Campaign benefits those on the margins

Last weekend, a national collection took place in Catholic churches across the United States for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the anti-poverty program for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) which aims to break the nation’s cycle of poverty, and bring hope to its low-income individuals.

“We have to be a church of justice,” said Father Ken Hallahan, the Diocese of Camden’s coordinator for CCHD, echoing Jesus’ message to “bring good news to the poor.”

The campaign, started in 1970, has a two-fold mission: to empower those directly affected by unjust structures, and creating awareness on poverty and its causes.

CCHD uses the money raised in the pews to provide community and economic development grants, Father Hallahan said, which create solidarity between those in poverty and those not, and which support community-based businesses and organizations that provide jobs and create just work environments for low-income individuals.

“We need to help poor people meet their own needs, and put power” in their hands, he added.

In 2014, $76,774.86 was colleced by parishes in the Diocese of Camden. More than $10 million was raised nationwide. The totals from this year’s collection have not been finalized yet.

This national collection is the primary source of funding the CCHD’s anti-poverty grants and education programs working to provide lasting solutions for the estimated 46 million people who live in poverty in the United States. Twenty-five percent of funds collected remain in each diocese to support local anti-poverty projects.

The theme of this year’s collection is “CCHD: Working on the Margins.’

“In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus told his disciples, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ This is the mission of CCHD (Lk. 14.15-24),” said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

“CCHD works on the margins, alongside our brothers and sisters to bring new hope, build community, and address the root causes of poverty,” said Bishop Soto. “With its focus on long-term solutions, CCHD transforms the lives of families and communities in need, bringing them to the table of God’s Kingdom of justice, love and peace.”

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