According to a survey conducted by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, individuals who are members of the 69 Catholic parishes throughout Vermont participate in significant outreach and service to the greater Vermont community. One hundred percent of Catholic parishes in Vermont serve people who are hungry by conducting food drives, providing free meals, operating or donating to food shelves, and offering vouchers or direct financial aid.

Ninety-one percent of Catholic parishes in Vermont serve people living in poverty by providing vouchers and other forms of financial aid, having clothing drives, and operating thrift stores. Ninety percent of Catholic parishes in Vermont serve those who are ill or infirm by supporting residential care homes or nursing homes, providing support services in family homes, serving in hospitals or health clinics, and providing financial support. Fifty-seven percent of Catholic parishes in Vermont serve those who are experiencing homelessness by supporting housing services and shelters, providing transportation, and offering vouchers and other financial support. Twenty-eight percent of parishes in Vermont serve those who are or have been imprisoned through ministry outreach within prisons, financial and material support for those who have been recently released, and mentoring and education programs.

Catholic parishes throughout Vermont value the programs and services that already exist throughout the Green Mountain State and strive to support and collaborate with other organizations, such as Brattleboro Retreat, COTS, McClure-Miller Respite House, Hardwick Area Food Pantry, John Graham Housing and Services, Northeast Correctional Complex, Rutland Rehab, Vermont Food Bank, and many more.

The Catholic Church is recognized as the largest charity in the world, operating more than 140,000 schools, 5,000 hospitals and some 16,000 other health clinics. Catholic Relief Services has provided aid to 130 million people in more than 100 countries on five continents since it was founded in 1943. In America, Catholic Charities USA serves millions of people each year through activities such as housing, healthcare and disaster relief. Most of the 200,000 Catholic parishes throughout the world operate their own small-scale charitable projects, and the parishes of the Diocese of Burlington are doing their part to fulfill the mission of helping the most vulnerable among them.

The following statistics and examples are based on data from those Catholic parishes who responded to the 2019 Social Outreach Survey.

 

General

100 percent of Catholic parishes in Vermont participates in service to those who are experiencing hunger.

91 percent of Catholic parishes in Vermont serve those experiencing poverty.

90 percent of Catholic parishes in Vermont serve those who are ill or infirm.

57 percent of Catholic parishes in Vermont serve those who are experiencing homelessness.

28 percent of parishes in Vermont serve those who are or have been imprisoned.

 

Hunger

Catholic parishes in Vermont serve those who are experiencing hunger by sponsoring food drives (82 percent of parishes), providing free meals (54 percent of parishes), operating or donating to food shelves (22 percent of parishes), and offering vouchers or direct financial aid (65 percent of parishes).

Lisa Grover and Connie Goodrich, members of St. Peter Church in Vergennes, belong to a core group of about 10 parishioners who prepare and deliver fresh, home cooked meals to anyone who needs them, such as those who are elderly, homebound, or ill. “We’re not four-star chefs by any means,” laughed Grover. “But we are doing exactly what the bible tells us: Feed the hungry.” Some people require just a few meals, while others benefit from extended help.

Frank Russell and Mary Ann Church, members of St. Elizabeth Church and St. Anthony Church, respectively, are among volunteers from Our Lady of the Valley Parish, Christ Church, United Church, and Miller Church at the Bethel Area Food Shelf to address food insecurity in Bethel, East Bethel, Gaysville, Stockbridge, Pittsfield and Barnard.

 

Poverty

Catholic parishes in Vermont serve those who are experiencing poverty by providing vouchers and other forms of financial aid (60 percent of parishes), having clothing drives (29 percent of parishes), and operating thrift stores (13 percent of parishes).

Jon Walker and Daniel Heter, members of All Saints Knights of Columbus Council #2610 in Richford, helped with the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids project, which raised approximately $1,000 to purchase winter coats for 43 children in need of winter outerwear. The children attend Richford Elementary, Berkshire Elementary, Enosburg Elementary, and Montgomery Elementary.

Lori Daudelin, executive director of Joseph’s House in Burlington, explains that the outreach center serves 35-50 households each month. Support includes utility and rent assistance, bus passes, food cards, laundry vouchers, hygiene products, clothing vouchers, compassionate listening and other situation specific needs such as a pair of steel-toed boots a man needed for his job.

St. Andrew Parish in Waterbury is one of three churches comprising the ecumenical Community Action Service Team (CAST) which helps people in Waterbury and the surrounding area. “Laundry Love” is one of the services that CAST provides, supplying quarters to those who need them at a local laundromat on one Wednesday each month.

 

Homelessness

Faith Parkins, a member of Our Lady of Good Help Church in Brandon, is one of many local Catholics who volunteer at John Graham Housing and Services in Vergennes. She offers support in many ways, including providing transportation for those staying in the agency’s shelters or low-rent subsidized apartments to get to doctors’ appointments, mentoring young women, making and sharing meals, connecting residents to the local Hispanic community, finding interpreters for residents who  don’t speak English, and listening and conversation. “She brings hope and cultivates resiliency,” said Peter Kellerman, co-director of John Graham Housing and Services. “Faith brings a warmth, a can-do attitude and a kindness that has been a gift in direct services to people,” said Kate Schirmer-Smith, the other co-director.

 

Prison

Joanne Nelson, a member of the Essex Catholic Community and director of justice and mentoring programs for Mercy Connections in Burlington, oversees the provision of unique approaches and support for a range of individuals, mostly women who are in transition from treatment court, prison, addiction and/or mental health services. Mercy Connections’ Vermont Women’s Mentoring Program partners with the Vermont Department of Corrections to support women transitioning from Vermont’s correctional facilities. Nelson emphasized the importance of helping women make decisions that will keep them out of jail.

Ginny Carroccia, a member of St. Alphonsus Church in Pittsford, coordinates a Backpack Program to benefit Rutland Dismas House and the individuals who were formerly in prison who live there. Parishioners of St. Alphonsus donate money to purchase backpacks and donate items including soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, chapstick, shampoo, socks, coffee, paper towels, dish detergent and toilet paper to fill them. The backpacks and their contents help people transition to live outside of prison, since many don’t have anything.

 

Illness/Infirmity

Catholic parishes in Vermont serve those who are ill or infirm by supporting residential care homes or nursing homes (75 percent of parishes), providing support services in family homes (63 percent of parishes), serving in hospitals or health clinics (51 percent of parishes), and providing financial support to those who are ill or infirm (33 percent of parishes).

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Middlebury helps remove barriers to receiving medical care by partnering with a Mobile Medical Van that is provided and staffed by Mountain Health Center in Bristol. The van parks in the church parking lot two days each week. The mobile unit and federally qualified health center provides access to services that patients may not otherwise receive, including the Medication Assisted Treatment Program for opioid and alcohol dependence, help for substance use disorders, counseling and recovery coaching. “Providing these services to the community is important because opiates have ravaged Vermont and our country,” said Father Luke Austin, pastor.

 

The Catholic Church in Vermont partners with and supports other organizations to best serve those in need. Vermont’s Catholic community partners with or supports the following 144 organizations:

  1. Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital
  2. ANEW Place
  3. Ave Maria Community Cares Home
  4. BelAir
  5. Bennington Health & Rehab
  6. BERMMA
  7. Birchwood Nursing Home
  8. Black River Good Neighbors
  9. Brattleboro Retreat
  10. BROC
  11. Burlington Food Shelf
  12. Burlington Health & Rehab
  13. Canterbury Inn
  14. Cathedral Square
  15. Catholic Relief Services
  16. Centers for Living & Rehabilitation
  17. Central Vermont Medical Center
  18. Champlain Islanders Developing Essential Resources
  19. Charlotte Food Shelf
  20. Christian Service Committee
  21. Converse Home
  22. Community Cares Camp
  23. Community Cupboard
  24. Copley Hospital
  25. COTS
  26. Country Park
  27. Craftsbury Community Care Center
  28. Crescent Manor Nursing Home
  29. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
  30. Dayspring Pregnancy Care Center
  31. Derby Green
  32. Dismas House
  33. EastView
  34. ElderwoodNursing Home
  35. Essex Jericho Underhill Food Shelf
  36. Ethan Allen Residence
  37. Feed My Starving Children
  38. Fillmore Pond
  39. Forest Hill Community Care Home
  40. Franklin County Rehab
  41. Gathering Place
  42. Gazebo Senior Living
  43. Genesis Elder Care
  44. Gifford Hospital
  45. Giordano Manor
  46. Good Neighbor Fund
  47. Good Samaritan Haven
  48. Greater Bennington Interfaith Food and Fuel Fund
  49. Greensboro Nursing Home Habitat for Humanity
  50. Hardwick Area Food Pantry
  51. Have-a-Heart Food Shelf
  52. Haven food shelf
  53. Heavenly Pantry
  54. HIS Pantry
  55. Hinesburg Food Shelf
  56. Holiday House
  57. Holton Home
  58. HOPE Food Shelf
  59. Janet S. Munt Family Room
  60. Jericho Food Shelf
  61. John Graham Housing and Service
  62. Johnson Food Shelf Breakfast on Us Program
  63. Joseph’s House
  64. St. Joseph/KervickResidence
  65. Knights of Columbus
  66. Kurn Hattin Homes
  67. Lamoille Food Share
  68. Lamoille Home Health
  69. Lamoille Homeless shelter
  70. Lamoille County Mental Health
  71. Loretto Home
  72. Mad River Valley Interfaith Council Fund/Food Shelf
  73. Mad River Valley Senior Center at Evergreen Place
  74. Manor Nursing Home
  75. Maple Lane
  76. Martha’s Kitchen
  77. McAuley Square
  78. McClure-Miller Respite House
  79. Meadow View Memory Care Center
  80. Meadows Nursing Homes
  81. Meals on Wheels
  82. Menig Nursing Home
  83. Michaud Manor
  84. Middlesex Community Residents
  85. Northeast Correctional Complex
  86. Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital
  87. Northern State Correctional Facility
  88. Northwest State Correctional Facility
  89. Northwestern Medical Center
  90. New North End Food Pantry
  91. Newport Health Care
  92. North Country Hospital
  93. Our Lady of Providence Residential Care Facility
  94. Our Lady of the Meadows
  95. Our Place Drop inCenter Parks Place
  96. Pittsford Food Shelf Pine Heights
  97. Porter Medical Center
  98. Porter Nursing Home
  99. Richford Ave Maria
  100. Ringers
  101. River’s Edge Nursing Home
  102. Rutland Regional Correctional Center
  103. Rutland Regional Medical Center
  104. Rutland Rehab
  105. St. Albans Rehab
  106. St. Brigid’s Kitchen & Pantry
  107. St. Johnsbury House
  108. St. Monica Food Shelf
  109. St. Vincent de Paul
  110. Salvation Army
  111. Samaritan’s Purse
  112. Small Potatoes
  113. Special Olympics
  114. Spectrum Youth
  115. Springfield Rehab
  116. Starr Farm
  117. Sterling House
  118. Southeast Correctional Facility
  119. Southwestern Vermont Medical Center
  120. The Colchester Community Food Shelf
  121. The Pines
  122. The PolattaMemorial Fund
  123. The Rehab Center
  124. The Residence at Otter Creek
  125. The Village at White River Junction
  126. The Waterbury Inn
  127. Thompson House
  128. Tim’s House
  129. Union House
  130. United Way of Lamoille County
  131. University of Vermont Medical Center (pastoral care)
  132. Valley Terrace
  133. Valley Vista Rehabilitation
  134. Vergennes Residential
  135. Vermont Catholic Charities
  136. Vermont Food Bank
  137. Vermont Right to Life
  138. Vermont Veteran’s Home
  139. Vernon Green
  140. Vernon Hall
  141. Wallingford Thrift Shop
  142. Waterbury Food Shelf
  143. Waterbury Senior Center
  144. Williston and Richmond food shelf

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