Seeds of Hope blossom in 2023

Encounter at Catholic Charities — a year of service


2023 wasn’t just a year of work for Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri, the charitable arm of the Diocese of Jefferson City; it was a testament to the transformative power of compassion.

Inspired by our faith and driven by an unwavering commitment to the most vulnerable, those who work and serve at Catholic Charities witnessed firsthand the impact of that work.

Our efforts created a ripple effect of hope that has truly changed lives across the diverse communities in our diocese.

As threads weaving a stronger tapestry, over 150 community partners throughout Missouri joined us to amplify our reach and effectiveness.

Together, we combined our expertise and shared passion to create a strong safety net for those in need.

Our collaborative efforts ensured that no challenge was faced alone.

We provided counseling to those in need of a place to call home, relief from predatory loans and support to those recovering from disaster.

Partners like the United Way, the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, and SSM St. Mary’s Hospital have grown our ability to provide nutritious food to those who lack the casual access many of us enjoy.

Collaborating with El Puente, and the Diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry has strengthened our ability to connect the Hispanic community to case management and family reunification services. Compass Health, teachers, public safety local government officials, and community sponsors — among many others — have helped us welcome newcomers as well.

Of course, some of our most noteworthy partners are the Catholic parishes who collaborate with us, host our clients for counseling sessions and grow deeper in formation with our staff.

Partnerships are truly invaluable to our work.

The 2023 Impact Report, included in this edition of The Catholic Missourian, highlights many of those partnerships and dives deeper into key relationships in the digital version.

If you are ready to take up the call to serve your community through a collaboration, we hope you’ll give us a call this year.

Our volunteers, the lifeblood of our organization, dedicated nearly 9,000 hours of service in 2023.

Their selfless contributions, whether in the Catholic Charities Food Pantry, welcoming newcomers, or delivering food boxes to seniors, epitomize the spirit of charity that defines our mission.

We are deeply grateful for their unwavering commitment and extend our invitation to others to join our ranks, amplifying the ripple effect of hope.

This year we had the unique opportunity to welcome two of United Way’s Give 5 classes, a new program that connects recent retirees to service opportunities, to tour our Central Offices and learn more about what our agency does to serve the community.

From these classes, several volunteers committed their service to our agency, and to serving our neighbors in need.

In 2023, we nourished both the bodies and the spirits of those we encountered at Catholic Charities.

In a year marked by economic hardship, the faces we encountered held stories of struggle and resilience.

We saw despair melt away into relief as families found solace in our food pantry, receiving over 383,000 pounds of food.

Beyond food, programs like financial wellness courses and disaster response empowered individuals to not just survive, but thrive.

Our agency is building bridges for newcomers — reunifying families and helping recently resettled refugees find self-sufficiency.

For newly arrived refugees and immigrants, navigating unfamiliar territory can be daunting.

 We helped hundreds of individuals navigate legal hurdles, learn English, and build new lives through case management and legal consultations.

Seeing children confidently navigate school and families finding their footing in our communities fueled our commitment to building bridges, not walls.

At Catholic Charities, we are speaking hope into the hearts and minds of those seeking mental health support.

Mental health challenges know no social or cultural boundaries.

In 2023, we expanded our reach beyond physical walls, offering online counseling sessions for Spanish-speaking families and providing users with access to the “Hope” chatbot.

Seeing the silence surrounding mental health begin to break, with individuals seeking and receiving support, reaffirmed our belief that hope can blossom even in the darkest corners.

In 2023, we invested in empowering Catholic parishes across our diocese to grow in their abilities to be beacons of hope for their communities.

Our impact resonated beyond our own programs.

Over 60 Parish Ambassadors championed our cause, while grants supported local efforts like community gardens and warming shelters.

Seeing parishes transformed into beacons of hope within their communities was a powerful reminder that compassion’s reach is limitless.

Working alongside our donors to serve those in need, we celebrated the generosity of 151 new supporters.

They joined nearly 700 generous stewards in advancing our cause.

Their contributions, totaling 1,319 gifts, reflect a shared commitment to making a difference in communities across the diocese.

We are grateful for their continued support and encourage others to join in our mission of compassion.

As we enter the Lenten season, we invite you to become part of our story.

With your continued generous support, or first-time gift, we can continue to sow seeds of hope.

Together we can nurture them into life-changing opportunities, and accompany individuals and communities as they flourish.

You can help these seeds grow. No gift, prayer, or use of your talents in service to others is too small.

Together, let’s make 2024 a year where compassion knows no bounds. Join us in making a difference.