Catholic Charities remains faithful to its mission to serve local families in Greater Cincinnati. All our work is local and focused on improving the lives and resiliency of families. An example is the Early Childhood Mental Health story on page 3 where a child’s aggressive behavior was redirected so that he could succeed in pre-school and advance to elementary school. It included improving the parenting skills of the mother. The Early Childhood Mental Health program is a way for children to socialize and participate throughout their school experiences. It enables children to be successful in school and not become estranged and destructive as they advance through their school years.
On page 4 is a story about the Food for All pantry that delivers healthy food to food deserts in Hamilton and nearby counties. The program is providing food to a grandmother who is raising her son’s children after his death due to a drug overdose. This program is directed by Catholic Charities staff member April Hoak but is entirely staffed by volunteers and housed in space made available by churches and civic agencies at no cost. This is a very effective and efficient use of resources to deliver healthy food to hungry families.
Many of the families we serve are from other places. This is not new to the work that we do. We have worked with migrant families since our founding in 1916. We have continued this effort through world wars and regional conflicts so that migrant families reach safety and a decent life for their children. In June, we celebrated World Refugee Day at the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy with 225 individuals from many different cultures who all now live in our community.
The World Refugee Day Celebration, stories about visiting Findley Market and the Su Casa Summer Enrichment Program for children, included in this Blessings, are antidotal to the terrible events on the news of racially motivated mass shootings, ICE raids to separate families, and news of further reductions in the number of refugees that will be allowed to enter the U.S. in 2019 and 2020.
This almost continuous news of violence to migrants evidences the relentlessly experience of the dehumanizing impact of our own nation’s broken immigration system. Each day, we see families being separated, traumatized children from the border coming to us for help, local refugee communities unable to bring their loved ones out of refugee camps elsewhere, and the lives of our neighbors devastated by human trafficking. For us, the issue is personal. As our country devolves into an increasingly polarized culture, we must remember that migrants are God’s gift to clearly reveal to us that we are one body in Christ. As we so tragically saw in El Paso, fear and hatred of immigrants are driving people to indiscriminately kill their neighbors. Our own salvation, however, is steeped in our hearts’ desires to unify humanity in God’s love. The events and actions of Catholic Charities reflect God’s love and solidarity with the poor and vulnerable.
Catholic Charities will continue to be express God’s mercy to local families in the Greater Cincinnati community. Thank you for your prayers, volunteering and financial support. Together we can grow God’s love.