Catholic Charities provides help and creates hope for thousands of people in need. Many lives are changed and following are success stories from some of those who benefited from our work and our partnership with donors, churches, foundations, corporations, organizations, government and other social service agencies.
Lisette Borg, an 80-year-old Turkish immigrant, walks a half-mile in Ventura, twice a week, to her psychological therapy practice. Most impressive of all is that Lisette does this despite being completely blind.
Lisette lives alone in an apartment and cooks and cleans for herself and occasional guests. She enjoys attending the local symphony’s performances.
Recently, Catholic Charities in Ventura County’s Older Adult Services and Intervention System (OASIS) received a referral from the local police after officers had responded to a desperate call from Lisette. Her power had been out for days, the pantry and fridge nearly empty, and Lisette was confused and scared. OASIS staff quickly helped turn on Lisette’s power, restocked her pantry and fridge, and enrolled her in auto-pay for her various bills because, without anyone to read her bills to her, she was unable to make payments.
OASIS volunteers continue to visit Lisette once a week to read her important documents, help around the house, and ensure she can live independently and continue doing what she loves, helping others in her psychology practice.
“Elizabeth,” a self-employed, single mother of two, came to Catholic Charities’ Loaves & Fishes in Glendale in desperate need. Before the pandemic, she worked as a housekeeper on a cash basis. However, due to fear of exposure to COVID-19, her client laid her off, with no possibility to collect unemployment benefits.
Compounding her situation was her oldest son, who also lost his job during the pandemic. Plagued with addiction issues, he became homeless and refused his mother’s attempts to help. Elizabeth focused her attention on the well-being of her 14-year-old son. However, her critical concern was covering the upcoming rent.
Glendale Community Center’s case manager immediately signed her up for homeless prevention services, including rental & utility assistance. She also received food, clothing and was referred to other available resources. She is very grateful for the “helping hand” she received in her time of need, which went beyond what Elizabeth expected when she came to Catholic Charities for assistance.
“Henry,” who worked in the motion picture and documentary film industry since the early 1990s, became homeless when he lost his job. Unemployed and faced with the challenges of the pandemic, he sought assistance at St. Robert’s Center in Venice. Henry joins a group of 100 every Saturday for grab-and-go lunches and pre-made grocery bags at St. Robert’s Saturday outreach. St. Robert’s is one of the few places he can count on these days, as he has for the last few years.
A native of Nigeria, Henry says he sees younger people on the streets, encamped on the boardwalk in Venice, and wonders how much their parents worry about them. “That’s the trauma we have,” he admits. “I don’t wish homelessness on anybody. You don’t know how difficult it is until you don’t have a place.”
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Catholic Charities’ San Pedro Region distributes food to low-income families and individuals. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many more seniors have been coming to get food from the centers. Despite threatening their health by not adhering to the stay-at-home order, some seniors say they know they are taking a risk, but they are running out of options.
A 67-year-old grandmother came to Long Beach Community Center to get some food. She admitted that she was endangering her health to stand in line to receive food. Still, she said, “It’s worth the wait because many grocery stores are limiting items you can receive, and every grocery store you go to is practically empty.”
Catholic Charities’ employees were in danger of exposure to COVID-19 by interacting with clients, but they took precautions to be safe. They believe that the value of giving to those in need is worth the risk.
“Monica” first became familiar with Catholic Charities while raising her three children (now adults). When she needed assistance to help support her family, she turned to Brownson House for the emergency food and utility programs, as well as the nutrition classes. Her children benefited from the annual summer program, back-to-school haircut days, and Navidad con Obispo, the yearly food and toy giveaway event at Christmas time.
Monica has recently adopted five additional children. But, because of all the support she’s received at Brownson House throughout the years, Monica knows she is not alone. She’s grateful for the assistance she continues to receive and that her newly adopted children will benefit from all of the services her own children received in the past.
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Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, public benefit corporation accredited by the Council on Accreditation.