Increasing the Impact of Parish Outreach

Increasing the Impact of Parish Outreach

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By Marie Galetto-Dugoni

Marketing & Grants Program Manager Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County

Last year, the Catholic Community Foundation made our first-ever Two-Year Grant to Our Lady of La Vang Parish. The program, titled “One Bread, One Body Ministry,” includes many activities that support people in need both in and outside their parish community. It was a brand-new program, and the Foundation felt that by offering two years of financial support we could help them think about the long-term goals of the program and increase their impact.

This ministry creates a feeling of community and shared mission for Our Lady of La Vang’s parishioners – an important goal for a parish that celebrates 19 Masses at seven different locations every weekend. The program aims to help people live out the faith by evangelizing through corporal works of mercy – specifically by reaching out to the less fortunate, the elderly, immigrants, and the homeless community. Read on for a description of the specific activities of this ministry. I’m sure you will be as impressed with their goals and achievements as I am!

Activity #1: Home Visit Team and Home Repair Crew

The parish welcomes many low income and immigrant families. These individuals do not always know how to get assistance from social services, register their children in local schools, or have the means to repair minor things that break in their homes. The program spent the past year recruiting and training volunteers, and they helped six elderly individuals with minor repairs. With the second year of funding, they plan to continue training volunteers and anticipate more request for outdoor repair projects in the summer months.

Activity #2: Transportation to Daily Mass for the Elderly

Our Lady of La Vang has many elderly parishioners who live on their own without a way to get to daily mass. Money from the grant helps pay for the gas to drive parishioners to and from mass. Volunteers drive the van every day, and so far, they provide transportation to 8 to 10 elderly parishioners daily.

Activity #3: Bilingual Citizenship Class

The goal of this program is to provide language and citizenship knowledge classes. Ten volunteers were recruited and trained to assist with the class. Thirty students are enrolled, and classes started in November. Since there are so many volunteers, they split the class into three levels based on English proficiency. There was a recognition event for all students and volunteers in June.

Activity #4: Meals for the Homeless & Christmas Toy Program

The volunteers for the homeless outreach come from the youth and young adult groups of the parish. This is one way for them to practice their faith which they learn about through catechism. In December, the youth distributed 120 Christmas gifts for children in need. During the school year, the youth partner with City Team Ministries to serve hot meals to the homeless once a month.

The grant applicant, Hang Pham, noted that the back-to-back years of funding helped them plan for future improvements to the program with the knowledge that there would not be interruptions in the services between years. “We are able to reassure our clients and volunteers that the services will continue,” said Hang. “Hopefully, after the second year of funding we will have a lot of support and be able to fundraise and become as self-sustainable as possible.”

If you would like to help the Foundation support more programs like this one, please donate to match the grants in our Spring Grant Cycle or contribute directly to one of our Field of Interest Endowments by calling (408) 995-5219 or visiting cfoscc.org.