How Are You Giving Back this Lenten Season?
This post originally was published in the Boston Pilot.
‘What are you giving up for Lent?’ is a common question that Catholics across the world often ask each other throughout the six weeks leading up to Easter Sunday. Founded on three key pillars — prayer, fasting, and almsgiving — Lent is, to many in our community, a deeply revered season that begins on Ash Wednesday.
The question that people sometimes forget to ask during the Lent season, however, pertains to the third pillar and that is, ‘How are you giving back?’
At Catholic Charities Boston, this question is asked – and answered – every day all year by our dedicated staff who are committed to serving our most vulnerable neighbors in need. To join our mission and give back to the community, consider getting involved or donating to one of our many changemaking programs.
Support Catholic Charities’ Youth by Donating Your Used Car (or Parts of it)
One way to do so is by donating to our partner organization, Charitable Adult Rides and Services (CARS), a social enterprise nonprofit organization that helps thousands of organizations across the country increase their fundraising through a turn-key vehicle donation program. CARS accepts used cars, trucks, boats, and motorcycles and sells them, or their parts, at auction. Eighty percent of the net proceeds of a vehicle donated to CARS for Catholic Charities go directly toward Catholic Charities’ youth programming, including the Teen Center at St. Peter’s, Sunset Point Camp, and mentoring, tutoring, and childcare services across the agency.
Become a Mentor or Tutor at the Teen Center
For those who prefer volunteering and engaging with Catholic Charities’ youth more directly, there are a range of mentoring and tutoring opportunities available at our Teen Center, which serves over 300 adolescents living in Dorchester’s Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood. To learn more about how you can give back to the Teen Center’s crucial after-school or summer programs by becoming a tutor or mentor, click here.
Help Welcome the Refugee Families Catholic Charities Serves
Between resettling over 160 Afghan refugees in 2021 and launching Welcome Circles, a pilot program for Ukrainian families in need, our Refugee and Immigration Services Department has been busy helping provide its clients with everything from basic necessities and job placement resources to companionship and community support.
A champion of “giving back” to those in need, Marjean Perhot, Vice President of Refugee and Immigrant Services, said her faith and her firm belief in the value of service gives meaning to the work she does.
“What propels me to continue this work, despite many negative noises and challenges, is that each time I am blessed to encounter a refugee or immigrant, I know I am seeing the face of God, and that I could be them and they could be me,” she said.
To join a Welcome Circle, and help support Catholic Charities Ukrainian clients, or to learn how you can create a community sponsorship site dedicated to welcoming and supporting refugee families in your community, please click here.
Make a Gift
Sometimes, the simplest gestures go the longest way. With the cost of living at an all-time high, and the rate of food insecurity in Massachusetts steadily rising, making a financial gift or donating gift cards to Catholic Charities Boston’s Basic Needs Department can have a critical impact on a client’s life. To learn more about ways to give, click here. Or, to give the gift of your time and get involved as a volunteer, click here.
Lastly, for those who are honoring Lent in a spirit of reflection, Catholic Charities Boston offers planned giving options, allowing individuals to make an intentional donation to the agency that will be used after their lifetime. To learn more about how you can have an impact on future generations, click here.
“Everyone needs food and a roof over their head,” said one Basic Needs client, Dawn, who because of Catholic Charities and its generous donors, was able to pay her mortgage and keep food on the table. “Things are hard for me right now, but I’m just so grateful for Catholic Charities’ help.”