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An Abundance of Mercy


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

Have you ever been overwhelmed, not by the challenges we all have to face, but by all the good that is pouring out into the world? Last month I accidently received an abundance of God’s mercy. It all started innocently enough with an email enquiring how volunteers could help the young children and their parents who were being separated at the border as they sought safety from violence in their home countries. Somehow my name got attached to an email request for volunteer attorneys and therapists to help out. Then another kind soul turned it into a Facebook post and encouraged others to copy and send. Before I knew it, I was inundated with kind offers via phone calls and emails from across the country. Attorneys were ready to jump on planes. Therapists were ready to close their practices for days to help. A day care center operator was ready to temporarily close down to provide early childhood help. Donors offered to pay for travel costs. An abundance of mercy!

As I write, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County is sending a Border Crisis Response Team to help address the family separation crisis affecting immigrant children and families on the border. We are sending seven volunteers (five from our Diocese joined by two from Catholic Charities in Dubuque, Iowa) as teams over two weeks to Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande in McAllen, Texas. Our team will provide support at their family transit day shelter for reunited children and families released by the federal government and being sent to different parts of the country for legal hearings. Donations to Catholic Charities USA are covering travel and lodging expenses, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation is covering staff expenses. Team members will coordinate volunteers, manage services, and assist with communications and development.

While we help our sister Catholic Charities agency with the families at the border, I encourage volunteers and donors to support their local Catholic Charities that already does so much for children and families facing crises due to their immigration status, homelessness, mental illness, disabilities, incarceration, or poverty.

We celebrate an abundance of God’s mercy here at home. We continue to build new affordable housing through our Charities Housing Development Corporation. Our CORAL summer school provides a safe place for children to learn throughout the summer while our senior services continue to provide opportunities for wellness and socialization. Meanwhile, we continue to respond to the needs of immigrants and refugee foster youth, as well as the families displaced by last year’s flood. We are strengthening our social enterprises and employment services, providing healing to individuals and families affected by mental illness even as we prepare to launch our new House Sharing program.

Thank you to all of our generous donors, funders, volunteers, and supporters as we provide an abundance of mercy by changing lives for good. I invite those new to Catholic Charities to join us and put mercy into action.

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