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Remembering the Forgotten Ones


By Gregory Kepferle
CEO, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and President, Charities Housing Development Corporation

“Oops, I forgot.” How often do we say that to ourselves or to others? It may be as mundane as when I forget to reply to an email or a phone call or forget to take out the trash. Or it can be more serious forgetting, such as failure to fulfill a promise or as a sign of failing health. And then there is the social forgetting based on “out of sight, out of mind.”

We forget the thousands of our neighbors who are homeless until we see someone pushing a shopping cart full of belongings down the street or pass the blue tarps under the freeways. We forget the thousands of seniors or people with disabilities isolated in apartments or nursing homes until we see someone with a wheelchair or a walker passing by. We forget the thousands of inmates in our county jails, until we hear something on the news about crime. We forget the thousands of children and families silently struggling with poverty even as we pass their modest homes with two and three families living together to survive the high costs of the valley.

When we remember them, even as our hearts are moved with compassion, we may be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the challenges they face and become paralyzed by uncertainty with how to make a difference. That’s where Catholic Charities steps in. While we can’t serve everyone, Catholic Charities can make a difference – with your help – to the forgotten ones in our midst. We build affordable housing and support families on the path to self-sufficiency. We serve, support and advocate for seniors and people with disabilities, including those facing mental illness. We visit prisoners and help those coming out of prison reintegrate into the community, find housing and meaningful work. We break the cycle of poverty for children and families through early childhood development, after-school literacy and safe places to learn and grow. We reduce poverty for immigrants, refugees, and job seekers through creating opportunities for employment, financial literacy and integrating into society. We advocate for policies that will help alleviate, prevent and reduce poverty of the forgotten ones.

I invite you to remember the forgotten ones by supporting the work of Catholic Charities. For more information, go to www.CatholicCharitiesSCC.org.