BY ANDY BARTON
At Catholic Charities, we take pride in not having missed a day of meal service since we took over kitchen operations in 1994. We are particularly proud this tradition continued this past year during the challenges of the pandemic. Daily lunch service came in many iterations, but it never ceased, and that feat would not have been accomplished without our volunteers. Nor could we have picked up food donations, run coat drives for children, or provided food pantry services without your help and support. Without you, the thousands of people who depend on Catholic Charities – from Castle Rock to Helen Hunt to the Marian House – would have had a much worse experience during COVID-19.
Catholic Charities has always relied on the talent of those willing to give their time, but the past year has been different. Volunteering in 2020 and the first part of 2021 meant taking on significant risks. It meant leaving home in the midst of a statewide “Stay at Home” order. And still, every day, you showed up to serve our brothers and sisters. Between April 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021, 1,142 volunteers provided over 37,000 hours of service in the Marian House Kitchen, the Marketplace, teaching ESL classes and helping people find work in our Hanifen Employment Center.
While volunteers who worked through the pandemic kept Catholic Charities programs going, for some, the most selfless act was actually not volunteering. Those volunteers who sat out for their safety and for the safety of those around them made a difficult sacrifice. That sacrifice was for a greater good: those volunteers will help keep us going in the months and years ahead. The job duties may transform, the facilities may evolve, and the procedures may change, but we know the needs of our poor and vulnerable will remain. And you will be here, by our side, to meet those needs.
In Hebrews 6:10, we read, “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.” For those who have helped our poor and vulnerable through these difficult times, and for those who will be returning when the time is right, what you do will not be overlooked by God… or by Catholic Charities.
Thank you for your service, friendship, and compassion.
Andy Barton is the President and CEO of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado. This article first appeared in the Colorado Catholic Herald.