On Friday, June 3, the Archdiocese of Vancouver and the Archdiocese of Boston announced a "friendly wager" on professional hockey's Stanley Cup Finals. If the Boston Bruins win, Vancouver's Archbishop Miller will make a $100 donation to Catholic Charities. Should the Vancouver Canucks win, Cardinal Seán will make a $100 donation to Project Advance, the annual diocesan-wide appeal that helps fund many of the institutions, programs, ministries, and needs within the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
In a joint statement the two archbishops said, "The competition between our two great cities is wonderful for hockey, sports in general and our respective communities. We pray that these two outstanding teams play to their best abilities. By making this friendly wager we are also calling to mind the work and mission of the Church that is so vital both in Vancouver and Boston. Our two dioceses share a common love and concern for those most in need. It is our hope that through the experience of this world-class sporting event we can, in some small way, encourage more people to support these two deserving and important charities."
I think that Cardinal Seán was a great sport when he accepted the Stanley Cup wager from Archbishop of Vancouver. After all, at the time they sealed the deal, Vancouver was ahead in the series 1-0. As I write, the series is tied 3-3, and by the time you read this, I am hopeful that Boston will be celebrating the Bruins as Stanley Cup champions.
But the $100 bet did get me thinking...what does Catholic Charities do with $100?
Here are just a few of the things we can do with $100:
At our food pantries, $100 allows us to purchase enough food to feed four families of four for a week. We continue to see steady demand at our Basic Needs programs. At our Yawkey Center Basic Needs program alone, we receive 30 requests per week from new families seeking their next meal.
In our Refugee Resettlement Services, $100 allows us to provide sheets, towels, pillows, and blankets for a refugee family of three. Our refugees arrive from war-torn countries all over the world and we work to help them get a new start here in the United States.
At our job training programs, a donation of $100 will allow a student to take their State Certification Test for Nurse Assistant Training, a pre-requisite for employment. At Catholic Charities South and at Catholic Charities Laboure, we provide nursing assistant and home health aide training because we know that these jobs are the first step on a career pathway in the health care field.
At our child care centers, $100 allows us to purchase picture books for a preschool classroom reading corner. Our NAEYC accredited childcare programs serve 1,100 children each and every day and are committed to meeting the social, emotional and literacy development needs of children. We do this because we know that a child who does not enter kindergarten prepared to learn is starting behind and often stays behind, especially if that is a child living in poverty.
In our family support programs, $100 allows us to staff two support groups for grandparents raising their grandchildren. These grandparents are true heroes among us and represent the fastest growing segment of the population in Massachusetts, as tens of thousands of grandparents across Massachusetts have traded the more care-free joys of grandparenting for the rigor and responsibility of parenting.
At our youth serving programs across our service area, $100 allows us to provide two hours of training for adults to become Mentors for teens. We do this work at Catholic Charities because we know that a single significant relationship is often the key to developing the resiliency needed to ensure lifetime success for a young person.
This is just a sampling of the good uses we find for $100 as we continue on our mission to build a just and compassionate society rooted in the dignity of all people. Congratulations to the Boston Bruins on their fantastic season and thank you Cardinal Seán for your support of our work.
To learn more about Catholic Charities, please go to www.ccab.org.
Debbie Rambo is president of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston.