Sharing smiles and sandwiches
When it comes to volunteers and financial help, COTS can count on the Catholic Church in Vermont.
From participating in the annual walk-a-thon to serving meals to homeless persons, parishioners, Catholic school students, diocesan employees and members of religious orders are there the help the Committee on Temporary Shelter in Burlington.
Eileen O’Rourke, executive director of human resources for the Diocese, helps prepare and serve a monthly lunch to persons in need; for her it is a way to give back to the community and to thank God for her many blessings. “If I can bring a smile to someone by preparing and serving food to others, this also brings a smile to me for giving back to those in need,” she said.
Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne, who personally underwrites the cost of the COTS meals served by diocesan employees, said this service is a way for employees to participate in the works of mercy that are already being done in the community rather than duplicating services. “In this way, too, we Catholics are participating in fostering the common good of our community while spreading the seeds of Christ beyond our churches and our parishes.”
Last year, COTS served nearly 2,400 people, including 855 children, through emergency shelter, homelessness prevention and rehousing services and housing.
Last year seven Catholic-based teams participated in the COTS Walk, raising more than $25,000.
“The Catholic community has generously raised $100,888 for the COTS Walk in the past five years. Wow and wow! That is amazing, and we are so incredibly grateful,” said Becky Holt, COTS director of development and communications. “The Catholic Church enables COTS to break the fall for people … facing the crisis of homelessness.”
The 29th Annual COTS Walk is May 6. Registration begins at 1 p.m., and the walk kicks off at 2 from Battery Park in Burlington.
For more information, go to cotsonline.org.
—Originally published in the Spring 2018 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.