“Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God, if we have given what we could.” ~St. Gregory Nazianzen
Eau Claire – Sojourner House
Cindy, 35 who is a lifelong member of the Eau Claire community, lost her job just a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Though always a diligent worker, Cindy has spent much of her life living paycheck to paycheck. With no income for the first time in her life, Cindy was months behind on her rent and faced living out of her car. Luckily, Cindy’s friend told her about the Sojourner House where she was able to receive a warm bed and meal, a safe place to shower and clean her clothes, and the support she needed while she looked for a new job. After about three months Cindy found another job and was able to save up enough for a downpayment in her new apartment.
Jim, 56 from Chippewa Falls has been struggling with addiction since he was 15. Jim always yearned to stay sober and would sometimes stay clean for months at a time but was never able to kick his habit. Having burned most bridges with his family and friends, Jim had nowhere to sleep other than in parking garages and parks in Eau Claire. Then he found the Sojourner House where he was able to find calm in the chaos of his life. Without having to spend his days figuring out where his next meal or bed would be, Jim connected with a new AA Sponsor and has now been sober for 10 months, a new record for him! Jim is excited to share his new, but fragile sobriety as a Christmas gift to his family this year.
La Crosse – Warming Center
Luke, 43 never thought he would be without a home, but last winter he went from couch surfing to no warm place to stay. Being from a small, rural community in the southern part of the Diocese meant that there were no shelters for Luke nearby, so he came to La Crosse. Luke has always worked on dairy farms helping with milking and other chores, but an injury made that impossible. At the La Crosse Warming Center, Luke not only had a warm bed and meal but he also was connected to resources that he never knew were available to him. Luke now has a job his body can handle and is looking forward to being in his own apartment in 2024.
Sally, 62 was born and raised in La Crosse and always loved the La Crosse Park system. She never thought that parks and parking ramps in La Crosse is where she would be calling home. Hard times are no stranger to Sally, having struggled financially most of her life. Never lazy, Sally just always struggled to stay in front of her bills, and eventually found herself homeless. Sally only stayed in the La Crosse Warming Center a few weeks before she was able to connect with a financial counselor through our St. Lawrence Community Services program to help put her financial life on a more solid footing. Sally was also able to find a room to rent from a cousin and is looking forward to when she comes back to the La Crosse Warming Center as a volunteer!
Wausau – The Good Shepherd Shelter
Sean, 19 has spent most of his life in foster care. When he turned 18, he was kicked out of his home with nowhere to go. For awhile he slept in parks around the Wausau area and would work odd jobs to pay for food and other basic needs. When the cold weather set in, Sean no longer felt safe sleeping outdoors, so he found himself checking into the Good Shepherd Shelter in Wausau. Sean was nervous to stay there at first, but over time built a trusting relationship with staff. Though Sean still stays with us at Good Shepherd Shelter, he is currently working on finishing his GED and is focused on building a strong future for himself.
Betsy, 51 from Stevens Point was in an unhealthy and physically abusive relationship for years. Suffering from depression and feeling hopeless, Besty found herself self-medicating with illegal drugs. One day, with the encouragement of a friend from her church, she decided to leave her home with nothing more than the clothes on her back. Not sure where she would go, she ended up at Good Shepherd Shelter. Betsy spent three weeks with us until she could find more stable housing. Though still dealing with the nagging addiction of drugs while at the shelter, she connected with another guest who was in Narcotic’s Anonymous and now regularly attends while rebuilding her life.
Sean, Betsy, and thousands of other lives have been touched by the Good Shepherd Shelter, La Crosse Warming Center and the Sojourner House in the last year. But Catholic Charities is facing some tough times ahead. We have seen a major drop in donations from individuals who have had their own cost of living increase and can no longer afford to donate; and at the same time our cost to provide services has skyrocketed. If you are no longer able to give, we understand, and we ask that instead you direct your prayers to our work at Catholic Charities. If you have donated in the past and are able to increase your donation to cover someone who can no longer give, we would deeply appreciate it! Without your support we will not be able to help transform lives this holiday season and in the years ahead.
Thank you and god bless!