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A SERIES ON

The Holy Father has often criticized the “globalization of indifference” that allows people in societies where hunger is not an easily evident problem to ignore the 795 million people, as estimated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, who suffer from chronic undernourishment. In some regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa or southeast Asia, the percentage of the population living in hunger can reach as high as one in every four persons.

needs food aid, but the problem of individuals and families living in hunger isn’t limited to developing nations. In 2015, 45.7 million individuals across the United States participated in the federal food stamp program. CNS photo/Chris Watt

POVERTY Nation of Plenty, Nation of Want

But the problem of individuals and families living in hunger isn’t limited to developing nations. In 2015, 45.7 million individuals nationwide participated in the JULY 14, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a federal program aimed at ensuring individuals and families

HUNGER

don’t go hungry. In New Jersey, about 10 percent of the population, or 906,000 residents, received at least some funds through SNAP, according to the numbers from the United States Department of Agriculture, which administers the program. According to statistics compiled by Feeding America, a national network of food banks and pantries, nearly 12 percent of New Jersey residents

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FROM The Monitor Current economy sends need to Brick Youth cook mealsthose at St. in Rose to help feed B Story by Jennifer Mauro, Associate Editor

By Lois Rogers, Correspondent

tomato bonus i bulbs p ver three years in operation, those who stock t. Rose of Lima Parish, had bee the shelves in the Visitation Relief Center’s Belmar, is no stranger and wa food pantry on Mantoloking Road, Brick, have All learned to expect miracles. to the face of poverty. In focused That was VCR pantry coordinator Travis Giberfact, it sees those faces almost received son’s take as an abundant delivery from the Foodbank every day in its pews and in away by of Monmouth and Ocean Counties materialized, the surrounding community. She enabling volunteers to fill up shelves that had been Enter the parish’s St. Vincent de amount running nearly on empty. Paul Society conference and its youth Nutriti “We were very low on food for three weeks,” said program, Club Faith, which distributes at least 200 frozen meals a month to Giberson, who arrived by way of the Ocean County PIC weaving those in need. into a b Youth Employment Opportunity Program when his “We have a lot of senior boarding JULY 28, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com “I c own family was going through a rough patch. houses in Belmar, and a large numwho is d Visitation Relief Center is located in a former ber are retired older people on Social SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com SPECIAL REPORT 9 Security or disability who don’t have don’t h garden center just steps away from the Visitation Parkitchens,” said Carol DeBartolo, confer- ish campus, a mainstay of the effort when it first got to creat ence president. She underway after Superstorm Sandy. It continues to be a “The economy is such that food from “a source of support and encouragement. stamp amounts just don’t cut it,” she said. “Our biggest distribution times are cent yo “The place is great,” Giberson said, as he helped fill at the end of the month, when money FAITHFUL SERVERS from Club Faith in St. Rose of Lima Parish, “With Belmar, pj shelves with donated• Children pet food. runs out. The rents here are way more Testa age homemade meals to be distributed to those in need. Photo courtesy of Italia yogurt. “We also make a point of maintaining a shelf of READY By Rosethan O’Connor the $750 or so they get a month. As the Church celLik WORK gluten-free food,” he said. “There is an butemphasis moved it toon the parish because They just can’t make it,” she said. Correspondent Arabitg ebrates the canonizachildren from wanted but Emphasizing why the parish’s frozen providing fresh food for diabetics. The garden ispublic a schoolsing River he helpI’ve out, too. food program is needed,arts DeBartolo tion of St. Teresa for people with health problems. never met of friendly are called to help estled in a medical build- said boon“...we DELIVERING FOOD, itHOPE • Doris Teijeiro,a month of the “As a Secular Franciscan,Christo we are feeds about 30 individuals Kolkata, The Monitor ischez place ing in Lakewood is a hidden peopleFOR likeALL this•before. They think ofcalled everything.” Story by Patrick T. Brown to help the sick, the poor, thewi m and three to four families, including Wawa convenience store chain, unpacks supplies July 8 aat CARE the sick, the poor... ” Dr. Kelly Kao and gem, an office of the St. Francis come in sureme concludes its summerHe said the food bank staples will supplement ginalized,” she said. So together with woman and her two young children. Correspondent the Visitation Relief Center, Brick. The company donates to Chang engage “Suit Up Community Center, where those whomeal Judy sister,–also aseries Secular, they thought, “W She said she started a frozen long that pallets of recently arrived fresh produce “heaps of examBlaine photo the center on a weekly basis. John a young patient at event Ju are struggling financially can get profesdon’t we teach these kids what they’r program at the parish years ago when ines the challenge of Qishan Early Club Faith – a group he advice is seen in Testa Child coordinated called to do – turn faith into Lakewo action.” her daughter left and for college. “I was sional clothing, shoes accessories. Intervention combatting of grammar-and andDehigh-school children Testa said thepoverty number ofO’Conno childre still cooking like it was and all ofwe us in the “We have the clothing, want greeting cards, Holvelopment Center in who Testa teaches how to cook and who help outtime, fluctuates, shesaid said,social “and Iworker thought,Holly ‘I have in our a cause though ther to helphouse,” people,” Kaohsiung City,The Tai-children meet once a lywood films and prepare food. are about 30-35 to do something with all this food.’” to which thewho saintare grammar Cutchin. have multiple programs, AUGUST 25,“We 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com wan, in this undated Mother month – in two groups, depending onTeresa school-aged and around eight to 10 So she began freezing her leftovers doctor’s offices across the and weand work together to help devoted much of her their Catholic age – eachsocial group cooking about from the high-school level. asked parishioners to those do the who same, photo. teaching considers may need the help.” 100 meals that are then frozen. “It’s been such a success,” DeBar at first distributing the food to memministry. country – “If you haven’t got healthTesta care to beshe a originally started the Thebers “Suit Up”parish Boutique was in created said tolo said. “Theup kids of the who were need. To catch on love this it because th basic human right. your health, you haven’t got program in St. Rose Grammar School to provide business and casual attire are learning how to cook, and they fe Then, three years ago, parishioner Italia CNS photo/courtesy series, go to Trentonas well as coordinating shoes, handbags anything.” Catholic San Francisco Monitor.com and click and belts for those who may be in need The importance of an individual’s on NEWS > ISSUES. of clothing for an upcoming job inter-

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Help available for those needing wor Seeking to improve health of body and soul Health Care Hunger

Access to health care a basic human right, Church teaches

TJoblessness

health in the context of Catholic social teaching can’t be summed up any more pithily than that. “One’s ability to live a fully human life and to reflect the unique dignity that belongs to each person is greatly affected by health,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in its November 1981 pastoral letter, “Health and Health Care.” “For the Church, health and the healing apostolate take on special significance because … the Church considers health care to be a basic human right which flows from the sanctity of human life.” Providing health care services has been a part of the Church’s ministry since the early days of the first Christian community, which took inspiration from Jesus’ healing acts. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick traces its history to its institution – “by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament

Health Care

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Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

A SUMMER Furniture ministry seeking a helping han SERIES on

Brick relief center a saving grace for Sandy victims

POVERTY

view. It’s just one service offered by the Forked River, who is currently enrolled development to achieve self-s apostle,” states the Catechism of the Maurogiven way to larger faith-based hospitals Story by Continued Jennifer St. Francis Community Center, which inadults GED and (General Education DevelopThe office also from • 15 300 children. “There is Lakewood hunger. There is food Catholic Church. health systems. Word goes outand over the Internet has offices in Long Beach Township and Associate Editor heart-breaking,” Winters said. ment)“It’s classes. “The programs here are insecurity. know classesParishioners and resources inthat, life a Acts of healing and carewhen for the ill One example of the trend toward “We helpand everyone every weekcareer they bring in dryASSOR goods, Lakewood. a special delivery arrives, alerting excellent help.”and anyone, and skills, counseling, resu were a hallmark of the first those Christians, consolidation in the Diocese is St. Franregistered with thewhich relief center doing this, we come to see that the face canned goods, which are brought ove ITEMS The office in Lakewood, Classes and services are provided by and money management. ix years when Marand throughout the centuries, theby.ago, cisalerts Medical Trenton, which was throughout the health care industry for stop Recently, wentCenter, of Ocean hunger is intergenerational,” said to the pantry,” Winters said. Volunte housesto the boutique, is also home toout for the County Basic Skills ConGina Opauski, coordinat tomatoes and fish, she noted. “I the was Sisters in Church has provided places of care and founded by of St. Francis of of Visitation providing services that traditionally Winters, a member Parish. Butare with the economy stagnant Linda Ca garet More decided to the Education Support Services, which sortium through a grant from the NJ Strive Towards Success Progr heaven. Can you imagine, garlic, tomaPeople such and money drying up, and thereKat is comfort for the ill, orphaned, widowed, Philadelphia in 1874. It is “The nowneed parthas of not subsided. unprofitable, asgrant uncompensated provides clients with Adult Basic Skills Department of Labor & Workforce those enrolled in the life and start repurposing furnitoes and fish.” have sustained companies in sight, she said, addingAlexand that at poor or otherwise in need, many times Michigan-based Trinity Health, one job of loss –care for theareun- orend under-insured, hos(ABE), NJ High Diploma Prep Development. Eligible participants who classes not only from t TaylorSchool represents only one of 403 not into employing at full-time time, thecoorVCR “buy” is geared towa work Au through institutions sponsored by seeing relithe largest multi-institutional Catho- people pice and geriatricpresent services, and ture shefamilies was in theas greater Brick-Toms classes and English adiscarded Second Lan- River have a need will receive individualized tique, but also run theatstore, the Se jobs,” said Winters, noting that counsel- self-sustainability. gious congregations. lic health delivery systems in the dinating with social services to build a Seconds area who stilltrash “need go backcare home” ors from Catholic Emergency Winters ongoing guagecurbs (ESL) classes at noto cost. along for pickup, education and jobCharities readiness plans. Two them to appreciates employ thethecustome Some of the first social services in the nation. Another, also part of Trinity culture of health. after Superstorm Sandy,since said Chrisdécor Services, members of the St. Vincent de parish support and assistance “I’ve been unemployed August programs have been developed to assist skills they have learnedreceive in than hadtieby no her idea United States wereshe provided a clue congreHealth, is the LourdesPaul Health System, Catholic Charities nationwide, director of the nonprofit furnitur Society and scores of volunteers over the years from numerous agenc of 2015. I Winters, fell on hard times. I’ve been Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) clients nity Work Experience Progra community outreach program that was gation of Ursulinewould Sisters from France, which includes the Lourdes Medical with Catholic ingratitu Belma are at the ready to help. which often partners and programs. a lot of grow into aOlga mission of through a lot,” said Arabitg of and provide education and job/career “TheyThere’s learn how to meas formed after the storm. Batkowsk “But, let’s faceinit, food stamps to buildshe said, for thenetwork donations that conwho established a school and charitable Center of Burlington County hospital hospitals a supportive fortosuits, coordinate accessor love that Catholic would one day need In a recent interview, she noted aren’t enough. … It wasn’t like this two tinue pour in. care in New Orleans in 1727. Willingboro. This system was founded around patients at risk, reports providthey learn God customer s that scoresof of others seek or three yearsofago. were do- than 406,000 “Webehavioral thank for the service volunteer hospitals became a important centers inwho 1950 byhelp the with Franciscan Sisters Al-Thingsing more and little help itself. food and other aid at VRC are beset by to speak todonations people,” that she help said.u able then. Now, (in some social-service for PIC and for legany, N.Y. health care through the middle 20th drivenwith mental health services in 2015. It also “We’re anoverwhelmed economy to apeople large extent byde Paul conference in St. Rose Parish agencies) you have to have proof that sustain this center,” shestudents said. “Wene wo “A lot of our Today, CARA counts 541 Catholic century – Georgetown University’s Center specializes in providing care andthe referwages, part-time high medical wanting tolow donate and peoplejobs, requestyou are homeless. They are looking for together keep open. We gotState’s involved and was overflowing with Those wanting todoors help the dress,to so we give them … Sele nice • Continued from 18 minimum wage to $15 an hour by hospitals, providing careanateviction nearly 88condition. mil-she said. for Applied Research in the costs Apostolate rals tosparked pregnant at-riskfor mothers, and soaring prices. letter,” “It’s so very and thank partners, for Caths ingOctober, donations,” said More,housing St. Rose Pardonations in good This to God have forour a ministry job interview,” Seconds expand 2014. This situation is “not inevita2021, almost double the current minimum of lion hospital visits in 2015. According to estimates there were about 800 Catholic providing pregnancy support services to Bay. If w Giberson’s figures indicate VCR difficult for so many people. When you Charities and Save Barnegat ish,ble…[it] Belmar,isparishioner and director of an idea to expand the ministry into a “We show them to acces the effect food of a disposable culture $8.38 hour.roughly diocesan-wide can how call supplements for to 1,000 the800 Catholic Health Association, hospitals nationwide in theSeconds, 1960s. more than 128,768. havean a food pantry, you get to know the didn’t have each other. We Margaret wouldn’t Selective ahuman high-quality home two-fold operation – to continue to help and to look professional. It g that considers the being in himself as In November 2013, voters approved a people each monthone – among them, 500 in the at (732) 894-9393. stories.” make it on our own.” in sixnew patients As the healthdécor care profession has store Buthome while providing direct healthThose needin and furniture that sells theconstitutional needyUnited attain States free furniture and confidence.” a consumer good, which can be used and then amendment that raised the receives care from a Catholic hospital. become more specialized, clinics run care services is the workcan of areach highlyout to their loca

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Advocacy, service focus on jobs


4 SPECIAL REPORT

Addressing the dehumanization of poor, desensitization of culture By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service ROME • The key to ending extreme poverty and hunger is to recognize that behind every statistic, there is the face of a person who is suffering, Pope Francis said. “Poverty has a face! It has the face of a child; it has the face of a family; it has the face of people, young and old. It has the face of widespread unemployment and lack of opportunity. It has the face of forced migrations, and of empty or destroyed homes,” the Pope said June 13 during a visit to the Rome headquarters of the U.N.’s World Food Program. Advanced communications, while informing the world of the tragedy of poverty, has also resulted in a desensitized culture that has turned the real suffering of people into statistics, the Pope told WFP executive board members. The world is gradually “growing immune to other

Conference chair: New plan on poverty requires bipartisan effort By Catholic News Service WASHINGTON • A new plan to fight poverty announced by House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and House Republicans June 7 is a good start, but it needs to be something everyone in Congress works on together, said Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski. “This plan concerning poverty ought to be a catalyst for strong bipartisan dialogue,” said the archbishop, who is chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “My hope is that members of all parties will seize this moment to begin to work more collaboratively on these issues.” The poverty-fighting plan was announced during a press conference in front of a Southeast Washington, D.C. drug rehab facility, in conjunction with the release of a 35-page report by the Republican Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity and Upward Mobility. The plan repackages GOP proposals, according to press reports and documents on Ryan’s website. Proposals include reforming how services are provided to children under the Supplemental Security Income Program, as well as the Pell Grant program that provides financial assistance to college students. “We think the way to fight poverty is to fight its symptoms,” Ryan said during a news conference. “We need to get to the root causes of poverty to fight the cycle of poverty.” The plan includes a call for expanded work requirements for those receiving federal welfare, food or housing assistance, as well as the consolidation of some federal programs. It also calls for increased public-private partnerships and expanded school choice options, according to press reports. In a June 10 statement, Archbishop Wenski said that “more input and dialogue will be essential moving forward,” adding that the Catholic Church can contribute to this discussion from its varied ministries working with the government to help the nation’s poor. He also said the Catholic Church has a rich tradition addressing labor, human dignity and the preferential option for the poor. On a practical level, he said, leaders in Congress need to account for the current state of job training and the availability of good paying jobs in the country. They also should address the root causes of poverty and the need for nutritious food for people of all ages.

The world is “growing immune to other people’s tragedies.” people’s tragedies, seeing them as something ‘natural,’” he said. “Without faces and stories, human lives become statistics and we run the risk of bureaucratizing the sufferings of others.” According to the WFP website, the organization provides food assistance to an estimated 80 million people in 82 countries. Arriving at the headquarters, the Pope greeted employees and took a moment to pray in front of a plaque commemorating those who died in the line of duty. The Pope praised their sacrifice, saying that far from a “cold and anonymous institution,” the WFP is “an effective means for the international community” to carry out the work of feeding the hungry. “The credibility of an institution is not based on its declarations, but on the work accomplished by its members,” he said. While noting the potential of an “interconnected world marked by instant communications,” the Pope also lamented a situation in which extreme poverty is considered “natural” and the tragic circumstances of

FACE OF SUFFERING • A mother holds her child while a demolition team tears down houses during an eviction of illegal settlers in Manila, Philippines. Extreme poverty will continue unless the world recognizes that there are human persons behind the statistics, Pope Francis said in a recent address. CNS photo/Ritchie B. Tongo, EP

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

Mother Teresa

A SUMMER SERIES on

CNS photo/Hedayatullah Amid, EPA

THE MONITOR • JUNE 30, 2016

POVERTY

As the Church joyfully anticipates the September canonization of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, The Monitor begins a summerlong series that will examine the challenge of combatting poverty in our time, a cause to which the future saint devoted much of her ministry. In our next issue, this series will begin to shed light on the many ways that local agencies, communities and people within the Diocese of Trenton are giving witness to the Holy Year of Mercy as they work to help those in the greatest need.

the hungry “turn into one more news story.” If the people behind the statistics are not recognized, he said, the world “can yield to the temptation of discussing ‘hunger,’ ‘food,’ and ‘violence’ as concepts without reference to the real people knocking on our doors today.” “We are bombarded by so many images that we see pain, but do not touch it; we hear weeping, but do not comfort it; we see thirst but do not satisfy it,” he said. “While the headlines may change, the pain, the hunger and the thirst remain; they do not go away.” Pope Francis told the members of the WFP executive board that the first step in fighting poverty is to “de-naturalize” it and shed light on the causes of poverty due to “a selfish and wrong distribution of resources” as well as the abuse and exploitation of the earth. “We have made the fruits of the earth – a gift to humanity – commodities for a few, thus engendering exclusion. The consumerism in which our societies are immersed has made us grow accustomed to excess and to the daily waste of food,” he said. The Pope also brought attention to the resources and priority given to the production and purchase of weapons at the same time that efforts to distribute food supplies to hungry people suffering in war zones are used as a “weapon of war.” “We thus find ourselves faced with a strange paradox. Whereas forms of aid and development projects are obstructed by complicated and incomprehensible political decisions, skewed ideological visions and impenetrable customs barriers, weaponry is not,” he said. See Fighting • 7

Lawmakers urged to help needy families Patrick R. Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, testified June 23 before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee in support of two bills that would improve the lives of the state’s most vulnerable citizens. The bills – S1829 and S1854– are geared toward helping those enrolled in Work First New Jersey, a state-funded program that helps needy families become self-sufficient. Under S1829, the benefit levels to recipients of the New Jersey Work First-Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, would increase 10 percent “each of the next four fiscal years, and in years thereafter, the benefits would be adjusted according to the cost of living adjustment applied under the federal Social Security program.” Currently, a family of three receives the maxi-

mum benefit of $424 per month, the same as it was 29 years ago. In his statement on behalf of the Catholic bishops of New Jersey, Brannigan, who also serves as a deacon in St. James Parish, Pennington, testified, “Simply stated, $424 a month does not provide families the same ability to purchase food, clothing and housing as it did three decades ago.” Bill S1854 calls for repealing the family caps that currently prevent Work First New Jersey grants from increasing as the result of the birth of a child. In his testimony, Deacon Brannigan noted that “these caps deny children help in cases where the parents embraced the precious gift of life.” On June 27, both the General Assembly and Senate passed the legislation, which now heads to Gov. Chris Christie for consideration.


TOP NEWS 7

JUNE 30, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com

Bill to fund security measures in nonpublic schools goes to Governor By Jennifer Mauro, Associate Editor

SAFE KEEPING •

The Secure Schools for All Children Act, designed to protect children who attend nonpublic schools, passed the State Legislature on June 27. Stock photo

L

Praising the World Food Program’s dedication to eradicating world hunger, the Pope affirmed the Church’s commitment and cooperation to defend and protect the dignity of those who suffer. “’I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.’ These words embody one of the axioms of Christianity. Independent of creeds and convictions, they can serve as a golden rule for our peoples,” the Pope said. After delivering his address, Pope Francis greeted WFP employees, telling them he preferred to speak off the cuff rather than reading his prepared remarks because “speeches are a bit boring.” Thanking the employees for their “hidden work behind the scenes” in eradicating poverty, the Pope called on them to never forget the lives of the program’s employees who died while serving others. “They were able to do that not only because of the courage they had (and) the faith they had in their work, but also because they were sustained by your work. Thank you so much and I ask you to pray for me so that I, too, can be able to do something against hunger,” he said.

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to central New life and grace st with Spirit brought ted Penteco celebra he fire of the Newspaper of Trenton C.M. the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, N.J. ell, of the Diocese M. O’Conn Jersey as Bishop David Adventure, gatherings. TrentonMonitor.com • JUNE 2, 2016 Flags Great a pair of large and state at Six fellowship across the full of faith, youth from st offered a day joined 2,500 a Penteco Mass that ted Mass at a rally and celebra for ell above, O’Conn own. s to Middlet before, Bishop 800 believer fun. The day ge P20 d more than covera attracte that rally ost rally, left, P3; Pentec coverage Six Flags P4-5 ... JUNE 4 E PRIEST S CAMPUS TO BECOM HEART OF campus MAY 21; SIX • Princeton s ministry celebrate of new dedication chapel • P22

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Vol. 63 • No. 9 • 75 cents COMMEMORATING CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD • The Solemnity of Corpus Christi observed in parishes around Diocese with Masses, processions. P4

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remands HHS 4 • Supreme Court supports $15 meeting June in Brick • NJCC Paul regional ip • St. Vincent de presentation • Amoris Laetitiasoftball wins championsh support for caregivers Laudato Si' of fancy • SJV Retreat provides of Friends • Parish plans • RBC project is no flight Circle 'fix-it' ALSO INSIDE: parishioners • Catholic Charities' mandate case • St. Charles Borromeo helps minimum wage John Batkowski

'Live in his love; lay down your life'

A

milestone in the priestly journeys of four men was reached May

21 when they were ordained transitional deacons for the Diocese by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. Coming to the Diocese

with various backgrounds and life experiences, newly ordained Deacons Roy Aris B. Ballacillo, Thomas John Barry, Jr., Michael A. Gentile, Jr., and

Michael Kennedy will spend the next year serving as deacons in their assigned parishes and completing their seminary studies. In photo above, as the congregation sang the Litany of Saints, the four men lie prostrate on the floor as a sign of their total de-

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pendence on God. At far left, Bishop O’Connell imposes hands on the head of Deacon Gentile, ordaining him to the Order of Deacon. At left, the deacon candidates, from left, Ballacillo, Barry, Gentile and Kennedy, kneel in the sanctuary before Bishop O’Connell at the start of the Ordination Rite. See centerspread for full coverage.

ISIS RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION, GENOCIDE ... P9

MILESTONE IN MINISTRY • Bishop invests first clergy of new Red Bank Oratory-in-Formation • P3 Craig Pittelli photo

FINDING FRIENDS • St. Joseph School, Toms River, installs "buddy benches" to encourage inclusivity • P32 Mary Stadnyk photo

ALSO INSIDE: Bishop shares encouragement, advice with GCU graduates • Santacruzan celebrated in Hamilton • Bishop Ahr Endowment Fund award recipients announced • Congressman advocates for human rights in Vietnam • New pastor installed in Matawan • Sue Dowiak remembered, honored • ASRCS students paint the town pink, for a cause • Irish bring home second tennis title

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c schools ts from Catholi in a nds of studen participate year, thousa April 29 to g consecutive communities or the second Do it All,” involvin out into their ic Schools photo Diocese went John Batkowski sed how “Cathol across the . The day showca Day of Service ts of all and studen 30 schools uth more than Mercer, Monmo ton, Burling army of ages from Among the Counties. c and Ocean Trenton Catholi of ts studen residents of workers were who visited Hamilton, photo, while Academy, top , istin Square , top nearby McCorr Long Branch School, West p St. Jerome mental clean-u ed an environ St. James right, organiz Students in Earth Day. in honor of collected more Bank, at right, a letter School, Red organized books and ls. • P12 than 1,000 ASSIGN MENTS in local hospita NEW PRIEST for children campaign ANNOU NCES ge. O'CONN ELL METUCHEN NEW covera ES • P4 … BISHOP WELCOM See P6 for LY UPDATE • Bishop James Courtesy photo

Continued from • 4

Whether planning a

Fiscal Year 2016 budget allocated $3.75 million for nonpublic security funding, or roughly $25 per pupil. The legislation currently before the Governor increases that amount

photo

Fighting poverty necessary

a responsibility to provide them that assurance.” The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget eliminated any mention of security aid for nonpublic schools. The

Rose O'Connor

Introduced earlier this year, the Secure Schools for All Children Act establishes a “state aid program for the provision of security services, equipment, or technology to help ensure a safe and secure school environment for students attending nonpublic schools.” “Schools are taking action to provide protection and peace of mind for staff and students, and this legislation will help fund necessary precautions, equipment and technology,” Assemblyman Sean T. Kean (R-Monmouth) said in a news release. “The state has a responsibility to defend all schools and safeguard our children.” “All students should know they’re in the most secure school environment we can provide,” Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington) said in a news release. “We have

Ken Falls photo

egislation to protect children who attend nonpublic schools — such as Catholic institutions — was expected to advance to the desk of Governor Chris Christie after passing the State Legislature June 27.

to a maximum of $75 per pupil, beginning in the 2016-17 school year. Changes to that amount will be determined by the consumer price index each school year. According to the legislation (A2689 and S754), the superintendent of schools of each school district in which a nonpublic school is located will consult annually with the chief school administrator of the nonpublic school on the security measures needed and make sure that they fall within the limits of available funding. If the two are unable to agree, the executive county superintendent will make the final decision. The bill was approved 78-0 by the Assembly and 39-0 by the Senate.

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Catholics seek to provide daily bread at home, abroad Story by Patrick T. Brown, Correspondent

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Nation of Plenty, Nation of Want But the problem of individuals and families living in hunger isn’t limited to developing nations. In 2015, 45.7 million individuals nationwide participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a federal program aimed at ensuring individuals and families

Mother Teresa

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n the Our Father, we petition God the Father for the ability to provide for ourselves and our families. In the United States, many have the stability to not have to worry about where the day’s meals will come from. But for one in seven Americans, and millions more across the globe, daily bread is far from a certainty. The Catholic Church has long seen providing food to the needy and vulnerable as one of its most important functions. As chronicled in the Acts of the Apostles, the early Church instituted the role of Deacon to ensure that the community’s widows and needy would receive a fair share of the daily distribution. During the first year of his pontificate, Pope Francis encouraged all people of the world to “rediscover the value” of solidarity in combatting hunger across the globe. “Something has to change in ourselves, in our mentality, in our societies,” he wrote. The Holy Father has often criticized the “globalization of indifference” that allows people in societies where hunger is not an easily evident problem to ignore the 795 million people, as estimated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, who suffer from chronic undernourishment. In some regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa or southeast Asia, the percentage of the population living in hunger can reach as high as one in every four persons.

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

A SUMMER SERIES on

CNS photo/Hedayatullah Amid, EPA

SPECIAL REPORT 15

JULY 14, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com

POVERTY

As the Church joyfully anticipates the September canonization of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, The Monitor begins a summerlong series that will examine the challenge of combatting poverty in our time, a cause to which the future saint devoted much of her ministry. This issue addresses hunger in the Diocese – who is hurting and what is being done to help those in need. In future reports, The Monitor will also report on employment, homelessness and health care.

YOUTH IN NEED • Children are seen in 2012 eating food provided by Mary’s Meals, a global child hunger charity, at a center in Malawi. Forty percent of the population in Malawi needs food aid, but the problem of individuals and families living in hunger isn’t limited to developing nations. In 2015, 45.7 million individuals across the United States participated in the federal food stamp program. CNS photo/Chris Watt

HUNGER

don’t go hungry. In New Jersey, about 10 percent of the population, or 906,000 residents, received at least some funds through SNAP, according to the numbers from the United States Department of Agriculture, which administers the program. According to statistics compiled by Feeding America, a national network of food banks and pantries, nearly 12 percent of New Jersey residents

are counted as “food insecure.” The term is defined by the USDA to encompass households with economic or social conditions that lead to “limited or uncertain access to adequate food,” which can result in going hungry on a semi-regular basis. Approximately one in seven households nationwide is counted as experiencing food insecurity by the USDA. Attempting to ensure that food-insecure families don’t go hungry is one of the primary objectives of Catholic Charities, which counts more than 3,670 programs dedicated to answering the needs of the hungry in its nationwide network. The services it provides range from simple parishbased food pantries to prepared meals in congregate dining facilities, but as Dominican Sister Donna Markham, Catholic Charities USA President, told a gathering in Omaha, Neb., last September, needing food is often an indicator of wider needs. See Catholics • 18

Current economy sends those in need to Brick relief center By Lois Rogers, Correspondent

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DELIVERING FOOD, HOPE • Doris Teijeiro, of the Wawa convenience store chain, unpacks supplies July 8 at the Visitation Relief Center, Brick. The company donates to the center on a weekly basis. John Blaine photo

ver three years in operation, those who stock the shelves in the Visitation Relief Center’s food pantry on Mantoloking Road, Brick, have learned to expect miracles. That was VCR pantry coordinator Travis Giberson’s take as an abundant delivery from the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties materialized, enabling volunteers to fill up shelves that had been running nearly on empty. “We were very low on food for three weeks,” said Giberson, who arrived by way of the Ocean County PIC Youth Employment Opportunity Program when his own family was going through a rough patch. Visitation Relief Center is located in a former garden center just steps away from the Visitation Parish campus, a mainstay of the effort when it first got underway after Superstorm Sandy. It continues to be a source of support and encouragement. “The place is great,” Giberson said, as he helped fill shelves with donated pet food. “We also make a point of maintaining a shelf of gluten-free food,” he said. “There is an emphasis on providing fresh food for diabetics. The garden is a boon for people with health problems. I’ve never met people like this before. They think of everything.” He said the food bank staples will supplement pallets of recently arrived fresh produce – “heaps of

tomatoes and onions” – from area markets. An added bonus is the food bank’s recent harvest of 1,000 garlic bulbs pulled from its own organic garden. The garlic had been mellowing in a drying shed on the campus and was just about ready to add to the mix, he noted. All this was good news to Carol Taylor, who has focused on “creating” food from the staples she has received at the food bank since her home was swept away by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. She prides herself on being able to stretch the small amount of food she receives from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP food stamps), weaving it with staples from the food bank each month into a blend of meals that meet her dietary needs. “I could teach a class in nutrition,” said Taylor, who is disabled and lives on a limited income. “I just don’t have the money for a lot of food so I learned how to create out of nothingness.” She bakes her own bread, makes her own yogurt from “a little dried milk and four ounces of plain, 50cent yogurt. It’s like the loaves and fishes,” Taylor said. “With just that mix, you can make eight containers of yogurt.” Like other guests of the food bank, she has nothing but praise for the effort. “Everyone there is so friendly, so helpful,” she said, adding that emphasis is placed on getting as much fresh food to those who come in the door as possible. See Brick • 17


16 SPECIAL REPORT

THE MONITOR • JULY 14, 2016

The Face of Poverty

Summer months bring drop in food bank donations as need spikes for children, families By Jennifer Mauro Associate Editor

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Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

Mother Teresa

A SUMMER SERIES on

CNS photo/Hedayatullah Amid, EPA

or Marie Gladney, executive director of Mount Carmel Guild, Trenton, overcoming the stigma associated with people living in poverty is a challenge. “The general public thinks that the poor are the people sleeping under bridges or tucked behind River Line (light rail) trains. That’s not the case at all,” she said. “They could be your neighbor, family member or sitting next to you in the pew at church.” To that affect, there are numerous organizations in the Diocese of Trenton helping to combat poverty, of which directors see falling into three categories – situational, long term and generational. Recalling an example about situational poverty, Gladney remembered one man in his mid-50s who had lost his job as a chemist after 32 years. “He came every month for two years to see us for food,” she said, adding that he used his unemployment benefits to pay his mortgage, leaving little money for supplies or utilities. “This was a brilliant man, and every month, he was in line to get food from us.” After he eventually found a job in upstate New York, he wrote a thank-you

POVERTY

note to Mount Carmel Guild staff. This example just goes to show that “poverty looks like all of us,” Gladney said. With the poverty rate standing at 11.1 percent in the state, and more than 45 percent of poor children living in homes with a food shortage nationally, the Diocese of Trenton has dozens upon dozens of programs in every corner of each county it covers to help those in need.

Poverty rates within the Diocese of Trenton: Burlington: 7.1%, up from 4.6% a decade ago Mercer: 11.9%, up from 8.5% a decade ago Monmouth: 8.2%, up from 6% a decade ago Ocean: 12%, up from 7.4 % decade ago

Out of School Translates Into Food Shortages for Families CYO Mercer County is a large provider of subsidized child care – offering preschool, after-school and summer camp programs on a sliding fee scale at several sites. For example, at the Bromley Neighborhood Center, Hamilton Township, services, programs and activities are provided to low- and moderate-income residents, including a free summer lunch program for children who live near the center. Thomas Mladenetz, executive director of the CYO, said this program helps families that struggle to feed their children in the summer months – when schools are closed and there are no free or reduced meals. Only in its second year, the summer lunch program serves about 20-25 children a day and offers a weekend food pack on Fridays. In addition, those in the CYO program qualify for the Child Care Food Program, which provides free breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack – feeding an average 750 children each day throughout the year at its multiple sites in Trenton and Ewing as well as through its summer and after-school programs. The program is administered by the

Source: U.S. Census

State Street, Hamilton, N.J., 08609. Cash donations are also gladly accepted.

The Cupboards are Bare

HUNGER EMPTY SHELVES • Supplies are dangerously low in the Community Services Mercer food bank, Trenton, run by Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton. Faced with empty shelves, organizers had to purchase food for the pantry the week of July 11, and they are worried they may not have enough food in the coming weeks. Photo courtesy of Richard Ferreira

New Jersey Department of Agriculture. The CYO also operates a food pantry at the Bromley Center that serves about 50-60 families per month. The panty is open Tuesdays and Thursdays, and though currently adequately stocked, is always open to donations as there are 130 families eligible to receive food. To help the CYO/Bromley Neighborhood Center food pantry, call 609-5878100 or drop off donations at 1801 East

TANF program vetoed in Christie budget By Jennifer Mauro Associate Editor

T

he state’s most vulnerable residents have been dealt a blow as Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have increased funding for those receiving welfare assistance. As it stood, the legislation would have increased funding for the state’s Work First program, or TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The program is geared to help families become self-sufficient. It also offers job search and family counseling resources. Currently, a family of three receives the maximum benefit of $424 per month, the same as it was 29 years ago. Additional legislation would have repealed the family caps that currently

prevent Work First grants from increasing due to the birth of a child. Christie vetoed both bills June 30. Marie Gladney, executive director of Mount Carmel Guild – an innercity Trenton, diocesan ministry that provides assistance to the poor – said it was disappointing because families that receive TANF are working to improve themselves. “It is a sad commentary when programs that help the most vulnerable populations are used as bargaining chips to negotiate a budget,” she said. “A blow to the program like this sets us backward in alleviating poverty.” In addition, she said she expects other state and nonprofit agencies to see an influx of people needing help with funding to more welfare programs being cut.

“It leaves all other agencies that do help wringing their hands,” Gladney said. According to most recent U.S. Census data, the poverty rate in New Jersey has grown from 8.7 percent to 11.1 percent in the last decade. Nearly 1 million people in the state live in poverty. Patrick R. Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, had testified June 23 before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee in support of the two bills, saying, “Simply stated, $424 a month does not provide families the same ability to purchase food, clothing and housing as it did three decades ago.” In reference to family caps, he testified that “these caps deny children help in cases where the parents embraced the precious gift of life.”

Food pantries are just one of the many services offered by Catholic Charities in all four counties of the Diocese. Under the title “essential services,” much of the assistance the Community Services program provides involves both food and housing. Take, for example, the Catholic Charities’ Community Food Bank in Delanco, where the outlook isn’t too bright. The pantry, which feeds about 600 households a month, is hurting for staples such as cereal, peanut butter and pasta sauce. Though the pantry gets supplements from the South Jersey Food Bank, it is still awaiting allocated FEMA funds that have yet to arrive. Plus, since donations are only trickling in, volunteers have been reaching out to local parishes to help stock their shelves. “It’s been an historical event for years that donations drop in May, June and July,” said Barbara Clancey, Burlington Community Services’ program director. “We’ve had a summer campaign for years, ‘Hunger doesn’t go on vacation.’”

“Hunger doesn’t go on vacation.” Nowhere is this being felt more than perhaps at the Community Services Mercer food bank in Trenton, where supplies are dangerously low. Faced with empty shelves, organizers had to purchase food for the pantry the week of July 11, and they are worried they may not have enough food in the coming weeks. “If I don’t get an influx of food soon, I may have to start capping off the number of people (served) to the first 25 families,” said Richard Ferreira, program director of Community Services Mercer. The food bank is open Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays and can serve anywhere from 30 to 35 individuals and See Needs • 18


SPECIAL REPORT 17

JULY 14, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com

Youth cook meals at St. Rose to help feed Belmar’s hungry Story by Jennifer Mauro, Associate Editor

How You Can Help:

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The St. Vincent de Paul Society currently has 51 conferences in the Diocese of Trenton. Check your church bulletin to see how you can help, or visit the Diocese’s Office of Catholic Social Services online at http://bit.ly/CSS_ProgramGuide to see the list of parishes that offer St. Vincent de Paul Society services.

t. Rose of Lima Parish, Belmar, is no stranger to the face of poverty. In fact, it sees those faces almost every day in its pews and in the surrounding community. Enter the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society conference and its youth program, Club Faith, which distributes at least 200 frozen meals a month to those in need. “We have a lot of senior boarding houses in Belmar, and a large number are retired older people on Social Security or disability who don’t have kitchens,” said Carol DeBartolo, conference president. “The economy is such that food stamp amounts just don’t cut it,” she said. “Our biggest distribution times are at the end of the month, when money runs out. The rents here are way more than the $750 or so they get a month. They just can’t make it,” she said. Emphasizing why the parish’s frozen food program is needed, DeBartolo said it feeds about 30 individuals a month and three to four families, including a woman and her two young children. She said she started a frozen meal program at the parish years ago when her daughter left for college. “I was still cooking like it was all of us in the house,” she said, “and I thought, ‘I have to do something with all this food.’” So she began freezing her leftovers and asked parishioners to do the same, at first distributing the food to members of the parish who were in need. Then, three years ago, parishioner Italia

like they’re doing something for the community.” And those who come for the food are grateful for the homemade meals, she said, adding that many tell the group which meals were their favorite and ask for the kids to make them again. “The love that goes into the cooking, I think they feel it,” she said. Italia Testa’s daughter, Susanna, 12, a student in St. Rose Grammar School, Belmar, says being part of Club Faith makes her feel like she’s making a difference in her community. “I feel grateful knowing that I have food on the table every day in contrast to some people,” she said. “People do not deserve to eat just twice a week, and I feel happy knowing I’m making a difference in these people’s lives.” “Club Faith is important because eating is a basic human necessity, and some people are not able to supply food for themselves and their families,” she said. “This program gives them a chance to do that.” Michael Fluhr, 13, also a student in the school, said being part of Club Faith makes him a better Catholic. “I come back each year to help those in need and See Youth • 18

HUNGER FAITHFUL SERVERS • Children from Club Faith in St. Rose of Lima Parish, Belmar, package homemade meals to be distributed to those in need. Photo courtesy of Italia Testa

“...we are called to help the sick, the poor...” Testa coordinated Club Faith – a group of grammar- and high-school children who Testa teaches how to cook and prepare food. The children meet once a month – in two groups, depending on their age – each group cooking about 100 meals that are then frozen. Testa said she originally started the program in St. Rose Grammar School

but moved it to the parish because children from public schools wanted to help out, too. “As a Secular Franciscan, we are called to help the sick, the poor, the marginalized,” she said. So together with her sister, also a Secular, they thought, “Why don’t we teach these kids what they’re called to do – turn faith into action.” Testa said the number of children who help out fluctuates, though there are about 30-35 who are grammar school-aged and around eight to 10 from the high-school level. “It’s been such a success,” DeBartolo said. “The kids love it because they are learning how to cook, and they feel

Brick relief center a saving grace for Sandy victims, less fortunate Continued from • 15

Word goes out over the Internet when a special delivery arrives, alerting those registered with the relief center to stop by. Recently, alerts went out for tomatoes and fish, she noted. “I was in heaven. Can you imagine, garlic, tomatoes and fish.” Taylor represents only one of 403 families in the greater Brick-Toms River area who still “need to go back home” after Superstorm Sandy, said Christie Winters, director of the nonprofit community outreach program that was formed after the storm. In a recent interview, she noted that scores of others who seek help with food and other aid at VRC are beset by an economy driven to a large extent by low wages, part-time jobs, high medical costs and soaring housing prices. Giberson’s figures indicate VCR supplements food for 800 to 1,000 people each month – among them, 500

adults and 300 children. “It’s heart-breaking,” Winters said. “We help everyone and anyone, and doing this, we come to see that the face of hunger is intergenerational,” said Winters, a member of Visitation Parish. “The need has not subsided. People have sustained job loss – companies are not into employing people at full-time jobs,” said Winters, noting that counselors from Catholic Charities Emergency Services, members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and scores of volunteers are at the ready to help. “But, let’s face it, food stamps aren’t enough. … It wasn’t like this two or three years ago. Things were doable then. Now, (in some social-service agencies) you have to have proof that you are homeless. They are looking for an eviction letter,” she said. “It’s so very difficult for so many people. When you have a food pantry, you get to know the stories.”

“There is hunger. There is food insecurity. Parishioners know that, and every week they bring in dry goods, canned goods, which are brought over to the pantry,” Winters said. But with the economy stagnant and grant money drying up, there is no end in sight, she said, adding that at the present time, the VCR is geared toward self-sustainability. Winters appreciates the ongoing parish support and assistance received over the years from numerous agencies and programs. There’s a lot of gratitude, she said, for the donations that continue to pour in. “We thank God for the volunteers, for PIC and for donations that help us sustain this center,” she said. “We work together to keep the doors open. We thank God for our partners, for Catholic Charities and Save Barnegat Bay. If we didn’t have each other. We wouldn’t make it on our own.”

HELPING HAND • Volunteer Amy Fairchild shows Edger Smith where to drop off donations July 8 at the Visitation Relief Center, Brick. John Blaine photo


18

THE MONITOR • JULY 14, 2016

Needs spike, supplies wane in summer Continued from • 16

families a day. He said the pantry has previously had to cap off the number of those served, remembering how last time the cupboards were bare, people started lining up at 7 a.m. to make the cut. Lisa Thibault, Catholic Charities communications manager, said that in 2015 alone, 41,683 people, including 19,275 children, received emergency food; 200 bags were distributed to ensure that children received nutritious breakfast and lunch meals when school was closed for the summer, and 423 people were assisted with Food Stamp

applications, 317 applications of which were successful. “In this economy, there are many part-time jobs but not many full-time ones,” Ferreira said. “People are pressed to sustain their families and themselves.” To help the Community Services Mercer food bank, call (609) 394-8847 or drop off donations to 132 N. Warren St., Trenton N.J., 08608. To help the Community Food Bank, call 856-764-6945 or drop off donations at 801 Burlington Ave., Delanco, N.J. 08070.

Youth pitch in to fight hunger Continued from • 17

learn about my faith, along with having some fun,” said Fluhr, who has been involved in the group for three years. St. Vincent de Paul member Joann Fossani is one of the first people to greet those who come in for the meals. Sitting behind her desk at the distribution center, she greets people and helps organize the food-distribution process. She says some sit with her at her desk to talk. “A lot of the people – anyone, really – just want to be listened to,” she said. Fossani said she finds her role in the process rewarding, not just because she’s help-

ing people get access to food, but also because since it comes through a parish, she thinks it helps people build a trust in God. “You’re helping bring people back to the Church or get people interested in it,” she said, adding that one man who comes for food has now started going to church every Sunday. “It’s awesome,” she said. Fossani stressed that the frozen food program in St. Rose Parish is something every town could use. “Just ask your parish if they are willing to bring in leftovers or to cook,” she said. “It can really teach kids that they are able to help other people.”

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‘Never Enough Funding’ Mount Carmel Guild operates a food pantry within its Emergency Assistance Program in Trenton that’s open five days a week. In 2015, it served more than 19,000 people, which made up 8,800-plus households in Mercer County, and provided 21,450 bags filled with food. In addition, the guild distributes boxes of food to needy seniors as part of the federal Senior Food Commodities Program. Initially serving 20 seniors a month, that number has grown to more than 30. During July and August, the guild provides families with children in the Trenton Public School System a onetime extra food package. The bags are filed with kid-friendly items such as cereals, peanut butter, fresh produce and pasta as well as books, puzzles and sunscreen, as funding allows. This program,

called Feeding Family Fridays, has also distributed low-cost meal cookbooks and held presentations by Rutgers University nutrition students on healthy eating for parents. This program serves an average 200 families each summer. Gladney said one of the primary challenges always comes down to funding. “There is never enough funding to serve the poor,” she said. “That is not to say that people aren’t generous … they are. But there are so many charities tugging at their heartstrings that the donation amounts are shrinking.” Echoing the sentiments of Catholic Charities and CYO Mercer County, Gladney said food donations are typically less plentiful in the summer due to many people being on vacation. To help the Mount Carmel Guild’s food pantry contact (609) 392-3402 or drop off donations at 73 North Clinton Ave., Trenton, N.J., 08609.

Catholics live tradition of service Continued from • 15

“Fifty-four percent of those who come to Catholic Charities for the first time come because they are hungry,” she said, adding that the entire network counted more than 10.4 million individual acts of food service assistance performed across last year.

Global Inequities In his encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” (Charity in Truth), Pope Benedict XVI called feeding the hungry “an ethical imperative for the universal Church…Moreover, the elimination of world hunger has also, in the global era, become a requirement for safeguarding the peace and stability of the planet.” In parts of the globe where hunger is a daily reality, Catholic social service agencies and the Church at large have been on the front lines in responding to need and calling for more sustainable methods of ensuring adequate food access. In Malawi, where 40 percent of the population needs food aid, the country’s bishops have called for international help to avert a crisis. It is “disheartening and painful to

think of our 6.5 million brothers and sisters” needing humanitarian assistance, the Episcopal Conference of Malawi said in a July 1 statement signed by its chairman, Bishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre. At least 6.5 million people will be food insecure in the coming year, according to a May government assessment. Malawi has a population of 16 million people. Prayers to receive our daily bread will always be on the lips of Catholics worldwide. But as Pope Francis said in 2013, action to provide the hungry with sufficient nutritious food requires Catholic to be active disciples. “A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth,” Pope Francis told the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization. “Not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.” Reporting from Catholic News Service was included in this story.

Conference stresses inner beauty Continued from • 14

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Young women from Red Bank Catholic High School and St. Rose High School, Belmar, who participated in the conference were thankful for the opportunity to share their stories and love of Christ in an affirming and positive environment. “It’s a good and important message,” Emme Anderson, 17, a student in St. Rose High School and parishioner in St. Catharine Parish, Spring Lake, said of the topics presented at the conference. Her classmate and fellow parishioner Erin McDonald, 17, agreed. “It’s definitely an important message to hear – that it is OK to be ourselves.” “It can be hard for girls,” Kate Considine, 17, also from St. Rose High School, admitted.

“It’s good for us to encourage one another.” In between the discussions, the young women were able to attend breakout sessions where they could participate in activities that focused on their inner beauty rather than the external. They also had the opportunity to visit the photo booth, where they let their inner beauty shine through as they gathered for selfies and group shots. When sharing her hopes for the young ladies who gathered for a day of friends and faith-sharing, Steenland reflected, “This message is for everybody. This is the way God created me. That I am loved and that I am good.” For more information on the BeYoutiful Conference, visit www.beyoutifulconference.org, or on social media at Twitter: #beYOUtiful716 or Instagram: @beYOUtiful716.


18 SPECIAL REPORT

THE MONITOR • JULY 28, 2016

Church’s belief in dignity of labor shapes advocacy, service Story by Patrick T. Brown, Correspondent

W

Mother Teresa

ork has been part of the human experience since, well, the beginning. But what happens when there isn’t a job to be found? In the third book of Genesis, we read how God, after Adam and Eve disobeyed his command, exiles them from the Garden of Eden. “In toil you shall eat…by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread,” the Lord tells Adam. That divine admonition grounds the Church’s emphasis on the dignity of work. “Man’s life is built up every day from work, from work it derives its specific dignity,” Pope John Paul II wrote in his 1981 encyclical, “Laborem Exercens.” “But at the same time, work contains the unceasing measure of human toil and suffering, and also of the harm and injustice which penetrate deeply into social life.” Addressing those harms and injustices in modern society was also the focus of “Rerum Novarum,” the 1891 encyclical by Pope Leo XIII that laid the groundwork for much of Catholic Social Teaching on just wages and a just society. Its legacy influences the work of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which holds that “the most effective way to build a just economy is to make decent work at decent wages available for all those capable of working.” That message was especially important during the height of the Great Recession. According to the Bureau

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey

Creating a just society takes work

A SUMMER SERIES on

Joblessness

POVERTY

As the Church joyfully anticipates the September canonization of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, The Monitor presents a summer-long series that examines the challenge of combatting poverty in our time, a cause to which the future saint devoted much of her ministry. This series sheds light on the many ways that local agencies, communities and people within the Diocese of Trenton are giving witness to the Holy Year of Mercy as they work to help those in the greatest need.

RIGHT TO WORK • A man waits in line to enter a job fair. Though a living wage has been described as the amount needed to enable a person and one’s family “to live in a manner worthy of a human being,” the minimum wage in New Jersey stands at $8.38 an hour. CNS file photo of Labor Statistics, unemployment reached a recent high as 10 percent nationally in October 2009, and remained above 6.5 percent until April 2014. More recently, the national unemployment rate has returned to its historical norm of fluctuating around 5 percent, with New Jersey’s numbers in line

with the national average. That means that in the month of May, 225,900 New Jerseyans were looking for work and unable to find it. At the turn of the last century, the labor activist priest, Msgr. John Ryan, described a living wage in a document of the same name. He wrote that it is a term that describes the amount of wages needed to enable a person and one’s family “to live in a manner worthy of a human being.” Pope Francis has frequently spoken about the struggles facing those seeking work and unable to find a job. “There is no worse material poverty than one that does not allow for earning one’s bread and deprives one of the dignity of work,” the Holy Father wrote in See Advocacy • 19

Reasons for joblessness not clear-cut, diocesan advocates say By Lois Rogers Correspondent

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n the lonely watches of the night, when those who lack employment ask themselves how they came to be one paycheck away from losing the roofs over their heads and putting food on the family table, there are as many questions as answers. Advocates around the four counties of the Diocese who do their level best to help scores struggling with such situations cite a wide range of factors. Sometimes, the cause is broad-based, they say: sudden loss of childcare or transportation can easily signal the end of a job. Sometimes, it’s terribly personal – coming at the consequence of a serious illness for a job holder or spouse who must stop working to become a caregiver. Poverty, in all its forms, is a defining factor in joblessness, said Joseph T. Williams, president of the diocesan St. Vincent de Paul Society Council. For the past five years, the St. Vincent de Paul Society has been looking to the philosophies of Dr. Ruby Payne’s community support program, “Bridges Out of Poverty,” he said, taking steps toward building such bridges around the Diocese. In the book, he said, Dr. Payne points to three different aspects of poverty – situational, where things have been going along well and suddenly a family

or individual is faced with an immediate financial crisis – long-term, where an individual or family may have to deal with an ongoing illness and things are not going to change – and generational, “where,” as Williams said, “two or three generations just never get out of the hole.” “It’s a circle,” Williams said. “In order to change things, there has to be a job, there has to be a home, there has to be food. That circle needs to be complete. Anytime there is a break, the entire system starts to break down.” Thomas Mladenetz, executive director of the Mercer County Catholic Youth Organization, cites the trend away from full-time employment as feeding into joblessness, crippling many wage-earners around the area. Mladenetz said that this summer alone, the CYO’s five community centers are serving from 1,200 to 1,300 youngsters, including some 750 in subsidized childcare slots. Depending on the various state funding programs, parents must work either a minimum of 25 or 30 hours per week, be in a job-training program or go to school full time to qualify for the subsidy. The minimum hourly requirements can be a stumbling block for some families whose employers will only offer part-time work, in part due to the requirement to provide health care to full-time employees, Mladenetz said.

DID YOU KNOW?

Poverty is often classified in three ways:  Situational – typically deals with a shorter time, where financial crisis has been caused by a specific event such as death, divorce, job loss, etc.  Long-term – where an individual or family may have to deal with a crisis that seems to have no end in sight, such as an ongoing illness  Generational – those in poverty for two generations or longer who can’t seem to break the cycle

“People are piecing together parttime positions, maybe working just 20 hours. They don’t meet the requirement,” he said. Nor do individuals who work under the table to fill in the wage gaps, he said. “When families come to us to apply, they have to show pay stubs. They need help, but they don’t qualify. It is tough.” The CYO offers “internal scholarships” provided with the support of various private foundations and individual donors. Modeled after the state’s sliding fee scale, Mladenetz said, they play a real role in “stretching scholarship dollars as far as we can.” Not having childcare, especially in the summer months, can leave parents having to choose between a latchkey situation and employment, he said.

“From our standpoint, it seems there are never enough childcare options to meet the needs of everyone.” “A lot of our parents have told us that despite their best efforts, it is hard to get a full-time position with benefits,” he said. “It feeds into joblessness – it’s all interconnected. If parents are not feeling safe with kids home alone, they take time off and they lose their position.”

In The Blink Of An Eye Though some in failing circumstances may be aware of looming joblessness, others are taken completely by surprise, said Williams, who has led the diocesan St. Vincent de Paul Society Council since 2013. “Some people can be going along well and then be taken completely off guard,” said Williams, a member of St. Martha Parish, Point Pleasant. He shared a story of how quickly life changed for one couple who turned to the parish conference for help after their car was destroyed in a serious accident. “Thank God there were no injuries, but they still owed money on the car and had to use the insurance to pay it off. They had no ability to purchase a car to use for work,” he said. To make matters worse, husband and wife were employed by different retail stores – one in Monmouth County See Joblessness • 28


SPECIAL REPORT 19

JULY 28, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com

Help available for those needing work attire READY TO WORK • Olga

By Rose O’Connor Correspondent

Arabitg of Forked River helps client Christopher Sanchez with measurements at the “Suit Up” Boutique event July 13 in Lakewood. Rose

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estled in a medical arts building in Lakewood is a hidden gem, an office of the St. Francis Community Center, where those who are struggling financially can get professional clothing, shoes and accessories. “We have the clothing, and we want to help people,” said social worker Holly Cutchin. “We have multiple programs, and we work together to help those who may need the help.” The “Suit Up” Boutique was created to provide business and casual attire as well as coordinating shoes, handbags and belts for those who may be in need of clothing for an upcoming job interview. It’s just one service offered by the St. Francis Community Center, which has offices in Long Beach Township and Lakewood. The office in Lakewood, which houses the boutique, is also home to the Education Support Services, which provides clients with Adult Basic Skills (ABE), NJ High School Diploma Prep classes and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at no cost. “I’ve been unemployed since August of 2015. I fell on hard times. I’ve been through a lot,” said Olga Arabitg of

October, 2014. This situation is “not inevitable…[it] is the effect of a disposable culture that considers the human being in himself as a consumer good, which can be used and then discarded,” he wrote.

Advocacy Efforts Of course, having a job is no guarantee of attaining self-sufficiency. In a joint letter to Congress in 2015, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities USA, urged lawmakers to ensure federal laws include just wages that “promot[e] family formation and stability. “Human work has inherent dignity, and just wages honor that dignity,” Archbishop Wenski and Sister Markham wrote. “We urge you to advance legislation and policies that would ensure fair and just wages for all workers, and in doing so improve the financial security of millions of American families.” Across the United States, the Catholic Charities network helped more than 18,000 individuals attain full-time jobs through local agencies in 2014. More than 13,000 of those jobs are above the minimum wage. Catholics in the United States have also engaged in advocacy around the minimum wage. The USCCB has encouraged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, to extend tax credits that benefit low-income families and increase funding for job training. In New Jersey, the state Senate recently passed a bill that would increase the Garden

To donate professional attire, suits, accessories and hospital scrubs, contact Vicki Day, V.Day@stfrancislbi.org or 732987-4182

O’Connor photo

Forked River, who is currently enrolled in GED (General Education Development) classes. “The programs here are excellent and help.” Classes and services are provided by the Ocean County Basic Skills Consortium through a grant from the NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development. Eligible participants who have a need will receive individualized education and job readiness plans. Two programs have been developed to assist Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) clients and provide education and job/career

Advocacy, service focus on jobs Continued from • 18

For more information on the programs offered by the St. Francis Community Center, visit www.stfranciscenterlbi.org.

State’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021, almost double the current minimum of $8.38 an hour. In November 2013, voters approved a constitutional amendment that raised the state’s minimum wage to the current standard and allowed for automatic adjustments based on the cost of inflation. Advocates for the higher number say that New Jersey’s high cost of living means working families need the benefit of a higher wage now.

Searching for Answers Of course, with every economic decision comes trade-offs, and some researchers worry that efforts to increase the minimum wage could end up hurting the very people the increases are intended to help. As workers’ wages go higher, companies are increasingly likely to turn to technology, outsourcing and automation to do jobs that used to be filled by low-wage workers. “Whether you are a factory worker or an accountant, a waitress or a doctor, this is the wave that will lift you or dump you,” George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen wrote in November 2013. “We will move from a society based on the pretense that everyone is given a decent standard of living to one in which people are expected to fend for themselves.” Responding to this potential new reality – encouraging the dignity of work in a world where work is increasingly hard to come by – will require new answers. But the principles that stretch back to Genesis will continue to guide the Church’s teaching.

development to achieve self-sufficiency. The Lakewood office also provides classes and resources in life and job skills, career counseling, resume writing and money management. Gina Opauski, coordinator of the Strive Towards Success Program, said those enrolled in the life and job skill classes not only “buy” from the boutique, but also run the store, allowing them to employ the customer service skills they have learned in the Community Work Experience Program. “They learn how to measure men for suits, coordinate accessories, and they learn customer service skills – how to speak to people,” she said. “A lot of our students need proper dress, so we give them … nice things to have for a job interview,” she added. “We show them how to accessorize and to look professional. It gives them confidence.” Though the boutique is open most days, a special “Suit Up” event, advertised in parish bulletins around the Diocese, was held July 13. Ben Prince, a student in the GED class who volunteered at the event, praised the boutique’s services. “A lot of

people do not have a lot of things, and it’s good to help out the community.” Being a student, Prince said he places a high value on education. “It’s always good to further your education,” he said. “No one can take your education away from you.” Yesenia Millan of Forked River, also a student in the GED program, praised the community center and its services, too. “I love it; we work together and I have learned a lot of things,” she said. “This is a good place to come to learn and take advantage of the help they offer.” Boutique coordinator Vicki Day explained that all the outfits and accessories were donated, the suits coming from the Center for Vocational Rehabilitation, a social-services organization based in Ocean County that helps those with special needs. Day said no money is exchanged at the boutique, though students in the various programs can use vouchers that they have earned by participating in classes. During the event, Arabitg spent her time as a volunteer, measuring clients for a proper fit of clothing. “This is great, coming here to help clients get their suits, belts, ties. I thank God for this program every day,” she said. The Suit Up Boutique is open to the public Mondays-Thursdays, 8:30 a.m.3:30 p.m., and Fridays, 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

THE DIOCESE OF TRENTON is committed to the initiatives outlined in the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and to its own policies and guidelines in regard to the reporting and investigation of sexual abuse allegations involving minors. If you have been sexually abused as a minor by a member of the clergy or anyone representing the Catholic Church, or if you know of someone who was, you can report that abuse through the diocesan

ABUSE HOTLINE: 1-888-296-2965 or via e-mail at abuseline@dioceseoftrenton.org. The Diocese of Trenton reports any allegations of sexual abuse to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Anyone with an allegation is also encouraged to provide that information to local law enforcement authorities.


28 LOCAL

THE MONITOR • JULY 28, 2016

Joblessness a complex challenge Continued from • 18

and one in Ocean. Both of the stores used algorithms that tracked shopping patterns and scheduled their employees accordingly on a daily basis, Williams said. They worked wildly different hours that left them unable to commute together or with anyone else. Their quirky work schedules also made it difficult to use public transportation. “They have each commuted by cab, spending $300 a week for rides. They bring in about $2,500 a month and spend more than half of that on cabs,” he said. With the situation getting more and more difficult, they turned to St. Vincent de Paul, and the conference is working to find a donated car that will enable them to keep their jobs, Williams said.

Solutions To Joblessness Throughout the four counties, efforts are underway in parishes and agencies such as Catholic Charities to help those affected. Job skills and job-related skills are of

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paramount importance, say those who focus on these efforts. They include Mary Ann Langelle and Arlene Campbell of Catholic Charities and Paul Cutrupi, who helped to found the St. Joseph the Worker Employment Ministry sponsored by the Knights of Columbus in St. Mary Parish, Bordentown. Langelle steers a driver’s permit program as but one component of Project Hope’s Solutions to Joblessness Program based at Catholic Charities Community Services office in Burlington County. To date this year, 18 people have received their driving permits with the help of the eight-week program. “We believe that when you have your driver’s license, it opens your work options,” Langelle said. “Without the skills, they won’t get a living wage. They say the job outlook is improving, but there are income-starved populations in Lakewood and Trenton with high levels of poverty,” she said. “Poverty is directly related to joblessness. They need a skill set.”

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Campbell, supervisor of Catholic Charities’ Supported Employment Program based in Delaware House, Burlington, focuses on supporting those with mental illness, and those who have struggled to overcome homelessness. “Some have major or minor issues that keep them from getting a job. They aren’t aware that help is available. We try to get out and advertise and reach out directly,” to prospective employers. “We don’t want them to fail; we want them to be successful,” Campbell said, noting that the hiring program has been in operation for 25 years with notable success. Daughter of Charity Sister Joanne Dress, diocesan executive director of social services, said there will always be those in need of basic necessities – the key is helping them achieve self-sufficiency whenever possible. “Education is key,” she said. “Skills such as financial literacy, language ability or computer skills enhance their ability to obtain and retain employment, which can help them to be self-sufficient.

“One of the challenges of our social service agencies and parishes is to consider providing some of these educational sessions in addition to emergency assistance.”

Firsthand Knowledge When he lost his job five years ago, Paul Cutrupi brought his impressive IT skill set to St. Mary Parish, Bordentown. There, with the support of the Knights of Columbus, he founded an employment ministry. He has returned to work in his own field but still helps others. “I had the experience of being jobless,” Cutrupi said. He wanted to help others beat the odds of “just getting their resumes through the door. I put together tools, job boards and helped train people and worked with them on how to present themselves. “ He cites two major reasons for sticking with it: “I wanted to thank the parish and give back to the community. What better way to do that than to help those in the community make sure people can help their families.”

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4 SPECIAL REPORT

THE MONITOR • AUGUST 11, 2016

‘More Than a Home’

Housing Costs In New Jersey

Ending homelessness a question of priorities, church leaders say Story by Patrick T. Brown, Correspondent

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hen was the last time you saw headlines about a stock market rise or fall? And when was the last time you saw a news story about a family living on the streets? If you ask Pope Francis, the fact that economic anxieties get more cable news coverage than human tragedies such as homelessness is a sign that our culture is in crisis. We must say no “to an economy of exclusion and inequality,” Pope Francis wrote in his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”). “Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion.” Catholic social teaching places a heavy emphasis on ensuring the homeless have a place to find shelter and the weary have a place to call home. As the U.S. bishops wrote in the 2011 document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” “The lack of safe, affordable housing requires a renewed commitment to increase the supply of

Homelessness

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

Mother Teresa

A SUMMER SERIES on

POVERTY

quality housing.”

‘Destroying Lives’ Homelessness is a problem in the United States that impacts more than 560,000 individuals, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Of the more than half-million people officially counted as without housing during one night in January, more than one-third, or 206,286, were people in families, 83,170 were consid-

As the Church joyfully anticipates the September canonization of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, The Monitor presents a summer-long series that examines the challenge of combatting poverty in our time, a cause to which the future saint devoted much of her ministry. This series sheds light on the many ways that local agencies, communities and people within the Diocese of Trenton are giving witness to the Holy Year of Mercy as they work to help those in the greatest need.

ered chronically homeless and 47,725 were homeless veterans. In 1988, the U.S. bishops called the reality of homelessness in America “a human tragedy [and] a moral challenge.” “Homelessness and poor housing are destroying lives, undermining families, hurting communities and weakening the social fabric of our nation,” the bishops wrote. “Homeless people and those without adequate housing frequently turn to the Church for help. We see their suffer-

All figures relate to costs within the state:  New Jersey is the fifth most expensive state to rent a home. Hawaii, California, New York and Maryland round out the list.  $1,379 – fair-market price for a twobedroom rental  $26.52 – the amount a person must earn an hour to afford a two-bedroom rental  $16.98 – average hourly wage  $8.38 – minimum wage  127 hours – time a minimum-wage worker would have to work per week to be able to afford a two-bedroom rental at fair-market price  30% – nationally recognized as the maximum amount of a person’s income that should be spent on housing  Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition

ing. We feel their pain.” Forty-eight percent of homeless families are African-American, and 15 percent are Hispanic. Nearly two-thirds of all people experiencing homelessness are male, while 22 percent of all homeless people are younger than 18. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, families that find themselves without housing often end up in that situation due to an unexpected financial crisis, such as sudden unemployment, a medical emergency or a death in the family. Programs that provide assistance to help get families back into stable housing include rent assistance, job training, temporary shelters and housing placement services. Federal programs aimed at helping See Catholics • 30

‘Tragedy Into Triumph’

Catholic Charities peer advocate uses personal experiences to inspire others By David Karas Correspondent

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usan Parker remembers all too well what it felt like to be homeless. “It is really devastating,” she said. “You have no place to sleep, you’re afraid. You cannot get a shower, (and) you have no place to lay your head, no place to call home.” Parker experienced homelessness in 2006 following the end of her marriage of 28 years, coupled with a mental health diagnosis and her struggle with addiction. “I went through a really tough time, and after some really bad decisions and the grief I was going through, I did end up homeless,” she shared. “The addiction came from self-medicating after my divorce, to ease the pain of what I was going through.” After spending a couple of days living on the street, Parker was taken by her father to a program in Cherry Hill, and she was referred to Catholic Charities’ Delaware House in Burling-

ton County. It was there that her life began to turn around through her own determination and the assistance of the diocesan social services agency. Today, Parker, 61, is a peer supSusan Parker port counselor at the Catholic Charities Early Intervention Support Service in Trenton. The outreach program provides short-term mental health services for adults experiencing significant emotional or psychiatric distress, and those who are in need of immediate support and intervention. “We do assessments on the clients that come in, and then we get together and we talk about long-term facilities that are available to them,” said Parker. The staff sees some 50-60 clients each month, she said, and those who walk through their doors receive not

only an evaluation of what long-term services might be available, but also receive counseling from a licensed social worker or therapist, and a psychological evaluation from a licensed advanced practice registered nurse. The first point of contact for clients, many of whom are experiencing homelessness, is often a peer support counselor like Parker. “In order to be a peer advocate, you have to have a mental health diagnosis,” she said. “I take medication every day and I am recovering addict.” The Lumberton resident’s role there includes a pre-intake process for clients, getting their information into the system and collecting some basic details. “I do tell clients that I am a peer advocate,” she said. “It helps them relax a little bit because they realize that somebody knows what they are going through.” Parker has worked with Catholic Charities in her current role since August 2013, and on Sept. 24, she will receive the Client Achievement Award at the Catholic Charities Guardian Angel Dinner

Dance at the Hyatt Regency, Princeton. The honor, Parker said, is humbling. “I have worked really hard to get where I am,” she said, adding that she often shares her story in the hopes that it might inspire others. “I tell my story to anybody that wants to listen. I am very proud of my achievements – moving from homeless, jobless, hopeless.” She continues, “…with the help of Catholic Charities, I turned tragedy into triumph. I don’t feel like a survivor any more. I feel like I have moved past the survival mode, into thriving.” Parker also discussed how it feels to help others in the position she was once in. “I don’t think there are words that can express the self-satisfaction that I get from being able to be there, to help a client move their life forward to living a healthier lifestyle,” she said. “I don’t think gratifying can even begin to tell you how good it feels.” She added, “without the help of Catholic Charities, I really don’t think I would be here today.”


SPECIAL REPORT 5

AUGUST 11, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com

Networking the Problem

Cooperation among agencies, advocates key to fighting poverty By Jennifer Mauro Associate Editor

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t’s a sunny Friday morning when Cereste walks in the door to pick up her package of fresh vegetables, cereal and bread at the Diocese’s Mount Carmel Guild food pantry on North Clinton Avenue, Trenton. “This place is a blessing to me,” says Cereste, a frequent client who would only give her first name. “Back home in Haiti, you would never find something like this.” Cereste has been using the Mount Carmel Guild’s services for years, needing help after back surgery forced her to quit her job. She said the government subsidies she receives aren’t enough to survive on. “Getting food here helps me pay my other bills.” Barbara, a client who also would only give her first name, has custody of her two teenage grandchildren. “They’re always, ‘Nana, I want.’ I’m not here for their wants,” she said as she received a cart full of food. “I’m here for their needs.” Those showing up Aug. 5 for Feeding Family Fridays, which falls under

IN THE NEXT INSTALLMENT of The Monitor’s Summer Series on POVERTY, we will take a close look at the mission and ministry of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and meet some of the Vincentians who drive this critical work in the Diocese of Trenton.

Poverty NURTURING THE YOUNG • One of the various outreaches the Mercer County Catholic Youth Organization provides is subsidized child care and food and lunch programs for young people of the area. This photo, taken in 2013, shows a teenager who was helping out at the CYO facility on South Broad Street, Trenton, interacting with a youngster. Joe Moore photo the Guild’s Emergency Assistance Program, may have been in search of food, but social services advocates agree that it takes cooperation between agencies to get people the help they need. “Food and shelter are the highest priorities for the survival of families,” said Anne Casale, a case worker with the Mount Carmel Guild. “When our clients come to the Guild for their monthly food package, client associates meet with them to discuss their situation and to determine if they need help in other areas of their lives. If so, we are able to give them information about other social service agencies.” Mary Pettrow, associate director for Providence House Domestic Violence Services, a program run by the Diocese’s Catholic Charities, agreed, saying, “We

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Helping the homeless around the Diocese

Catholic Charities’ Community Services is just one of many organizations within the Diocese that help the homeless. Below is a look at the number of services provided in 2015 to communities within the Diocese: Homelessness Prevention helped individuals and families facing a financial emergency sustain housing and achieve stability.  254 people living in 77 households were provided with utility assistance  410 people living in 181 households received rental/mortgage  134 people living in 48 households received security deposit assistance Housing programs minimized the length of time individuals and families were homeless, helped them become stably housed and assisted them to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency:  63 families received assistance and support through its Linkages Transitional Housing Program; 14 families were assisted to transition to permanent housing; 6 were assisted to obtain Section 8 vouchers and 10 to obtain a home voucher.  135 people were assisted to locate

permanent housing through its Mercer Community Services Rapid Re-housing Programs; of 78 adults housed, 54 were employed at admission and are able to sustain housing; 14 were assisted to obtain employment and/or increase income  56 people were assisted to locate permanent housing through Burlington Community Services Rapid Re-housing Programs; of 22 adults housed, 18 were employed at admission and are able to sustain housing; 3 were assisted to obtain employment and/or increase income  221 Burlington County households were provided with 2,481 emergency shelter nights Parish Services, funding which is distributed to a parish after a priest of designee makes a formal request to help someone within the parish, had the following impact:  69 households were provided with utility assistance  123 households received rental/mortgage assistance  1 household received financial assistance to pay for car insurance Source: Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton

PHOTO KICKER • Anne Casale, a case worker with the Mount Carmel Guild, packs a cart full of food for a client Aug. 5 at Feeding Family Fridays at the food bank in Trenton. Jennifer Mauro photo

have to make sure their basic needs are being met – that what’s most important to them is taken care of first.” For example, Pettrow cited research by the National Center on Family Homelessness showing that 50 percent of women who are homeless reported domestic violence as the root cause. “They’ll come to us because they fled from violence.” she said. “But it’s hard to make safety plans when they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.” Daughter of Charity Sister Joanne Dress, diocesan executive director of social services, said it takes a good working relationship between diocesan and federal agencies as well as local communities to be successful. “Collaboration is critical in the survival of the emergency assistance type of environment,” she said, offering a recently formed St. Vincent de Paul-led committee to combat homelessness in Ocean County as an example.

Collaborative Efforts At the Mercer County Catholic Youth Organization – which offers subsidized child care, and food and lunch programs, among others – family case workers know how important it is to be well-versed in the social services offered across the board, said Thomas Mladenetz, CYO Mercer County executive director. “Often, there’s a situation where our families get comfortable with our staff, and they come to us for issues unrelated to the services that we provide,” he said. “We need to be knowledgeable so we can point them in the right direction.” Marlene Lao-Collins, executive director of Catholic Charities, says that’s something the organization’s case workers see every day. Catholic Charities’ Community Services has programs that help people find transitional and permanent housing. To be eligible, people must have a job that provides for their rent or be working toward selfsufficiency. To aid in that process, case

Domestic Abuse and Homelessness When it comes to homelessness, many factors can play a part, including domestic violence, said Mary Pettrow, associate director for Providence House Domestic Violence Services. For example:  50% of all women who are homeless report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness.   84% of homeless women have experienced severe physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives.   63% of homeless women have been victims of intimate partner violence as adults.   33% of homeless women have been victims of severe assault by their current or most recent intimate partner.   By age 12, 83% of homeless children have been exposed to at least one serious violent event, and nearly 25% have witnessed acts of violence within their families.  Sources: Journal of American Medical Women’s Association, Journal of the American Medical Association, The National Center on Family Homelessness

workers sometimes go as far as to drive the homeless to job interviews or facilities to obtain identification. “It’s a lot of networking,” Lao-Collins said, emphasizing that the organization often receives referrals from state and county child protective services and board of social service agencies. For CYO Mercer County, cooperation crosses over into local and state social services agencies, too. In the last 10 years, the CYO South Broad Street Center has seen an influx of Latino families, Mladenetz said. Its preschool services work hand in hand with the Trenton Board of Education in that CYO Mercer County provides bilingual services, which is helpful in See Battling • 30


30 LOCAL

THE MONITOR • AUGUST 11, 2016

Battling poverty as a team Continued from • 5

households where parents may not speak English. “By us teaching them English at three or four years of age, we’re actually helping the local school system because we’re preparing them for kindergarten to enter into a mainstream class and not have to go the ESL [English as a Second Language] route,” Mladenetz said.

Overcoming obstacles Advocates agree there are frustrating hurdles facing the very people they are trying to serve, especially considering the amount of state and federal agencies each having their own rules and requirements. “The average person in poverty deals with four to nine different agencies,” said Joe Williams, president of the Trenton Diocesan Council of St. Vincent de Paul. “In many cases, there’s very little commonality between what’s required from one agency to the other,” he said. “So they might be all set with Agency A thinking all they have to do is go to Agency B,” discovering when they arrive that that’s not the case. Pettrow agreed, saying, “It is very defeating for a person who is trying to advocate for themselves. They can’t make knowledgeable decisions when they don’t have all the information.” Included among the obstacles is the red tape of paperwork. For example, those who are homeless must provide the correct documentation to state and federal agencies proving their homelessness, which can be difficult when they have no form of identification. Mladenetz said if he had a wish-list of ways to help those in poverty, he said he would ask that “our state legislators could spend a day with a poor family to see what it’s like to survive on a day-today basis. I think that may help them in passing legislation that has a little more compassion.” Another obstacle is the “not in my

“As Christians, we need to ask ourselves, ‘What can I do?’” backyard” effect. “We have to change the mentality of affordable housing,” Lao-Collins said. “This is housing for people who are working in our community – in retail, teachers, police on entry-level salaries.” “People want to be in their own home – to cook in their kitchens, to do homework at the dining room table with their children,” she said. “You hear the rhetoric that people needing help are lazy or feeding off the system. That is not what we experience.” Homelessness, Lao-Collins stressed, can’t be addressed without the community’s help. “As Christians, we need to ask ourselves, ‘What can I do?’” “You can advocate with legislators and policymakers, but when you try to develop in communities,” sometimes there’s pushback. “Normally, when folks hear ‘affordable housing,’ the image they get is big towers of apartments with low-income individuals, and communities are afraid of creating that.” Casale said that though few of the Guild’s clients are homeless – they’ve served only four homeless individuals this summer – the living conditions of other clients aren’t the best. “Many of our clients rent rooms in homes and share the common areas of the house,” she said. “So even though they have a roof over their heads, the living conditions are not ideal.” Pettrow said she believes affordable housing is a difficult issue, but by working together, the Diocese’s social service agencies and communities can come up with viable solutions. “We have to take a holistic approach so a person can be successful,” she said.

THE DIOCESE OF TRENTON is committed to the initiatives outlined in the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and to its own policies and guidelines in regard to the reporting and investigation of sexual abuse allegations involving minors. If you have been sexually abused as a minor by a member of the clergy or anyone representing the Catholic Church, or if you know of someone who was, you can report that abuse through the diocesan

ABUSE HOTLINE: 1-888-296-2965

or via e-mail at abuseline@dioceseoftrenton.org. The Diocese of Trenton reports any allegations of sexual abuse to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Anyone with an allegation is also encouraged to provide that information to local law enforcement authorities.

WORTHY CAUSE • Holding a donated blanket are Lourdes oncology nurse navigator Christina Hunter; Brett Herrington, sales manager, Prestige Subaru; Chelsea Valeo, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Tara Quinlan, oncology social worker with Lourdes Cancer Program. Photo courtesy of Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County

Blanket donation benefits Lourdes cancer patients The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Subaru recently donated 50 blankets to the Lourdes Cancer Program. The blankets will be distributed to cancer patients at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, Willingboro, and Our

Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Camden, who are undergoing chemotherapy and recovering from cancer surgery. Subaru also dropped off “messages of hope” to cancer patients written by customers of Prestige Subaru in Turnersville.

Catholics address homelessness Continued from • 4

the homeless include the McKinneyVento Homeless Assistance Grants, which provides funds for many local shelters, as well as the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, and smaller programs through other federal departments aimed at reducing homelessness among target populations.

Catholic response Nationally, Catholic social service agencies operated more than 230 temporary or transitional shelter services, according to statistics compiled by Catholic Charities USA. Roughly 34,000 permanent housing units, including more than 18,000 for seniors, are operated by Catholic Charities agencies. “The Catholic Church, inclusive of all its ministries, is one of the largest private providers of housing services for the poor and vulnerable in the country,” Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, wrote in a recent letter to Congress. “Programs that help to satisfy the basic human right to shelter should receive special attention.” In 1975, the U.S. bishops encouraged Catholics to live out a “pastoral response to the crisis in housing.” “The Catholic community has a responsibility to act effectively to help meet the needs of those who lack

adequate housing…We must also reflect on our own responsibilities and opportunities for action. We call on individual Catholics, dioceses and parishes, as well as other Catholic organizations, to join us in a new commitment to those who suffer from poor housing.” They encouraged five methods of taking positive steps toward ensuring those in inadequate housing situations have a more hopeful future:  building awareness of the existing need,  advocating on the local and national level for better solutions,  broadening and strengthening the services provided,  examining the existing stewardship of resources,  building a community based on respect, fraternity and mutual support. The answer to the needs of the homeless isn���t just building more homeless shelters, the USCCB policy papers state. It’s about changing our hearts to place the priorities of the poor ahead of the priorities of our pocketbooks or personal lives. Housing is about more than just shelter – it’s about dignity, as Pope John Paul II was quoted by the U.S bishops. “A house is much more than a roof over one’s head,” the now St. Pope John Paul II said. It is “a place where a person creates and lives out his or her life.”


6 SPECIAL REPORT

THE MONITOR • AUGUST 25, 2016

Diocese’s SVdP chief shares insight on working with poor DOING THEIR PART • Joseph T.

Story by Lois Rogers Correspondent

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t’s an old adage that you can’t go home again, that once you’ve left, you can’t return and recapture youthful memories.

But that wasn’t true for Joseph T. Williams, president of the diocesan St. Vincent de Paul Society. Years ago, long after he had moved away from a hardscrabble neighborhood in Newark, Williams brought his wife, Joan, and their three young children to 16th Avenue, where he grew up. The family traveled from their upscale, North Jersey community to attend a Mass commemorating the consecration of St. Ann’s Church, a landmark in the area dating to 1888. It was there Williams received his sacraments as a child. While in Newark, he took his children to the house he grew up in – a four-family tenement over a grocery

Facing obstacles, couple thankful for help The statement below was received by the St. Vincent de Paul conference in St. Dorothea Parish, Eatontown, and goes to serve as testimony to what advocates in all of the Diocese’s social service programs have been attesting to – that a person’s basic needs such as hunger and homelessness must be met first before self-reliance can be attained.

Dear Friends at St. Dorothea, I don’t think any of you know me, but today God used each and every one of you to help my husband and I, and I want so badly to thank all of you. I don’t know if you know what hunger feels like, but it’s so awful that I don’t know if I can adequately describe it. For the first day or so without food, it’s all you can think about. You feel hollow, and it hurts. I think back to meals I ate that I enjoyed but forgot to tell God thank you for and I’m so sorry. And I think about people that deal with hunger every day, who know little else, and I cry for them. One of the worst things is listening to my husband’s stomach growl in his sleep because I had nothing to give him for dinner. Thank God this doesn’t happen to us very often, but some months, if we’re hit with an unexpected expense, my husband’s disability check just doesn’t make it for us. I’m looking for some kind of work, anything, but it seems impossible. So, I wanted to thank all of you, everyone from the priest down to the child who put his three pennies in the collection plate. I thank the Lord for taking care of us, and I pray for him to give me someone who I may help in return. God bless! This letter was submitted by the diocesan St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Homelessness store. Mindful of Catholic social teaching, he wanted to “let them know that the world isn’t as rosy as it seems.” “We were in the heart of Newark, 16th Avenue and Seventh Street,” he said, “surrounded by poverty. When I pointed out the four-family tenement, they thought the entire building had been our house. I told them, no, we just had the two windows on the second floor.” Despite their young ages, Williams said he believes the message that many people live in poverty got across. It’s a message, Williams, in his present capacity as president of the Diocesan Council since 2013, feels called to share passionately at every opportunity.

The Big Picture With 51 conferences in the Diocese throughout Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties, St. Vincent de Paul can be one of the first places those in any kind of need – homeless,

Williams, president of the diocesan St. Vincent de Paul Society, left, speaks Aug. 23 with Margaret More, director of the Selective Seconds highquality home décor and furniture store in Belmar. All monies raised at the store directly benefit the working poor in the community through the St. Vincent de Paul conference in St. Rose Parish, Belmar. John Batkowski photo

jobless, hungry – might seek assistance at the parish level. On a sunny, Saturday morning in the social hall of St. Martha Parish, Point Pleasant, Williams rolled out a raft of facts and figures for 2015 – the most recent year for which they are available – of how much faith-fueled energy the 2,200 Vincentian volunteers pour into lifting up their struggling neighbors. For the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, he said, the Diocese’s conferences conducted 12,884 home visits, assisted 66,709 individuals and distributed $6,720,822 in aid to the needy. At the time, he said, the membership totaled 2,222. A lion’s share of the money, he said, goes toward helping those who have become homeless and those who may be just one step away from having nowhere to live. In a separate interview, Carolyn Mauro, regional director for 13 conferences in Ocean County, said that about

40 percent to 50 percent of those who seek help need a roof over their heads and related shelter costs. “They could become homeless because they can’t cover the rent or pay the utility bills,” she said. Williams, president of the St. Martha conference, called particular attention to the number of home visits that reach the poor where they live. “Home visits allow us to understand the scope of the problems. Through this personto-person contact, we can lead them through the tyranny of the moment to help them look at the big picture.” The “tyranny of the moment” can be summed up by examples, he said, such as, “I’m a mother or a father, and I don’t have food in the refrigerator. I am worried and obsessed about what I will feed the children tonight and so, I miss entirely that the rent is due and I’m behind on the electric bill.” John Currie, a member of the diocesan board, gave another example, that of “hidden poverty” in many affluent neighborhoods that goes unseen by the mainstream. “People live paycheck to paycheck and are never able to save any cash for an emergency,” he said. “These folks sit in the pews next to us. Their children may be classmates of our children or grandchildren,” but their struggles are unnoticed.

Wish List In the near future, the Vincentians hope to be steering efforts that will help break a cycle of poverty that has engulfed many for generations, Williams said. For five years, the St. Vincent de See Goal • 7

Teaming up in Ocean County to end homelessness By Lois Rogers Correspondent

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n an area short on affordable housing and rental units, it came as no surprise to members of Ocean County’s St. Vincent de Paul leadership to hear that homelessness is a critical issue. That fact emerged clearly out of a series of meetings with the 13 conferences that comprise the Ocean County District Council, said its president, Carolyn Mauro. “Information passes back and forth as people ask, ‘How do you handle this? How do you handle that?’ And a lot of it had to do with homeless situations,” Mauro said. While different issues did come to the forefront, most related to the problems that open the door to homelessness, Mauro said, such as joblessness, low-paying wages, high utility costs and lack of transportation. “All the problems raised the same question. ‘What can we do with the

homeless situation? Is there something we can do as a group to help?’” she said. It didn’t take long for the District Council members to respond in the affirmative. In April, a subcommittee of about 25 members was formed to combat homelessness in Ocean County. It meets monthly in St. Luke Parish, Toms River, which Mauro fondly refers to as “home base.” The members have since split into six groups, each focusing on different areas of importance and sharing the results with the entire subcommittee. “If you are trying to work on everything at once, it can get confusing,” Mauro said.

Parts of a Whole Mauro stressed that the resources available are not a one-size-fits-all solution. “What works for a family might not work for a single person,” she said, explaining that for example, “one of the groups is looking at the (different)

resources available for single males, women and families.” In addition, one subcommittee group is focusing on data collection while another is tackling grants and fundraising. Showing how the groups work hand in hand, Mauro said from the group working on data collection, a picture is starting to emerge on what realistic grant expectations may be. “You can’t ask for help if you don’t know what the needs are,” Mauro said. One group has been tasked with trying to raise community awareness that St. Vincent de Paul is open to everyone even if the funds come mainly from parishioners. “We need to expand the awareness because (homelessness) is an issue that affects everyone,” Mauro said.

A ‘Well-Organized’ Effort That approach was warmly received by Daughter of Charity Sister Joanne Dress, executive director of the diocesan See Outreach • 7


SPECIAL REPORT 7

AUGUST 25, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com

Furniture ministry seeking a helping hand Homelessness Story by Jennifer Mauro Associate Editor

ASSORTED ITEMS •

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ix years ago, when Margaret More decided to start repurposing furniture she was seeing discarded along curbs for trash pickup, she had no clue her idea would grow into a mission of love that would one day need a little help itself. “We’re overwhelmed with people wanting to donate and people requesting donations,” said More, St. Rose Parish, Belmar, parishioner and director of Selective Seconds, a high-quality home décor and furniture store that sells new and gently used items. The ministry got its start in 2010, when More, thinking “someone could use this,” began casually mentioning to friends that she wanted to help find homes for good items she was seeing discarded as trash. Working as a collective group, the volunteers created a mission of distributing free furniture to those in need. As the idea continued to flourish, it didn’t take long before the St. Vincent

For a photo gallery of the Selective Seconds store, visit trentonmonitor.com

Goal to break cycle of poverty Continued from • 6

Paul Society has been considering the philosophies of Dr. Ruby Payne’s community support program, “Bridges out of Poverty” and looking at ways to build bridges of support around the four counties. The program offers guidelines and concepts designed to help employers, community organizations and social service agencies address and reduce poverty in a comprehensive way. According to the website, people from all sectors and economic classes are brought together to improve job retention rates, build resources, improve outcomes and support those who are moving out of poverty. It signals that there are workable options to end what is for many a cycle that repeats through generations, Williams said. “The way things are now,” he said, “those who have been in living in poverty for two or three generations just never get out of the hole. They become more and more dependent on outside government.” “For them, poverty is a normal situation. They don’t know any other way.” Williams said he would like to see more advocacy, for housing, for a better minimum wage, for better transportation – all lagging in New Jersey and contributing to the cycle of poverty. “We need to make our voices known.”

Volunteers Linda Camooso and Kathy Alexander work Aug. 23 at the Selective Seconds home décor and furniture store in Belmar. John

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

Mother Teresa

Batkowski photo

de Paul conference in St. Rose Parish got involved and was overflowing with donations in good condition. This sparked an idea to expand the ministry into a two-fold operation – to continue to help the needy attain free furniture and home goods and by opening a store to sell furniture as a way of sustaining funds to support the St. Vincent de Paul mission of helping the less fortunate. All the donations and monies raised directly benefit the working poor in the community. “We’re trying to break a poverty cycle,” said More, citing for example, how the Selective Seconds ministry helped furnish a family’s new home last year after they lost everything in an apartment complex fire in Ocean. “All of us at one time or another has walked that fine line of financial crisis.” Because Selective Seconds has continued to grow – being contacted by individuals seeking help plus other St. Vincent de Paul conferences trying to secure items for its needy – More is in need of a little help herself. “This has grown from a small conference of volunteers past what we can handle,” she said. That’s why More has been speaking with Joseph T. Williams, president of

Those wanting to help the Selective Seconds ministry expand diocesan-wide can call Margaret More at (732) 894-9393. Those needing help can reach out to their local St. Vincent de Paul conferences. the diocesan St. Vincent de Paul Society, in hopes of expanding the furniture outreach ministry diocesean-wide. As of July 2016, 166 families have been given free goods, receiving more than $200,000 worth of furniture and household items, More said. Funding, of course, is a problem, and though there is research being done to look for grants, “it’s a time-consuming process,” she said. In the meantime, furniture donations are coming in, and meeting the needs of the less fortunate isn’t going away. “I’m a big believer in the Holy Spirit,” More said, hoping that perhaps a benefactor or people wanting to help may reach out financially. She said her wish list would include a bigger warehouse and another truck to move items, perhaps even leading

A SUMMER SERIES on

As the Church joyfully anticipates the September canonization of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, The Monitor presents a summer-long series that examines the challenge of combatting poverty in our time, a cause to which the future saint devoted much of her ministry. This series sheds light on the many ways that local agencies, communities and people within the Diocese of Trenton are giving witness to the Holy Year of Mercy as they work to help those in the greatest need.

POVERTY to hiring two paid employees to help with the workload that currently falls entirely on volunteers. Daughter of Charity Sister Joanne Dress, diocesan executive director of social services, praised the Selective Seconds program for being a good example of the St. Vincent de Paul mission “and of their respect for the dignity of each person/family.”  Good work, More said, carried out by volunteers who help clean, fix and wash everything from dishes to linens – not to mention those who give their time physically moving the items into the store or to people’s homes. “These are beautiful things,” she said. “We are surrounded by some pretty affluent communities, and we’re blessed to get their items.” The Selective Seconds store is located in the rear of 911 Main Street, Belmar, and operates Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. 

Outreach combats homelessness Continued from • 6

Catholic Social Services, who lauded the subcommittee members for stepping forward to look at the homeless issue. “Throughout the year, our St. Vincent de Paul Society conferences along with other parish social concerns groups and our Catholic social service agencies in the Diocese receive requests for help from the homeless in Ocean County,” she said. “They are intimately aware of the difficulty of assisting individuals/ families caught in this situation, particularly during the summer tourist season at the Shore,” she said. During the summer at the Jersey Shore, she explained, countless individuals and families who live in “winter rentals” such as hotel rooms during the off season, scramble, often unsuccessfully, to find housing in the summer when those rentals are unavailable. Beyond St. Vincent de Paul conferences, Sister Joanne has facilitated meetings of Catholic social service outreach representatives from parishes and diocesan agencies in

each county of the Diocese. She said homelessness is often identified as “one of the greatest unmet needs.” Calling the Ocean County subcommittee’s effort, “well-organized and concerted,” she praised the diligence in collecting data, working on community awareness and exploring ways to give a “helping hand up” as the members focus on long-term advocacy goals. Looking to the future, Mauro hopes to see a “single point of contact” system in place so that people in need aren’t shuttled around when seeking help. The subcommittee also envisions finding a way to “form an address” for people who are homeless in order to easily contact those who need help. “We need to focus on who to get in touch with and how do we work together long term to solve this issue,” she said. “A major goal is to form relationships with our officials, with social services and other like-minded organizations.” “Right now, we are organizing ourselves to be more efficient and effective.”

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE •

Household items at the Selective Seconds store in Belmar range from couches and chairs to linens, lamps, china and more. John Batkowski photo


SPECIAL REPORT 9

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com

Seeking to improve health of body and soul Access to health care a basic human right, Church teaches Story by Patrick T. Brown Correspondent

CARE FOR ALL •

Dr. Kelly Kao and Judy Chang engage a young patient at Qishan Child Early Intervention and Development Center in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, in this undated photo. Catholic social teaching considers health care to be a basic human right.

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he advice is seen in greeting cards, Hollywood films and doctor’s offices across the country – “If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.”

The importance of an individual’s health in the context of Catholic social teaching can’t be summed up any more pithily than that. “One’s ability to live a fully human life and to reflect the unique dignity that belongs to each person is greatly affected by health,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in its November 1981 pastoral letter, “Health and Health Care.” “For the Church, health and the healing apostolate take on special significance because … the Church considers health care to be a basic human right which flows from the sanctity of human life.” Providing health care services has been a part of the Church’s ministry since the early days of the first Christian community, which took inspiration from Jesus’ healing acts. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick traces its history to its institution – “by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament … and [was] promulgated by James the

CNS photo/courtesy Catholic San Francisco

apostle,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Acts of healing and care for the ill were a hallmark of the first Christians, and throughout the centuries, the Church has provided places of care and comfort for the ill, orphaned, widowed, poor or otherwise in need, many times through institutions sponsored by religious congregations. Some of the first social services in the United States were provided by a congregation of Ursuline Sisters from France, who established a school and charitable care in New Orleans in 1727. Catholic hospitals became important centers of health care through the middle 20th century – Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate estimates there were about 800 Catholic hospitals nationwide in the 1960s. As the health care profession has become more specialized, clinics run directly by religious congregations have

given way to larger faith-based hospitals and health systems. One example of the trend toward consolidation in the Diocese is St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton, which was founded by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia in 1874. It is now part of Michigan-based Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. Another, also part of Trinity Health, is the Lourdes Health System, which includes the Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County hospital in Willingboro. This system was founded in 1950 by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y. Today, CARA counts 541 Catholic hospitals, providing care at nearly 88 million hospital visits in 2015. According to the Catholic Health Association, roughly one in six patients in the United States receives care from a Catholic hospital. Catholic hospitals are known

Health Care

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

Mother Teresa

A SUMMER SERIES on

As the Church celebrates the canonization of St. Teresa of Kolkata, The Monitor concludes its summerlong series that examines the challenge of combatting poverty in our time, a cause to which the saint devoted much of her ministry. To catch up on this series, go to TrentonMonitor.com and click on NEWS > ISSUES.

POVERTY

throughout the health care industry for providing services that are traditionally unprofitable, such as uncompensated care for the un- or under-insured, hospice and geriatric services, and coordinating with social services to build a culture of health. Catholic Charities nationwide, which often partners with Catholic hospitals to build a supportive network around patients at risk, reports providing more than 406,000 behavioral and mental health services in 2015. It also specializes in providing care and referrals to pregnant and at-risk mothers, providing pregnancy support services to more than 128,768. But while providing direct health care services is the work of a highlySee Church • 11

Where you live may affect life expectancy, study finds By Patrick T. Brown Correspondent

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he four counties that compose the Diocese of Trenton encompass urban neighborhoods, rural farmland and oceanside communities. Amid that geographic diversity includes a number of factors that impact health and life expectancy. According to a new study paid for by the Princeton-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, the area in which one is born can have a dramatic impact on not only the quality of someone’s life, but its length as well. For example, researchers found, the average life expectancy in zip code 08611, south of downtown Trenton, is 73 years – 14 years less than for babies born a short drive away in zip code 08550, near Princeton Junction. These gaps in health across neighborhoods originate from one or many socioeconomic factors. Research suggests communities that struggle to support high-quality schools often suffer in providing jobs and a thriving economy. Unsafe housing can lead to allergens or overcrowding. Living in a “food desert,” where no fresh groceries are available, can leave families subsisting on unhealthy food. Researchers also pointed to living in industrial

Source: The Foundation © 2016 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

areas, polluted by toxic agents, without access to good hospitals or isolated from social services as a contributing factor in poor health and perpetuating the cycle of poverty. The researchers wrote that in order to build a “culture of health,” one in which every person has an equal opportunity to live the healthiest life possible, “we must improve people’s opportunities to be healthier in the places where they live, learn, work and play.” Improving people’s opportunities to health also

extends into being aware of a person’s safety, as other factors related to well-being can be correlated with life expectancy. Mary Pettrow, associate director for Catholic Charities’ Providence House Domestic Violence Services, said victims of domestic violence can see their health adversely impacted, which in turn, can reduce life expectancy. “Between physical abuse and emotional distress, when they’re in a violent situation, it takes a considerable toll on their health,” she said. Pettrow cited statistics from a 1997 study in the American Journal of Public Health that show “mothers experiencing homelessness have three times the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder and twice the rate of drug and alcohol dependence.” “Community health is complicated,” said Bob Atkins, director of New Jersey Health Initiatives and an Associate Professor at Rutgers University, on the work of building a “culture of health.” “We have to create opportunities for solutions to come not from the top … but from community members themselves. Individuals from a cross section of the community need to agree on the biggest local challenges, what assets they have to draw on, and the best solutions for a path forward,” he wrote for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Associate Editor Jennifer Mauro contributed to the reporting of this story.


10 SPECIAL REPORT

THE MONITOR • SEPTEMBER 8, 2016

Quality of Life

Homebound seniors a little less isolated thanks to Mount Carmel Guild nurses By Dubravka Kolumbic-Cortese Correspondent

Volunteers to help the homebound always needed

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or many, a person’s home is their sanctuary – a safe, familiar place – but for homebound seniors with health issues and financial woes, being able to remain within the comfort of their homes can mean even more, affording them dignity, a fundamental need at a time when much of their independence may be waning. The desire to continue to live independently, however, comes with a price – a price much of the aging population cannot afford. That’s where organizations such as the Diocese’s Mount Carmel Guild come in. For 75 years, the nonprofit has been providing free, in-home nursing care to Mercer County seniors older than 65 who don’t qualify for Medicaid. Home Health Nursing Program Director Corinne Janoska, a registered nurse, along with fellow nurse Gina Breth currently cares for 62 homebound seniors. “Many of them are at or below poverty level,” Janoska said. “But they are short of being able to qualify for Medicaid. “Most of them don’t leave the home,” she continued. “For the most part, they are homebound. Sometimes they don’t even have family to come and take them out, so they are really isolated.” For the past year, Rose Parziale, 85, has not ventured outside the quaint ranch in Trenton that she and her disabled son have called home for more than 50 years. Parziale suffers from a

Health Care HOME CARE • Mount Carmel Guild nurse Corinne Janoska tends to Rose Parziale in her Trenton home. Parziale, 85, has been receiving in-home care from the guild’s Home Health Nursing Program, of which Janoska is director, for two years. Parziale lives in her home with her son, Robert. Dubravka Kolumbic-Cortese photo host of health issues, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and, most recently, mild dementia. She relies on Janoska to line up her pills for the week. “If I had to do it, I’d go crazy,” Parziale said. Parziale also worries what would happen to her son if she had to leave her home. “I like it here,” she said. “I can do what I want. When you are in an apartment, you have too many bosses. You can’t do the things you can do at home.” Parziale is part of what appears to be an overlooked population of seniors who don’t seem to fit neatly into a

health care category. They don’t qualify for Medicaid or any of the extra services it provides, yet they are not financially stable enough to secure the health and home care they require to continue living independently. And living independently may be key to their survival.

Dignity of a Home Janoska said she has seen time and again how a move to a nursing home can often signal the beginning of a senior’s downward spiral. Some seniors are still living in the homes in See Mount • 19

The Mount Carmel Guild’s Home Health Nursing Program often calls on Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County, a group of more than 350 trained volunteers who provide free services for the homebound through its Neighbor Helping Neighbor program. Volunteers help with daily chores, such as grocery shopping, transportation to doctor visits, paperwork, paying bills, light housekeeping and even minor home repairs. “They perform little deeds with great love,” ICGMC executive director Jane Latini said. ICGMC is composed of volunteers from 30 different faith organizations, with 15 of them being Catholic: Blessed Sacrament-Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd, Divine Mercy, St. Joseph, Our Lady of the Angels, Sacred Heart, St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, all Trenton; Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony and St. Raphael-Holy Angels, both Hamilton; St. Ann, Lawrenceville; St. Gregory the Great, Hamilton Square; St. James, Pennington; St. John the Baptist, Allentown; St. Mary, Bordentown; St. Vincent de Paul, Yardville; Incarnation-St. James, Ewing. While there is a need for home aides for the elderly, Mount Carmel Guild staff cautioned their clients are not always receptive to having strangers in their home. With that in mind, another way people can help is through monetary donations specifically for the cost of the patients’ prescription medicines. TO LEARN MORE about these organizations and how you can help, visit Mount Carmel Guild at www.mcgtrenton.org and ICGMC at www.icgmc.org.

Advocates strive to break the link between poverty and mental illness By Lois Rogers Correspondent

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et’s call him “Harry,” for in the best St. Vincent de Paul tradition, anonymity is both a mercy and a virtue. He emerged, like a prophet of old, in the heart of an Ocean Grove Methodist Camp Meeting. There, after years of living rough on the streets, Harry conceived a mission: to live a “normal” life dedicated to helping his homeless brothers and sisters in the Asbury ParkOcean Grove area. An “incredible man, full of the love of Jesus,” as one Vincentian described him, Harry assumed the role of liaison between the nearby Vincent de Paul conference in St. Rose Parish, Belmar, and his homeless friends. With the assistance of St. Vincent de Paul volunteers, he deftly employed the knowledge gained during his own homeless experiences to help facilitate housing and other social services for his “folks.”

Vincentian volunteers recall Labor Day cookouts on the beach coordinated by the conference and their newly housed visitors, where everyone would “chat and mingle” breaking bread together as the perfect coda to the summer season. But, “as far as health issues, Harry’s health, along with any of our neighbors who spent time on the street, was negatively affected,” a Vincentian volunteer related. “The summers and winters take their toll on the body. Mental illness, addiction, lack of proper nutrition and hydration, no shelter from the elements and insufficient medical attention all contribute to our client’s deterioration.” Like so many struggling with mental illness, Harry relied on hospital emergency rooms when he felt physically in need of seeing a physician. In reflection, the Vincentian volunteer noted sadly that “even when they are taken to the emergency room for treatment, they are prematurely released back on the streets.”

Harry’s homelessness and mental despondency conspired to create a deadly legacy: colon cancer, emphysema and diabetes. He would die of a heart attack while volunteering at a food pantry in Bradley Beach. Harry’s story and those of others in the area are woven into the consciousness of the Vincentian volunteers. Along with so many others, including the social workers of Catholic Charities and nonprofits around the Diocese, advocates strive against great odds to secure health care for their clients that will break the link between poverty and mental illness.

An overall approach This June, after 20 years wearing a number of hats with Catholic Charities in the Trenton Diocese, Joyce Campbell became executive director of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. The nonprofit’s main building, located in downtown Trenton, is ringed by 13 satellites in neighboring com-

munities including Hightstown and Princeton. With the main focus on hunger: last year alone the agency provided 290,000 meals to those in need. The total included the “Send Hunger Packing” campaign during the school year, which provided healthy snacks and sandwiches for youngsters in 14 schools who otherwise might go hungry over the weekends. Campbell said the level of mental illness among those who turn to the soup kitchen for food is very high, especially among those who are homeless. “Trying to access (mental) health care when you are homeless is the biggest single issue impacting the low income mentally ill. Lack of stable housing also means there is a lack of stability for mental health,” she said. “The two go together very clearly.” “Right now, there’s a national movement relating lack of housing to health care, particularly for those who are mentally ill. If you are able to put See Poverty • 11


SPECIAL REPORT 11

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com

Health-care challenges another hurdle for domestic violence survivors *Editor’s note: To protect the identity of this Providence House client, only her first name is being used. By Rose O’Connor Correspondent

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n both of her feet, 38-year-old Lauren has a tattoo. On her left is the word “survival,” the “l” fashioned with a blue ribbon, the symbol for traumatic brain injury awareness. On her right are the words “love you,” the “l” made with a purple ribbon, the color associated with domestic violence awareness. For Lauren, a domestic abuse survivor, these tattoos are not the only permanent effects left from an abusive relationship. Lauren suffers from a brain injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She was fortunate that she had health insurance to cover the numerous physician visits that stemmed from the domestic violence. Many are financially challenged and do not have the coverage or monetary resources to seek help, said Mary Pettrow, associate director for

Providence House Domestic Violence Services, a program run by the Diocese’s Catholic Charities. In addition, “A lot of times, women won’t seek medical attention because their abusers are the primaries on the health insurance,” Pettrow said. Plus, she cited statistics from The National Center on Family Homelessness that, “Approximately 50 percent of all women who are homeless report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness.” But Lauren’s story, like her tattoos, is one that reflects survival and, ultimately, self-acceptance and self-love.

Medical Attention Four years ago, Lauren, having marital difficulties, began a personal relationship with a childhood acquaintance while in the midst of filing for divorce from her husband. The relationship, she acknowledged, was one that gave her “a false sense of comfort.” She soon realized the relationship was dangerous and that the man suffered from a “handful of mental and substance abuse issues.” The situation

quickly turned violent, and as Lauren gathered the courage to leave the relationship, one evening, the violence escalated – ending with Lauren drifting in and out of consciousness as a result of her head being slammed on a tile floor. She ended up in the Trauma Center at Cooper University Hospital, Camden, where she was diagnosed with a concussion. She did not report the abuse and stayed in the relationship for a few more months. It was when she was going through the process to attempt to obtain a restraining order that she was referred by the local police department to the Providence House services. With locations in both Burlington and Ocean counties, Providence House provides assistance with helping those in need separate from abusive individuals, change living situations and work on empowerment strategies while providing a safe place to escape abuse. Lauren was left with both physical and psychological injuries. Luckily, her doctor visits with a neurologist and mental health professionals were covered under insurance.

Health Care SURVIVOR • Lauren is a Providence House client who has a brain injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from domestic violence. Advocates say it is often difficult for people in an abusive relationship to seek the health care they need. Rose O’Connor photo Over time, Lauren found the courage to leave the relationship. “I thought he would kill me accidently. I thought he may kill me See Survivor • 31

Poverty compounds challenges for those with mental illness Continued from • 10

people into housing, you are able to wrap services around them so that they don’t end up in hospital emergency rooms.” In New Jersey, she said, advocates are looking to try to have Medicaid pay for support services in housing as a health service. Catholic Charities is working along a similar line with its Housing First Rapid Rehousing program, she said. While Campbell acknowledged the program is not primarily for those with mental illness, it is a trend toward viewing housing as a health service, she said. Without permanent housing, clients are more than likely to turn toward hospital emergency rooms for assistance, which offer a safe haven from the street or shelters that can pose hazards of their own, said Drew Wisloski, director of Catholic Charities’ PACT (Program of Assertive Community Treatment), a holistic approach that combines psychiatric and medical services. Established in 1996, the program was the first of its kind in New Jersey.

Integrated Care PACT is focused on clients who are estranged from their families, have a limited ability to maintain employment and struggle with very scarce financial sources. Some are fortunate to live in subsidized housing, Wisloski said, and some are homeless. The PACT program serves Mercer and Burlington counties and is available in Lakewood in Ocean County, Wisloski said. Since the stress of poverty and near-poverty can harm both physical and mental health, each team includes a registered nurse, social workers and a case manager who meet with clients on a daily basis and are available 24 hours, seven days a week by phone.

A psychiatrist monitors medications and also helps clients with nutrition education and other healthy lifestyle choices. “With poverty and (mental) illness, there are few choices,” Wisloski said, adding that those with mental illness are likely to find the state’s shelters “too few and too challenging to spend even a day or two.” “I had a gentleman walk in (to the office) the other day and say he feels safer on the street,” Wisloski said. “It’s not an uncommon experience.” Crystal Smith is a social worker and program supervisor with PACT. Out in the field to make visits to her team, she sees firsthand the hardships involved with trying to access mental health care. “Unless you are super rich,” she said, “it is difficult to access mental health care. For middle-class people and people on fixed incomes, trying to (cover) the cost of the medication is unbelievable.” “Without having any insurance, where can you find someone who will treat you?” she continued. “We have individuals who for one reason or another didn’t want to utilize PACT, and finding a psychiatrist is next to impossible. Finding a child psychiatrist is nearly impossible. It’s on the lower rung of medicine, very near the bottom.” Those who qualify for PACT find support and resources – a small amount of money toward housing, food, clothing, counseling and – vitally important – social contact that can help overcome the stress and depression caused by poverty, Wisloski said. It offers patient treatment geared toward ending the “revolving door” that quickly returned patients to the community only to see them be sent back. Most often these days, the revolving door

leads to a hospital emergency room, which Wisloski likened to a temporary oasis. “It is clean, it is safe. It is cool in the summer and warm in the winter,” he said. “Most importantly, there is positive regard from the staff. The members of the medical profession are taught to accept without stigma, those living with mental illness, poverty and the like.” “This is what happens in the emergency room. The person goes into a safe, nonjudgmental (atmosphere) where they receive respect. It may be the only place they get respect. They may also get a cheese sandwich and a cup of coffee.” “If you are hungry and it is the middle of the night, this is a big deal,” said Wisloski, who noted that it’s no wonder emergency

rooms are ports of refuge. “It’s not as if we have centers like that throughout the community staffed 24/7. There is no place else to go.” He compared the emergency room approach to a “double-edged sword” that ends up reinforcing the behavior. Programs such as PACT reflect the trend toward integrated care that assists patients before they are terribly ill. “Our responsibility is not to keep people out of the hospital but to move them several steps away, to provide a network of support that allows them to suffer stress without immediately going into an institution.” “It’s been a movement for several years,” he said. “What you hope for ideally is to help reintroduce the expectation that life has something to offer besides medication and treatment.”

Church plays role in health care Continued from • 9

trained few, all Catholics are asked to ensure that their sisters and brothers have access to health care services. A common electoral issue for those comparing political candidates, the U.S. bishops – as well as the worldwide Church – encourage voters to weigh how best to ensure access to health care. “Health is not a consumer good, but a universal right, so access to health services cannot be a privilege,” Pope Francis said during a meeting last May with members of a non-profit group providing medical services in Africa. Their missionary work is an expression of “a Church that is not a superclinic for VIPs, but a field hospital,” the Pope said.

In the United States, ensuring access to health care was a key principle of the USCCB’s support for efforts to reform the health care system to aid the poor and uninsured. “Despite an increase in the number of people insured, millions of Americans still lack health care coverage,” the U.S. Bishops wrote in their election-year document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” “The nation’s health care system needs to … meet the needs of the poor and uninsured, especially born and unborn children, pregnant women, immigrants and other vulnerable populations,” the Bishops wrote, saying that expanded health care coverage remains “an urgent national priority.”


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SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 • TrentonMonitor.com

Mount Carmel Guild nurses provide care, kinship to those they visit Continued from • 10

which they were raised. Moving from comfortable and familiar surroundings to a strange, new place can be jarring in itself, but for a senior with health issues, it can be soul crushing. Which is why allowing them the dignity of remaining in their homes, she said, is a priceless service. “People want to stay in their homes,” Janoska said. “When they go into the nursing home, they don’t last long. That’s why our program is so critical.” She said many of the seniors the guild serves can barely afford basic living expenses. “Some have air conditioning, some don’t. Some have air but can’t afford to pay the electric bill. A lot of the homes we go into are hot. They might put (the air) on for us, but they turn it off as soon as we leave.” The guild’s services often go beyond nursing. Unable to leave their homes for a variety of reasons, many seniors are unable to pick up prescriptions or groceries. Because they can’t afford in-home help, many chores as simple as laundry also become daunting. Janoska said one of the guild’s clients can no longer navigate her basement stairs with laundry in tow, so she asks a local utility worker for help. “We don’t just do our visits,”

Janoska stressed. “We’ll bring them food; we’ll pick up their prescriptions.” For example, Breth brings orange juice on a regular basis to one of her patients. Janoska makes special trips to deliver bouquets when the guild receives a donation of fresh flowers. “You need those two pieces to stay in a home,” Janoska said. “We provide the nursing,” but, “they need a home health aide to help with personal care and housekeeping, laundry, food shopping. There’s just not enough services for that.”

Helping Hands One local volunteer group is trying to help. Janoska said she often calls on Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County, a group of more than 350 trained volunteers from various parishes who help the homebound with daily chores such as grocery shopping, doctors’ visits, paperwork and bills. “If we had more home health aide services in the home, these people would be safer, and they would be well taken care of,” Janoska said. “They sometimes survive in filth because they can’t clean it themselves.” Thanks to donations and grants, Mount Carmel Guild is able to accept every patient referred to its program. Most of the referrals, she said, come

transportation service is stretched thin. “By us coming into the home, we test it [Coumadin], we call the cardiologist’s office and speak to the Coumadin nurse, and we get to change the Coumadin right then and there when we change the pill box. It’s huge, because if they were going out to get their bloodwork done and wait three days for the results, then we’d have to go back again and change it.”

Personal Connections LIKE FAMILY • Rose Parziale, 85, receives

in-home care thanks to the Mount Carmel Guild. The nurses who visit clients like Parziale are like family to those they support. Dubravka Kolumbic-Cortese photo

from health care services such as Holy Redeemer HomeCare and Mercer Home Health Care after seniors exhaust their allotted weeks of care. “A lot of times, if it wasn’t for us, and there was a need, they would have nobody,” Janoska said. Last year, for example, a local cardiologist began referring his homebound patients who are on the heart medication Coumadin to the guild. “Transportation is a huge problem,” Janoska said, explaining that her patients cannot afford private transportation services, and the county’s

Many of the guild’s patients don’t have family involved in their lives, so often, the nurse’s visit is the only face-toface contact they have on a regular basis. “We’re sometimes their only family,” Janoska said. “They grow very attached to us, and us to them, as well. That’s evident when Parziale talks about the impact Janoska and the guild’s services have had on her quality of life. The guild, for example, is working on securing her a wheelchair and ramp so she can be more mobile. She said the small, thoughtful gestures are often as important as the health care provided, immediately mentioning a special trip Janoska made to her home to deliver a bouquet of flowers. “If it wasn’t for [Corinne], I don’t know what I’d do,” Parziale said. “I can’t explain. She is doing all she can for me.”

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A Series on Poverty from The Monitor