OGDEN — Many struggling families in northern Utah have found the last few years particularly difficult, but some of those burdens are lighter because of Catholic Community Services’ programs, CCS Director of Basic Needs Randy Chappell said at the May 9 Dream Builders breakfast.
The annual breakfast is CCS of Northern Utah’s primary fundrasing event.
CCS of Northern Utah’s programs include Bridging the Gap, a mobile food pantry that provides food for the weekend to students in need; the Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank, which distributed more than 1.9 million pounds of food in the last fiscal year; and St. Martha’s Baby Project, which provided 129 layettes in the last six months to expectant mothers.
These programs are possible through the efforts of local CCS community partners and volunteers, Chappell said.
“CCS operates these programs because we believe that students should not have to wonder if they will have breakfast on Saturday,” Chappell said. “We believe that when individuals experiencing hunger know that they will have access to food they will also be able to access new levels of hope and build lives they love. We believe that when new mothers have the support they need, they can be the support that their new babies need. We operate these programs because we believe in the people they were created to serve.”
At the breakfast, held at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center, CCS honored two community partners and a longtime volunteer.
Lee’s Marketplace, which received the Community Partner Award, works to find CCS the best pricing for food pantry items, runs an annual milk drive and donates annually to CCS.
“We can’t imagine having a better partner in our task [of making sure] we keep our pantry stocked for the 10,000 individuals that we serve every single month,” Development Director Maresha Bosgieter said.
America First Credit Union, which has adopted a school through the Bridging the Gap program, was honored for its financial support and volunteer hours.
“They show up in force every month to volunteer, handing out food to ensure that no child goes hungry over the weekend while also adding a little bit of sunshine to their day,” Bosgieter said. “Over the years they have brought awareness to our programs by highlighting CCS videos, doing pantry pack projects and so much more.”
Amber Greenwell, America First Foundation director, accepted the award on behalf of her organization.
“We know there are many of these organizations in our community that do great things, but I have to give a special thank you to CCS,” she said. “They continuously supply amazing opportunities for us to get out and serve. We know that Bridging the Gap is a need, and we are so honored to be a part of that program.”
Mary Hall, a longtime volunteer who has filled many roles at CCS, was the recipient of the Community Advocate Award.
“There are some people who no amount of awards will do justice for, whose true spirit can’t be described, and Mary Hall is definitely one of those people,” Bosgieter said. “The empathy and rapport that she exudes always puts the clients at ease and you can tell she truly does care about every person that she talks to.”
Hall said she had actively campaigned for her current position, in which she works with clients to help them renew their food cards, and she shared stories of some clients she had helped serve.
“I wanted to get out of the boardroom and into the trenches working with people,” she said. “I’m deeply honored to receive this award because I recognize that I’m a very small cog in a very big wheel. I’m grateful beyond words to be at CCS and I know Maresha can’t give everyone a permanent volunteer job, but please know that you can help. We need your advocacy in the community, we need your donations of food and financial support.”
In his remarks at the breakfast, Bishop Oscar A. Solis shared the story of how Antoine Frederic Ozanam challenged some friends in Paris, France to do more for the poor. Out of that challenge came the founding of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in 1833. The society is a worldwide organization of lay Catholics who follow Christ’s call to serve the poor.
“I thank you for your partnership in our ministry of service to our brothers and sisters in need,” Bishop Solis said. “That challenge issued to a young group of students continues to bear much fruit in our midst right here in northern Utah, through Catholic Community Services and the spiritual heirs of St. Vincent de Paul, the Daughters of Charity, who makes their founder very proud.
“As people of faith who care, we must continue to keep that dream alive and be involved in the issues of world hunger, human rights, peace building and promotion of justice,” he added. “This social ministry presupposes the ultimate spiritual and transcendent destiny of the human person and is orientated to that end.”