Social Justice Grants funded by the Diocesan Annual Appeal have been especially critical this year in helping parishes respond to the increasing needs for food and assistance in our parish communities.
New this year, Faith Formation Grants funded by the Appeal are also available to parishes for all types of faith formation programs such as Religious Education for Children, Youth Ministry, Adult Faith Formation and RCIA Team Support.
Mary, Mother of God Parish, Scranton
The parish hosts a back-to-school picnic each August at an area housing development distributing food, clothing and school supplies to families in need. The outreach enabled Geraldine Francisco to connect with the parish and baptize her son. Geraldine relayed, “I feel stable here at the parish. My son was baptized and now he’ll receive First Holy Communion.”
Hot Dinner Drive-Through
Epiphany Parish, Sayre
Volunteers at Epiphany Parish in Sayre serve over 120 hot meals to those in need in the community, every second Tuesday of the month. Laura Houseknecht, a recipient of the dinners related, “We lost income due to Covid and this project feeds our family of six. We are so thankful!”
Parish Food Pantry
St Ann’s Parish, Williamsport
A parish Social Justice grant helped launch and supports a food pantry serving families of all sizes in the area. Mary Trometter, the pantry coordinator stated, “About 40 percent of our clients are over 60, and in addition to providing them food, we offer them information about other support services in the area, so they don’t feel like they’re alone.”
Monthly Family Food Ministry, St. John Neumann Parish, Lords Valley
For almost two decades, parishioners from St. John Neumann have fed families, especially children and seniors, every month from their food pantry. Peggy Shekailo, director of Blooming Grove Food Pantry shared, “We serve between 60 and 100 families with the help of our volunteers. The funding from the Diocese pays for meat, eggs and cheese for families who will now have a good protein dinner.”
High-Rise Food Ministry, St. Nicholas Parish, Wilkes-Barre
Volunteers of the Social Concerns Committee at St Nicholas parish make sandwiches and deliver them and baked goods to the elderly and infirmed in high-rise apartment buildings in Wilkes-Barre. Sr. Anna Nguyen, director of the outreach effort said, “I’m thrilled to have all these volunteers to help those who depend on the food and connections we provide.”
Engaging Children at Mass, St. Matthew’s Parish, East Stroudsburg
Young adult volunteers in the parish use puppets to teach the Mass responses to Spanish speaking youngsters. The children pay close attention to the homily skits and sing along to the hymns with the children’s choir. Juan Lugo, one of the puppeteers, explained, “The kids get truly involved with the Mass listening to the puppets and responding to their questions.”