WASHINGTON - On the weekend of November 12-13, Catholics across the United States have the opportunity to honor the World Day of the Poor and help their neighbors who struggle against poverty by giving to the annual special collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
Established more than 50 years ago, CCHD’s mission continues to empower people most impacted by economic and social injustice in the United States to advocate for better communities. Coinciding with the annual observation of World Day of the Poor (November 13), established by Pope Francs in 2017, CCHD responds to the call to accompany our brothers and sisters experiencing poverty: “Where the poor are concerned, it is not talk that matters; what matters is rolling up our sleeves and putting our faith into practice through a direct involvement, one that cannot be delegated.” (Statement for the Sixth World Day of the Poor)
Community groups awarded grants from CCHD typically train residents of neglected neighborhoods to become leaders who help others discern their community’s most pressing problems and work for solutions. For example, seven dioceses in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas engaged in an initiative, “Recognizing the Stranger,” where 700 immigrant parishioners were mentored to become social and pastoral leaders. These new community leaders facilitated conversations between members of the community and local law enforcement, and the dialogue yielded powerful results, including three police departments agreeing to honor parish identification cards for those lacking government identification. This eased community tensions and led to a surge in parish registrations by Catholics who had previously stayed in the shadows.
CCHD-funded organizations help improve conditions for marginalized communities today, they also help families achieve their dreams of a better tomorrow. With support from a CCHD grant, Grounded Solutions Network assisted community land trusts from Baltimore to Lake Tahoe in their work to make the American dream of homeownership in stable, safe communities possible.
“The work supported by CCHD is empowering communities to build resilience and stand in solidarity with their most marginalized members,” said Bishop David G. O’Connell, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. “Whether it is assisting a family to gain access to affordable housing or facilitating dialogue among members of a local community and law enforcement, CCHD is an essential part of the Church in the United States’ social mission. I wish to express my gratitude to those who have given to this national collection and invite you to continue supporting this important work by giving generously this year.”
In 2021, CCHD distributed more than $12.7 million to over 200 groups across the United States that are addressing the root causes of poverty and empowering people who are most vulnerable. In addition to supporting grassroots anti-poverty efforts around the country, 25% of the national collection remains in the local diocese to address the root causes of poverty locally.
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