At a press conference Aug. 17 in Camden, Bishop Dennis Sullivan and Kevin Hickey, executive director of Catholic Charities, talked about poverty and the Camden Diocese’s anti-poverty efforts.
Jeanetta Warren, as a caseworker with Catholic Charities’ Welfare-to-Work program, talked about a poor person.
Warren interacts with the approximately 1,500 people yearly who are nearing the expiration of welfare cash benefits, and are transitioning into the work force. She offers services to, and advocates for, these poor, oppressed, and “broken” individuals who are in an “extremely vulnerable state.” Her office helps them go forward to “successful, sustainable” living.
After Atlantic City casino closures left 8,000 people in need of assistance, Warren said her office provided these individuals with financial assistance, housing, food and transportation.
She recounted when, a few years ago, a homeless veteran stepped into her office, broken and despondent. He had a criminal record. He said he had made “mistakes.”
“The look on his face I’ll never forget,” Warren said.
Eventually, with the help of Welfare-to-Work, he found employment, and now has a car and stable housing. “Now he walks with his head held high,” Warren said. “We want to restore hope, dignity, and confidence to these people,” she said. “We all need basic human compassion.”
For more information on Catholic Charities’ Welfare-to-Work program, visit www.catholiccharitiescamden.org/welfare-to-work