by Bradford. R. Drake
Executive Director, Catholic Community Services of Utah
Cheesy artwork credit: NPAT professional design team
Editor’s note: We at NPAT invited our friends at Catholic Community Services to write a bit about their awesome, new(ish) partnership with the LDS Church. These two orgs, both as churches and as humanitarian entities, have had a long history of great collaboration to help people in need. Below are some great reasons to volunteer and keep giving to the LDS Church’s humanitarian fund. This is a little preview of an upcoming interview we’re planning with CCS and some LDS missionaries assigned to work with them.
For 70 years, Catholic Community Services of Utah (CCS) has been empowering people in need to reach self-sufficiency by providing essential services through 10 distinctive programs along the Wasatch Front and throughout Northern Utah. By giving strength to the weakest in our midst, CCS lovingly provides help and creates hope to those with the greatest need in our community, regardless of their race, religion, disability or other personal circumstances. CCS’ mission is to practice gospel values of love, compassion and hope through service, support and collaboration.
Our services specifically target the most marginalized in our community, including the homeless, low-income individuals, refugees, unaccompanied minors, immigrants, disabled people, and veterans. However, we could not provide these much needed services without the support of volunteers. Each year, we utilize 19,000 volunteers with over 85,000 hours of service. Our volunteers are vital in caring for the sick, poor, and refugee. Although our volunteers come from all walks of life, many of our most constant volunteers come from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Volunteers from The LDS Church serve lunch and dinner at our St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall, mentor refugee families or foster unaccompanied refugee minors in our Refugee Resettlement Program, and distribute food through our Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank.
Not only have we received invaluable support from LDS volunteers, we are also the recipients of commodities: furniture, clothing, food and other crucial resources for our clients. In fact, almost 40 percent of the food on a tray at our St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall (the only “Soup Kitchen” in Salt Lake) is donated by the LDS Church.
Another wonderful partnership taking place at the LDS Humanitarian Center is the Work Training Program where our newly resettled refugees are given job and language training. The items they make and sort include hygiene kits, blankets, clothing, and emergency medical modules and are then donated to people around the world suffering from war, drought, natural disasters, etc.
Many are surprised to know the extent to which Catholic Community Services of Utah partners with The LDS Church, other religious groups, other non-profits, and businesses. The great work being done in our community cannot be achieved alone, it is only when we work together that we are able to produce long-lasting solutions.
“As Catholics, we are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice. Catholic social teaching is based on and inseparable from our understanding of human life and dignity. Our commitment to this social mission is strengthened through our partnerships with faith-based and local organizations. Here in Utah, we enjoy a generous and productive relationship with the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as we work together to solve the issues affecting the poor and marginalized in our community.” –The Most Reverend John C. Wester, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City