Catholic Charities News – March 2023
Added May 11, 2023

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Festival of Hope April 18 at Catholic Charities Headquarters
I am thrilled to announce that our annual fundraiser, Festival of Hope, will take place at our “home” at the Catholic Pastoral Center. The event returns to a breakfast event, following our successful 60th Anniversary celebration last year, El Festival de Esperanza. We have incorporated a lively upbeat Latin feel to our event, in homage to our very first program, working with Cuban children in need of temporary Nashville homes. Who says breakfast isn’t a festive occasion? We are going to celebrate hope, because that is the best thing that you can give to anyone.

To reserve your seat please go to the Festival website. There is no charge for attending, but we hope you will be generous with your support. All proceeds will help provide critical Catholic Charities services that serve 25,000 Middle Tennessee neighbors annually. Thank you to First Horizon for their commitment as Presenting Sponsor. Sponsorships are still available through March 24. More information is at the Festival of Hope website.

Rhori Johnston, WTVF News Channel 5 anchor, will be the master of ceremonies. And you will meet a recipient of our services, a young mother, joined by her husband and two little boys, who will share a moving first-hand account about the transformative effect our counselors had in helping her young son recover from a traumatic event. You couldn’t find a better example of the power of love, hope, and healing.

We are counting on a big turnout when we welcome you to our offices at Briley Parkway and McGavock Pike, in the beautifully remodeled Ascension Hall. If you haven’t had a chance to see the Catholic Pastoral Center, this is a great opportunity. Our program managers will be on hand to answer your questions, and an information table for volunteers will also be a part of our event.

Celebrating Reunification of Families – Film Screening
We had a wonderful turnout at our March 2 fundraiser at the historic Belcourt Theatre, when we viewed our When Pedro Pan Came to Nashville documentary on the BIG screen. Several “stars” of the film—our former child clients who came from Cuba in 1962, and their host families—were in attendance. A stimulating panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Jose Gonzalez. Participants were Dr. Karla McKanders, Dr. Mariano Sana, and Mohamed-Shruki Hassen, all highly respected experts on immigration and the pressing need for family reunification, which is achieved through federally approved refugee and immigration programs. We were delighted to welcome a wide swath of Nashvillians from government, the general public, the academic community, and other nonprofits. Three of our panelists are themselves New Americans. The panel discussion and documentary are available for viewing on our website.

Volunteer Appreciation Celebration
We are incredibly happy with the growing number of volunteers who help at all our locations. To honor their invaluable contributions, on Feb. 24 we revived a long-ago tradition—Volunteer Appreciation Night—the first one in 20 years. Dozens of volunteers from Loaves & Fishes, mentoring, and other programs came together for fellowship, a delicious Mediterranean meal, and a celebration of their achievements in 2022. Four awards were given to stand-out volunteers: Becky Bowman, Martha Custard, Tracy Doering, and Mary Pollman. Working alongside such caring and giving folks is an inspiration and a blessing for all of us.

Daffodils Prove That Hope Springs Eternal
Last fall, dozens of HCA volunteers lovingly cleared overgrown flower beds, then planted 1,000 daffodil bulbs and spread mounds of mulch. Lo and behold, our drab little courtyard is now bursting with life and filling passersby with joy. Thanks to all who helped us start what will be a wonderful annual tradition of fall planting. We hope more gardening volunteers will raise their hands to plant early summer blooms, to keep the courtyard a year-round place to meditate on the beauty of God’s creations.

News In Brief
• Heather Mencke has been named director of our resettlement program. The department has been newly renamed the New Americans Program. Heather most recently was Basic Needs and Disaster Management Director. Kate Pooler takes over Heather’s previous role, as Basic Needs Program Manager.
• The Love, Hope, and Healing Fund has launched to encourage sustaining annual gifts for programs serving those most in need. Many of you have been faithful donors to our past Lenten appeals. This year those donors received a letter to announce the new fund. You can provide Lenten support at the fund’s website. Thank you to all who support us with annual gifts.
• Sewing Training Academy has launched a social enterprise component, and we now can provide jobs for our graduates, fulfilling production contracts for various merchandise, including dog-walking bags.

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