Healthy Heart bags and a gallon of milk to Food Pantry Clients, to offer Diabetic Education/Dietary Planning/Diabetic Medicines and to fund the Dental Voucher Program, all available through Catholic Charities.   

Over the past 35 years Catholic Charities has expanded services into a total of seven counties: Clark, Crawford, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, and Shelby Counties.

With the help of the many people who have served Catholic Charities on the Advisory Board, the many staff members and volunteers, the many business and individuals who have supported Catholic Charities in a variety of ways, and the tremendous support of the community at large, Catholic Charities continues to add needed services and has grown from serving 125 people in 1981 to over 75,000 people.

Pictured in Photo from Left to Right are Catholic Charities Staff Members: Vickie Rieman-Bond, Michelle Lueken, Carrie Crippen, Theresa Loy, Jean Fruchtl, Sr. Carol Beckermann, Barb Thoele, John Arthur, Gina Hanratty, Sr. Sandra Sudkamp, and Carolyn Baldwin.  Staff unavailable for photo:  Sr. Kathleen Bushur, Kendra Franklin, Connie Holkenbrink, Barb Igleheart, Carol Klelpzig, Jane Kortte, Gerald Thoele and Robert West.