Catholic Charities awards $27,000 to local parishes

PORTLAND, Maine — Parish Social Ministry, a Catholic Charities Maine program, has announced that seven parishes, including two in Aroostook County, will receive Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants totaling more than $27,000.

St. Mary of the Visitation Parish in Houlton will receive $1,000 to help offer one-on-one sessions to food pantry clients on food preparation and preservation, health assessments, and other programs aimed at promoting healthy living. The grant will also help the parish provide participants with food preparation tools and exercise equipment to help them implement positive lifestyle changes.

Also in Aroostook County, St. John Vianney Parish, serving Fort Kent, Eagle Lake, Saint Francis and Wallagrass, will receive $1,000 to help support an educational series for seniors and financially challenged individuals in several communities. The series will consist of three components: food, socialization, and education. The program will offer guidance on best practices for nutrition, weatherization, financial matters and other topics.

Other Maine parishes receiving grants include St. Brendan the Navigator (Camden, Rockland, Belfast, Islesboro and Vinalhaven), Our Lady of the Snows Parish (Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft and Milo), Holy Savior Parish (Rumford, Bethel), St. Joseph Parish (Farmington)/St. Rose of Lima Parish (Jay), and All Saints Parish (Brunswick, Bath, Boothbay Harbor, Newcastle, Richmond and Harpswell) .

“This year’s applications display a commitment from parishes to provide not only for the immediate needs of people in their communities, but also through programs that will educate participants on how to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives,” said Michael Smith, the director of mission for Catholic Charities Maine.

The mission of Parish Social Ministry is to provide leadership, guidance, Catholic social teaching education, and training to empower parishioners to compassionately serve people of all faiths living in their communities. The CCHD parish grants support initiatives that aim to solve community-wide problems, empowering those in need to make ongoing life changes and to become more self-sufficient while offering parishioners the opportunity to serve those less fortunate.

Catholics nationwide support CCHD through an annual collection. From collections in Maine, 25 percent of the proceeds remain in the state, while 75 percent goes to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to distribute for larger national funding opportunities, from which Maine agencies and organizations that address the systemic root of poverty can apply.

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