For nearly four decades, Catholic Parish Outreach in Wake County has been putting its church’s social teachings into action by feeding and clothing those in need.
With a paid staff of two and a volunteer corps of 1,800 people, Catholic Parish Outreach serves residents of Wake, Franklin and Johnston counties without any regard for religious affiliation.
“We don’t ask what people’s religion is,” said Terry Foley, Catholic Parish Outreach director. “I suspect most of the clients coming here are not Catholics. That goes for our volunteers, too. We have just an eclectic mix of people of all different faiths or even non-faiths. Our volunteers are a huge mix of diversity from out in the community.”
Last year, Catholic Parish Outreach provided families with 2.5 million pounds of food, 70 percent of which was donated.
“We’re so fortunate that after 38 years we have a lot of strong partnerships with a lot of churches and the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina and the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle,” Foley said.
While most of the food is donated, the group purchases some at a deep discount.
“Since we have great buying power with our wholesale ability, for $25 we can feed a family for a week,” Foley said. “You can’t go out and buy lists of needed foods for $25.”
People are referred to the nonprofit by social service agencies and churches. Eligible families may visit as often as once a month to receive bags of groceries.
Foley has been director of the outreach for 11 years. Before that, he served as a volunteer. He said he sees the need for such services firsthand every day.
“It’s been enormous growth,” he said. “When I first started as a volunteer, a big day might be 32 families. Right now an average day is feeding 126 families.”
Because of the high demand for help, the group accepts donations of nonperishable food, baby items and baby clothes. The website is regularly updated with items that are needed.
Cash donations are also welcome to help buy food.
But another gift is treasured by Catholic Parish Outreach – the gift of time. Volunteers are welcome to join the effort to provide for neighbors in need.
Bell choir performance
A celebrated youth handbell choir is bringing its music to Raleigh.
The Bells of Christ Church from Savannah, Ga., will make a concert stop at Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church this month.
Th choir is made up of 14 high school and college musicians who have auditioned for their spots. The group has performed in Washington, D.C., Williamsburg, Va., and at the storied Spoleto music festival in Charleston, S.C. It has produced two professional recordings.
The 12 octaves include the largest chimes that hang on racks and are struck with mallets to produce deep, organ-like tones.
The free concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday, June 12, at Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church, 4921 Six Forks Road, Raleigh.
Vacation Bible School
It is almost time for that faith-based rite of summer, Vacation Bible School.
If you’d like your summer program included in an upcoming column, please send me an email at the address below.
Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at email@example.com.