While those of us in Northeast Florida were blessed to have dodged the worst of Hurricane Ian, Catholic Charities organizations like ours throughout Florida are providing much-needed assistance to communities hit hardest by the storm. We’re doing so largely thanks to your support during this unprecedented time of need.
With the holidays around the corner and a new year soon upon us, I want to encapsulate and share some of the Bureau’s recent progress.
Our food program is growing astronomically, and we’ve already surpassed the goals we set in our strategic plan well into next year. We successfully established a foothold in Clay County, particularly at St. Luke’s parish, where we served 177 new families during our inaugural food drop. More than 650 total household members benefited from our services. That includes 164 seniors, 216 children, 126 Individuals with intellectual or physical disabilities, and 59 veterans.
The event was an overwhelming success in which we served 14,691 lbs. of food valued at $26,296.
We were back out in Clay Oct. 15 with additional services. In February 2023, we’ll be headed to Macclenny with Fr. Raj’s St. Mary, Mother of Mercy congregation to launch Baker County’s inaugural food program drop. Our new refrigerated truck allows us to go right to clients in need, and we are thrilled.
We’re also expanding our backpack program to food-insecure school children, as well as our military and senior programs. All these efforts are part of our quest to serve the marginalized in all the counties within our Bureau's area, and there’s much more coming.
Our immigration and refugee resettlement programs are also thriving. More refugees are on their way in 2023 and we are prepared for their arrival. Fortunately, we’re receiving support from numerous entities including CCUSA. Our recognition as a resettlement agency, with numbers now surpassing those of Miami, is being championed by the many who see and experience the superior mission focus that our team exemplifies.
Our Board of Advisors is keenly focused on several projects that the Bureau is pursuing to benefit our clients and staff. Close attention will be given to long-overdue upgrades at Camp I Am Special, where we’re searching for more space. The board is also focused on raising awareness about our organization. We’re working to do a better job telling our communities who we are, who we serve, and what we do.
Our staff has grown professionally this year too. We surpassed expectations and continue to do so. Our strategic plan and its performance indicators have provided us with a measurement tool to gauge accomplishments and recognize their contributions to our mission. We have experienced minimal attrition this year. Like other charitable organizations, we continue to navigate the human resource challenges in today’s workplace as best we can.
Lastly, as I thank you all for your support, I share with you that our recent, year-end audit results were amazing. We made history this year as we had no findings and solidified our financial stewardship standing reporting $.92 of every $1 donated goes DIRECTLY TO CLIENTS! Only 8% of funding is allocated to administration. This outcome is a point of pride for us. Your support is meaningful and impactful. You help us transform lives and serve our mission with satisfaction!
We are serving God’s calling, and will continue to do so with the utmost humility. God bless you all and thank you for all you do.
Lori Weber, Regional Director
Catholic Charities Jacksonville