By Julie Wiessner
With the current economic conditions, more people are in need of food and other assistance, and are seeking help from local charities. These charities, however, are experiencing lower funding levels compared to last year’s levels.
The Good Shepherd Center of Catholic Charities in Holbrook, for example, is getting ready to help those in need during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. With the retirement of Sister Bernard, two funding sources are no longer available. These funds came from her family in The Philippines.
Sheila Ashenfelder, the new director of the Good Shepard Center, noted, “The economy is down and most all of the charitable agencies don’t have as much money to spread around. Every agency is suffering.”
Nancy Barela, the Good Shepherd Center Housing and Urban Development (HUD) caseworker, put out a request for those who have donated items to Sister Bernard in the past.
Barela said, “We realize that Sister Bernard is no longer here, but those people who usually donated turkeys and other items during the holiday season, please, we have re-opened and are asking you to continue the work of Sister Bernard.”
The Good Shepherd Center has some funding sources, such as the Catholic Charities Fund, the Southwestern Indian Foundation, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Without those other two sources that were available to Sister Bernard, though, their fund levels are down.
The center is also in need of a stand-up freezer to hold donated frozen items. In the meantime, the center is seeking donations of non-perishable foods.
Please call The Good Shepherd Center of Catholic Charities at (928) 524-9720 to offer donations of time, food items, money or a stand-up freezer.
The number of people in need coming to Bread of Life Mission in Holbrook has also increased. Executive Director Cherise Merrick, said, “The holiday season hasn’t even begun and the mission is overflowing with needy, hurting people. Summer did not slow down, and now with higher numbers than this time last year, going into the holidays, there is a pressing need for food.”
The mission does not have a food budget and relies on the community to donate the necessary food. Merrick continued, “People are so generous. We pray, and someone always comes by with the needed supplies.”
The mission is in need of daily food supplies, but also is seeking donations of traditional fixings for the annual Great Thanksgiving Dinner. The mission needs turkeys and all the fixings usually served at a Thanksgiving meal. If the community donates extra turkeys, the mission makes them available to needy people who sign up. Volunteers are also needed to help bring food items and/or serve.
Merrick said, “I think holidays hit people the hardest. Loss is felt more keenly, certainly by the homeless, but also by those suffering hardships in the community. Offering a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, friendliness and a sense of family goes a long way.”
Please call the mission at (928) 524-3874 to sign up to bring various items for the dinner, to help or for a food box.
The Holbrook Senior Center provides food boxes for those in need in the community and this year their numbers have increased from around 90 to 110, to 150 to 180 households.
Center Director Carla Gabaldon said, “When it is food box distribution day, we don’t open until 8 a.m., but people are already starting to line up at 7 a.m.”
The schools, Scouts and others help out by conducting food drives. Gabaldon relayed, “Since the Bread of Life Mission does such a wonderful job on the Thanksgiving meal, we have quit doing Thanksgiving boxes. We still provide a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for the residents at the center, and for the Meals On Wheels program clients.”
The center does make up Christmas food boxes and tries to make them more of a holiday box. This year they will be in need of turkeys, fruit cocktail, stuffing, foil pans and any other non-perishable items that would be included in a Christmas meal.
The center receives around 75 to 100 turkeys for the emergency food bank to fill the Christmas boxes, but usually runs out and some Christmas boxes have to go without turkeys.
Please call (928) 524-6044 to volunteer, donate food items or help pack boxes.
By Julie Wiessner