Author Archives: Catholic Charities

July 23, 2014—MANSFIELD—Catholic Charities will host a Guardian and Caregiver Support Group meeting 6-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 6, at Resurrection Church, 2600 Lexington Avenue, Lexington, Ohio 44904.

The Guardian and Caregiver Support Group meetings are held every other month to educate and support those who are guardians or caregivers to elderly individuals. August guest speaker, Beverly Tatro, will discuss the importance of ombudsman services for adult guardianship. Beverly is the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program Director for the Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging in Mansfield.

The meetings are free and open to the public. For additional information, please contact Brenda Starr-Jude at 419-524-0733 ext. 223 or

July 23, 2014—TOLEDO—In celebration of Catholic Charities 100th Anniversary Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity and Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo will be celebrating the beginning of a home rehab construction project and Catholic Charities 100th anniversary, with a blessing ceremony on July 30, 2014 at 9:00AM, at 3036 Strathmoor in Toledo.

The soon-to-be first time homeowners, the Hagerman-Phillips family, will be in attendance along with key sponsors from Catholic Charities, Diocese of Toledo and Bank of America (which donated the foreclosed home) and the Lucas County Housing Fund/Lucas County Land Bank.

With the help of countless volunteers from Maumee St. Joseph, Perrysburg St. Rose, St. John XXIII, Sylvania St. Joseph and Toledo St. Joan of Arc parishes and the Catholic Charities staff, it is anticipated that the home will be completed in early September.

As a Habitat partner family, John and Trisha will have performed over 500 hours of sweat equity working on their home, in the Habitat ReStore and on the homes of others, as a requirement for becoming a Habitat homeowner. Through contributions of money, property, materials and volunteer labor, Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity will complete the rehab of the home and sell it the Hagerman-Phillips family at an affordable price. The family will purchase the home with a zero-interest loan and their monthly mortgage payments will be used to build more Habitat homes.

“We are very excited about helping Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo celebrate this milestone anniversary and we are honored to work side by side with the parishes and this great organization that serves our community through food, shelter and adoption services.” says Michael McIntyre, Executive Director of the Maumee Valley affiliate. “The hard work of the parish volunteers will give this home new life and this family a wonderful future. This rehab project and all Maumee Valley Habitat build and repair projects create a better future for our area families and communities through volunteerism. Maumee Valley Habitat, Catholic Charities and other corporate and government partners like Bank of America and the Lucas County Housing Fund, are committed to providing the tools to fight poverty housing in our community and creating stable and safe neighborhoods for our children.”

“We are thankful that Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity has agreed to partner with us in our 100th Anniversary year,” says Rodney Schuster, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. “Habitat’s approach fits with our mission, which is to provide a hand up, not just a hand out. This helps provide dignity to the people being served by these new home projects. We are especially grateful for the participation of five local parishes. It’s an example of the church making a difference in our community.”

July 9, 2014—TOLEDO—Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo will host a workshop on openness in adoption 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 15, at Catholic Charities, 1933 Spielbusch Ave., Toledo, Ohio.

Linda Schellentrager, an adoptive mom and communications manager of Adoption Network Cleveland, will present: ‘Embracing Openness for a Lifetime.’

Mrs. Schellentrager and her husband, Marty, enjoy an open adoption relationship with the birth family of their son Eric, who was adopted as an infant and is now a U.S. Marine.  She presents at Adoption Network’s Adoption 101 workshop, speaks at local agencies, teaches adoption assessor trainings, and educates master’s level social workers at Case Western University.  In April 2012, she spoke on “Honoring Our Children by Honoring Their Heritage” with another adoptive mother at the American Adoption Congress National Conference in Denver, Colorado.  She has also presented her family’s experience at Coordinators2Inc Opening Adoptions Symposium in Richmond, Virginia. 

Adoptive families, birth parents, social workers and those interested in learning more about adoption are welcome to attend the workshop.  A donation of $20 is appreciated and will be given to Adoption Network Cleveland.  Please register in advance to Elyse Stirton at or 419-244-6711, ext. 226.

In almost three months, Robert Lupton, nationally renowned author and urban activist in Atlanta, will be a guest speaker  for our 100th Anniversary Celebration in Mansfield.  His latest book, “Toxic Charity,” will be the topic of conversation as members of the Mansfield community come together to find ways to help those who are in need.

For more information about the 100th Anniversary Celebration in Mansfield, please click here.

Urban Activist And Author Relates Problems with Charity Work
By Josef Kuhn
Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) Food pantries, clothes closets and mission trips have become unquestioned bastions of America’s charitable landscape. But do these well-intended services — many of them run by religious organizations — really help the poor?

According to Robert Lupton, not really. His new book, “Toxic Charity,” draws on his 40 years’ experience as an urban activist in Atlanta, and he argues that most charitable work is ineffective or actually harmful to those it is supposed to help.

Lupton is the founder of FCS Urban Ministries, through which he has developed mixed-income subdivisions that house hundreds of families. He is the author of four other books and holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Georgia.

Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: You say churches and charities can harm those they propose to help. How?

A: Typically, the giving is one-way: those of us with the resources give to those with a lack of resources. One-way giving tends to make the poor objects of pity, which harms their dignity. It also erodes their work ethic and produces a dependency that is unhealthy both for the giver and the recipient.

Q: What is one of the worst instances of `toxic charity’ you have witnessed?

A: The food pantry idea has led to some fairly ugly relationships. The church or group sets up rules to govern how the food is distributed; the recipients figure out ways to circumvent those rules; and they become upset when they don’t get the food they wanted — there’s a kind of a built-in antagonism that grows between the dispensers and the recipients.

Q: Why do you think ill-formed charity is so pervasive?

A: The feel-good experience draws us back in. In our newsletters about mission trips we report how wonderful and grateful the people are, but what we don’t hear are the ways that the trips damage people behind the scenes.

I don’t think we’ve held up good models of development. When there’s a flood or a hurricane, folks continue operating on a one-way, crisis, give-to-the-poor mentality long after development should have taken place, because it’s easier for relief agencies to sell crisis than development and empowerment.

Q: You advise limiting one-way giving to “emergency situations.” What do you define as an emergency situation?

A: A home burning down, a bad hurricane, a devastating earthquake, a famine. What we interpret as crisis, particularly in the U.S., is a different matter. Many of those who are running our food pantries and our clothes closets, for example, feel they are meeting a crisis need of unemployed families. I contend that those are chronic poverty issues that deserve a development strategy.

Q: What is one of the best examples you have seen of a charity that works well?

A: We converted our food pantry into a food co-op. Members of the co-op put in $3 a week; with that, we can purchase $30 worth of groceries from the food bank. The members of the co-op actually own it, run it, collect the money, do the shopping and decide what the rules are. It becomes an empowering process.

Q: Are there any wide-scale studies or statistical data to support your claims?

A: On a national scale, look at the results of the one-way giving that has gone into countries in Africa or Haiti over the years. Those statistics are available, and they’re blatant. But I don’t know of any studies that have been done to quantify the harm versus the benefits of U.S. food distribution. It’s an unexamined industry.

Q: It seems like you could be facing some heat for this idea; what has been the reaction so far?

A: I’ve gotten mixed reviews. It confirms the suspicions of a growing number of people, but for those who are involved in the distribution, it feels like a slap in the face. I think the whole thing is going to be fairly controversial.

Q: What’s the most controversial idea in the book?

A: It might be that most of our service projects and mission trips are counterproductive. We spend as much as $5 billion dollars annually on mission trips, millions of Americans take them every year, and the amount of good accomplished is very, very minimal compared to the expenditures we’re laying out.

Q: Is your book a justification for libertarian politics?

A: I don’t think it is a political book at all. It is a practical book — it has to do with the practice of charity. It calls for responsible charity, examined charity, rather than mindless charity.

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July 2, 2014—NORWALK—Local residents who are struggling to manage household expenses can learn new tips at workshops hosted by Catholic Charities in Erie and Huron Counties. Those who attend a free Basic Budgeting Skills Workshop in July will be entered into drawings for a gas gift card.

Participants will learn about smart shopping, reducing expenses, household and utility savings, saving for future needs or emergencies, and paying off debt.

The workshop will be offered 1-3 p.m. Monday, July 7, and Monday, July 21, at Catholic Charities offices in Norwalk.  The workshop will also be offered 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at Holy Angels Catholic Church in Sandusky.  The workshops are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.

To register and for more information, please contact Catholic Charities at 419-668-3073, ext. 103 or  Funding for the workshops is provided by Norwalk Area United Fund and GeoTrac Foundation.

img_1096Catholic Charities is thankful to have the Catholic HEART Workercamp teens back at Helping Hands of St. Louis for the third year in a row. In past years, the high school volunteers built a handicap ramp and shelving for the clothing center, fixed a fence and landscaped.

This year, the teens painted several rooms in the outreach center, repaired broken concrete and installed a water drain. One teen astonished staff, volunteers and clients with a mural of Jesus in the soup kitchen cafeteria.

“I look forward to these students coming every year,” said Paul Cook, Helping Hands director.  “They do such a great job and make an impact on the surrounding neighborhood.  The students also seem to get a lot of fulfillment out of helping people.  They don’t often see this level of poverty, and it seems to open their eyes.”

June 30, 2014—TOLEDO—Beginning July 1, four local shelters will begin implementing efforts to reduce barriers for homeless families moving into permanent housing.  The efforts are made possible by a $60,000 grant from the Toledo Community Foundation through the ProMedica Advocacy Fund. 

Recipient shelters include Catholic Charities’ La Posada Family Emergency Shelter, Family House, Aurora Project and Bethany House.  Of the 381 families that were housed in these shelters last year, more than 150 faced barriers that delayed their transition into permanent housing by over a week.  Over 80 percent of the families had children under the age of 18.

The grant will be used to assist with utility costs, first month’s rent and other challenges that may hinder families from moving into permanent housing.

“This is an example of agencies coming together to find a way to best serve people in our community while reducing redundancies, cost and inefficiencies,” said Rodney Schuster, executive director of Catholic Charities.  “We are very excited for this partnership and look forward to success and positive results.”

June 30, 2014—TOLEDO—Catholic Charities’ Helping Hands of St. Louis will open its doors to a new client choice food pantry on Tuesday, July 1.  The pantry will be open every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Previously, clients who came to the Helping Hands’ pantry received pre-packaged bags with the same food items for each family.  “A lot of clients would receive food they wouldn’t use or their family didn’t need,” said Sue Shrewsbery, staff member at Helping Hands.  The food pantry provides an average of 200 bags of groceries each month.

The new format will provide clients with a grocery store atmosphere and allow clients to choose food based on their individual or family’s needs.  The pantry will be divided into nutritional categories: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meats and combination foods/miscellaneous.  Clients will also have the opportunity to pick items dependent on household size.

Helping Hands has partnered with the Toledo Lucas County Health Department for the creation of the client choice pantry.  The Health Department donated shopping carts, nutritional pamphlets and recipes. 

Catholic Charities also operates a client choice pantry in Mansfield, called the H.O.P.E. Pantry.  “The client choice format provides people with dignity because they are able to choose what is best for themselves and their family,” said Catholic Charities Executive Director Rodney Schuster.

MAY 21, 2014—NORWALK—Participants who attend a Basic Budgeting Skills Workshop offered by Catholic Charities in June will be entered in drawings for gas cards.  The two-hour workshops are hosted in Erie and Huron Counties.  

Participants will learn how to manage household expenses, pay off debt and save for the future.  The workshops are free and open to the public.

For workshop dates, times, locations or to register, please contact Catholic Charities at 419-668-3073, ext. 103 or  Funding for the workshops is provided by Norwalk Area United Fund and GeoTrac Foundation.

May 14, 2014—More than 60 volunteers were in attendance for the annual Volunteer Luncheon hosted by Catholic Charities on April 30.

The Richland County Probate Court was recognized as the 2014 Outstanding Community Supporter for their partnership with Catholic Charities’ Adult Advocacy program. Adult Advocacy provides legal guardianship for adults age 55 and older whom the probate court determines are unable to make their own medical, housing and legal decisions.

During the luncheon, Richland County Commissioners presented Catholic Charities with a proclamation, which honored the agency for 100 years of service in northwest Ohio and also recognized the agency’s volunteers. Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo was founded in 1914, and the Mansfield office opened in 1942.

Volunteers assist Catholic Charities in Mansfield in many ways by answering phones at the front desk, serving as guardians for elderly clients in the Adult Advocacy program, assisting clients in the H.O.P.E. Food Pantry and helping with the prescription, medical and rent assistance programs. In 2013, 100 volunteers contributed approximately 12,000 volunteer hours, which is valued at over $265,000 according to IRS standards.

“A friend told me about La Posada. I came and I was surprised because it doesn’t look like a shelter. It looks just like a home. I was so glad when they told me we could stay. They’ve been so good to me. Honestly, none of this would be happening if I hadn’t been here. They’ve helped me so much.” – Marquita, La Posada resident

Our Mission

Catholic Charities makes real the love that God has for each individual person regardless of their faith or background by serving the poor, speaking for and assisting the neglected and forgotten, respecting and promoting life from beginning to end and nurturing and supporting individuals and families.