Helping serve and lift each other as ‘One Human Family’

Just days after the Catholic Charities Gala, the agency won a Silver Philly Award in the category of ‘Identity Campaign’ for the creation of their new logo which was featured in a recent edition of the Catholic Key. The Philly Awards are sponsored by NonProfit Connect. Pictured from left are Catholic Charities Board Chair Victor Ammons, CEO Chris Ice, and Director of Marketing and Communications Kevin Murphy. (Photo courtesy of NonProfit Connect)

By Megan Marley

“Bidder number 106—thank you so much! Bidder number 93—thank YOU so much! Bidder number 24—thank you so very much! Bidder number 168—thank you so VERY much!”

Auctioneer Trisha Brauer had her hands full keeping up with the steady stream of upraised paddle numbers, as persons attending the annual Catholic Charities Gala, held November 9 at the Marriott Muhlebach Hotel in downtown Kansas City, donated thousands of dollars to ‘fund-a-need’.

The event raised over $600,000 to support Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph’s ministries through event sponsorships, the ‘fund-a-need’ and an auction of a Chiefs VIP game experience, a Patrick Mahomes signed football and vacation packages to Mexico.

Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph is a diocesan-affiliated charitable organization offering emergency assistance, housing, workforce development, parenting and finances education, veterans services, disabilities and deaf services, adoption, health and wellness assistance, referrals and more. It is currently looking to expand its outreach into the 27 counties of the diocese.

“Our theme here tonight of ‘One Human Family’ suggests that we need to rally together to help our brothers and sisters in Christ in need, we need to serve their immediate needs and find ways to lift them to the dignity of self-reliance,” said Catholic Charities CEO Chris Ice in his address.

“We feel strongly we can do this by broadening our outreach by partnering with parishes across the diocese who are already providing so many services now, and taking our services to them and not waiting for them to come to us.”

“This year’s gala is specifically focused on us being able to go mobile,” explained Kevin Murphy, director of communications for Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Murphy said that the number of clients just coming out of Jackson and Buchanan Counties—each where a Catholic Charities site is located—totals 90 percent of those they serve. But he also said there is great need in other counties in the diocese: the Missouri Poverty Report showed there is a 21 percent poverty level in St. Clair, Henry and other counties.

Catholic Charities isn’t the only organization trying to help.

“There’s 32,000 charities in the state of Missouri. If you do just Kansas City-St. Joe, there’s 8,000. So what are we doing different than anybody else?” Murphy said in an interview.

The answer can be found in the process that begins each time someone comes to Catholic Charities.

“We listen to their story, we assess their needs, and then we take care of those immediate needs and relieve those anxieties and burdens,” Ice said. “Then we take it a step further.”

“We start addressing their spiritual needs as well—each of us has a body and a soul, and the soul is going to live forever,” he continued.

The welcoming center staff offers “to pray with all those who come to us: we offer to pray for them and their intentions, and we have a chapel to Our Lady Undoer of Knots, right where people can reflect and pray,” Ice said.

That’s what makes Catholic Charities different.

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Sunday
December 16, 2018
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph