It was challenging to choose these scripture verses from the Old Testament and the New Testament because the Bible has so many references to our mandate to serve the poor. Catholic Charities’ Bridging the Gap Program is designed in some ways to fulfill this mandate This program has been part of our mission since our earliest days as an agency long before the Catholic Diocese of Lexington was even formed. It is important vital work of the Church.
In 2017, 442 families received assistance from the Bridging the Gap Program. What does that mean? It too is difficult to capture in words. Each day always begins with a prayer that God will lead our efforts. According to the receptionist at the Catholic Center, the Bridging the Gap Program receives more calls each day than any other staff member at the Catholic Center! This statistic is said with pride – it means that people in need know that the Catholic faith community can and will respond to their needs so they reach out to us for assistance.
Who are the “needy” that come to the Catholic Center? They are quite diverse – elderly, middle aged and the young, fathers, mothers, grandparents, single people, and married couples. Catholic Charities serves people with disabilities or life-altering illnesses, people who are employed fulltime and those who are unemployed or recently laid off from their jobs. People of every religious background and ethnicity seek assistance for their basic needs.
“Bob”, a man in his 50s, was referred to the Bridging the Gap Program by Cardinal Hill Hospital. He had suffered a serious stroke and was recovering at Cardinal Hill. Bob was very worried about losing his apartment since he could not pay his rent. He was a truck driver all of his life but was forced to apply for disability after his stroke. It takes a very long time to be approved for disability and Bob did not have any income while he waited for his benefits to go through. With everything he had to deal with including kidney failure as a result of his stroke, it was good to be able to lift the financial stress of paying his rent. Catholic Charities used the funds that come from donors all over the Catholic Diocese of Lexington and the Annual Appeal to help him.
Another recent case served by Catholic Charities is an example of how a crisis can leave a family on the brink of homelessness. A very serious car accident left “Steven”, a father of four, seriously injured and a child in the family on the brink of death. It may have been something you read in the paper where you thought “Thank God everyone survived that terrible accident”. What is often forgotten is that an accident like this has many other ramifications. This family was left with no income when the father’s injuries prevented him from returning to his job for over six months as he recovered. “Carol”, the mother in the household, was left to care for her husband and son as they recovered from extensive injuries as well as her other three children. With no income they worried they would lose their housing in the midst of this crisis. Catholic Charities extended financial support to maintain them in their home during this crisis.
Heartfelt thanks to all our donors who help us live out God’s mandate to care for the needy. Our 442 families can’t thank you personally so we extend it to you on their behalf. You ease their suffering and let them know that God is always with them even in their darkest times.