Catholic Charities News – December 2022
Added Dec 22, 2022

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Nashville Heals program brings hope and recovery

Christmas is fast approaching, but for those who lived and worked on Second Avenue on Christmas Day 2020, life may never be quite the same. It will take many normal Christmases before the lingering feelings of shock and grief will dissipate.

Catholic Charities is honored to be selected to administer Nashville Heals, a counseling and trauma awareness outreach program.

For many survivors of traumatic events, such as the bombing, aftereffects can be internalized and repressed. Sometimes nagging physical symptoms such as headaches or trouble sleeping are tied to the event, and people don’t realize it for months or years later. Anniversary dates of events can be triggers, adding to holiday stress in completely new and unfamiliar ways. Across the country, after mass disasters, specially trained counselors are routinely made available when the dust begins to settle after such events.

Nashville Heals will provide that specialty counseling, along with public presentations to educate the community about this serious condition that affects one’s quality of life. Be on the listen for radio spots running on local stations throughout December and in the coming winter months. For help or more information, go to

Matching gift helps families find healing

Families joyfully celebrating the holidays—it’s one of those pictures we see on Publix TV ads. But many families don’t fit that happy picture. After several tumultuous years, many of our neighbors are still struggling to meet their most basic needs. They may be facing eviction, unable to feed their families a real meal every day, and coming up short to pay for heat and electricity. And not knowing what to do next.

Every day we receive more than 50 requests for basic needs assistance like these. Christan’s story is just one example of how circumstances beyond your control can put you into a tailspin. With a hand up, you can get back on track.

Being able to help is the God-given privilege and joy that all of us at Catholic Charities experience. We want you to share in that blessing of helping our neighbors during the holidays.

Thanks to the generosity of the Sumpter Yeaman Foundation, every dollar you give to support neighbors in need will be matched up to $200,000, through December 31.

Shining a light on our good work in Middle Tennessee

We are grateful to the Christian-based initiative Light the World, which chose Catholic Charities to be a featured charity of the “Giving Machines” in Cool Springs Mall.

The vending machines enable purchases of specific items needed by our clients. Christmas shoppers can swipe their credit card at the machine and perform a great act of kindness, in the convenience of a familiar location. After a visit to the mall Santa, children can learn first-hand how easy it is to give to those less fortunate.

On December 20, join us at The Giving Machine, near Belk, when Catholic Charities will be on site with musicians and sewing academy students to spread a little holiday cheer and raise awareness of our services and their impact For more information visit

Read more about Giving Machines Nashville in The Tennessee Register

Good News In Brief

  • Annabelle Cruz-Orengo has joined the staff as Deputy Executive Director, Administration. Annabelle is a native of Puerto Rico, and most recently was senior director for operations for the startup nonprofit Tennessee Charitable Care Network, building their operations from the ground up. She also is the former Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for Family & Children’s Service.
  • As the year comes to a close, we are excited to report on our burgeoning volunteer and intern program, which has grown to a total of 700 volunteers and 41 interns who served in 2022. Catholic Charities has a wide range of opportunities for those who would enjoy supporting our various locations and programs. All types of expertise and training are useful, and we pray that 2023 will bring us even more volunteers and student interns. If you or someone you know is looking for a school-based internship, please contact Barbara Beswick at For volunteer opportunities, go to volunteer.cctenn.orgFor those looking for paid employment, job openings are listed at join our team, one way or another.
  • Catholic Charities and Catholic Pastoral Center offices will be closed December 23-January 2, for the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays.
  • Did you know? Haitians and Cubans have access to federal benefits when applying at authorized agencies, including Catholic Charities. Conditions in those countries are difficult, and we are serving a greater number than usual. For the next few weeks, and during the holidays, we will pause enrollments and close our waitlist until we can serve those already in queue. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we also work to hire more case managers. In the meantime, applicants can apply for SNAP and TANF benefits directly on their own, by contacting the appropriate state agency.

May love, hope, and healing be yours, during this blessed season of Advent and Christmas.

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