CFM groups are active in their neighborhood communities...and beyond.
Magnets Raise Money for Orphanage
St. Anthony Parish, Nanuet, NY, raised over $25,000 for Hope Village in Haiti by offering free Christmas and Easter magnets for donations. All money donated went to the children at the orphanage because all expenses are already paid.
Fixes up Home
Our Lady of the Fields Parish, Millersville, MD, CFM group members worked with several civic organizations to fix up the home of an elderly man. Click for video.
Serves Sandwiches to Homeless
St. Lawrence Martyr Parish in Redondo Beach, CA, provided approximately 200 sandwiches several times a month for the street ministry of the Brothers of Charity in inner-city Los Angeles. Members helped distribute the sandwiches on Saturday mornings, as well.
Assisted Family of a Soldier
St. Philip CFM in Evansville, IN, provided meals and other forms of support to the family of a parishioner who was called into active service in the recent war in Iraq.
Christmas Party for Needy Family
St. Malachy in Geneseo, IL, adopted a family with four kids for Christmas. They included their kids in a party where they wrapped all the presents they had purchased and concluded with a prayer of thanks.
Worked at Soup Kitchen
St. Jane Frances CFM in Pasadena, MD, served lunch at a downtown Baltimore soup kitchen this Memorial Day weekend. Eighteen folks, including four teens, waited tables and visited with the guests, who totaled over 500 that day. Our Daily Bread, part of Catholic Charities of Baltimore, serves breakfast and lunch to all comers, no questions asked. Food is donated by area parishes and businesses. They also provide restrooms, showers, and other services for the downtown Baltimore homeless and working poor communities. Since the CFM group needed to serve on a Saturday, they contacted the center about 3 months in advance to make arrangements to provide the helpers (who had to be 14 or older). Everyone had such a great time that they plan to do it again next year.
Served Dinner to Needy
Holy Trinity in Des Moines, IA, prepared and serve supper at a inner-city church in June. Several CFM groups in the Des Moines area participate in this project.
Bike-a-thon for Make-A-Wish
Sonrise CFM in Sterling Heights, MI: A CFM couple rode 300 miles on bicycles, for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan, while another couple worked as the crew for the event.
Christmas Gifts for Needy
St. Jane Frances CFM in Pasadena, MD, gathered presents to send for the Single Men's Christmas Party at the archdiocese center, Our Daily Bread. The group got shirts, socks, hats, gloves and other warm items for the men at the center.
Caroling at Senior Center
St. Joseph in Auburn, CA, went caroling at a local senior center with their children. "It was great. People are really excited about the group."
Singing to Shut-ins
St. Peter and Paul in Haubstadt, IN, went "Christian Caroling" in the fall. Because of an over abundance of activity during the Christmas season, the group decided to take their children to visit parish shut-ins early in the fall. They brought cookies and sang for the elderly they called on.
Gifts for Unwed Mothers
The CFM group in Gilbert, AZ, had a "Birthday Party for Baby Jesus." The event included a potluck picnic at a local park. The group brought new baby items as gifts to donate to a home for unwed mothers called Maggie's Place. Earlier in the year they had an annual garage to benefit a local charity. Group also works with "Hand in Hand," a local agency feeding the homeless.
Party for Kids in a Shelter
St. Anthony in Menomenee Falls, WI: "We toured the newly renovated cathedral on February 16th and learned some interesting facts about the cathedral and its outreach to the poor. In December we sponsored a Christmas party for a local women's shelter including games for the kids, a magic show and a visit from Santa."
Care Bags for the Needy
St. Theresa's Church in Austin, TX: Groups put their faith into action by coming together to help the less fortunate in the Austin community with a hands-on social justice project. After their Valentine party this year, the families who belong to the CFM groups gathered to assemble "care bags" in zipper-seal bags for needy people standing on street corners holding their 'please help' signs. Each family contributed goodies such as peanuts, cheese crackers, granola bars, personal care items, suckers, bus passes and emergency help cards along with holy cards. The children formed an assembly line to stuff the items in baggies at their meeting, then the families divided up the bags. The project made a big impression on the kids; one CFM member tells the story of how her daughter cried out one day while driving, "Mom, I sure hope you have some bags left, because I see a guy who really needs one!" Needless to say, the children look forward to handing out the "care bags" while their parents wait for the signal light to change at the street intersections where a needy person is requesting help. The project is not only helping the needy but teaching the children that caring for the poor is being a disciple of Jesus.
Supply a Food Pantry and Help Elderly with Yard Work
Sacred Heart Parish, Boone, IA" "Our parish has a collection once a month for the local food pantry. Our CFM groups hand out grocery sacks after masses the week before to help our parishioners remember to fill them and return them to church the following week. The sacks are donated by local grocery stores. Since we have been doing this there has been a substantial increase in the amount of food and items donated. "Every spring we also help any elderly or disabled parishioners with yard work, spring cleaning, etc., that they are unable to do on their own. This activity involves all the members of our CFM families. Many parishioners look forward to our help each year. We finish off our year with a family picnic in June involving shared food and multi-generational games."
Sponsoring Afghani Family
Queen of Apostles, San Jose, CA: "We've gotten more out of this experience than we've given," says the group's leader. She was talking about her role in facilitating Queen of Apostles parish in giving assistance to an Afghani woman, her 17-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son, who relocated in San Jose with the help of Catholic Charities. CFM and other interested Queen of Apostles parishioners contributed money to help the family, obtained bedding and furniture. A parishioner is volunteering his services as an employment counselor to help the mother find work. Another parishioner is helping with transportation.
The families are provided temporary housing and help in learning English by Catholic Charities. The sponsor's primary role is to befriend the newly arrived families and help them adjust to life in the United States. Families typically need assistance in obtaining social security cards, setting up bank accounts, getting appropriate medical attention, and, most importantly, a job. This is the key to moving on into independence. As part of developing a friendship with the newcomers the family enjoyed an outing in San Francisco, a visit to an Afghani restaurant and a trip to the zoo. The CFM leaders anticipate that the family will be on their feet and not need assistance after several months.
Sponsors Family Camp
St. Thomas the Apostle, Ann Arbor, MI: What do pontoon boats, fishing, family skits, daily Mass, and deep family conversation have in common? They are all part of a family camp that is spearheaded by some industrious, faith-filled CFMers from Ann Arbor, Mich. This past August 125 individuals from New York City, Buffalo, N.Y., Adian, Detroit and Ann Arbor, gathered at Camp Aldersgate, in Carrollton, Ohio to participate in the eighth annual Holy Family Ministries camp. The camp represents the fulfillment of a dream of Father Tom Helfrich, an Oblate Father of St. Francis de Sales. It is also the result of the energy and faith of CFM families from St. Thomas in Ann Arbor.
The camp has built bonds between families who live in very different worlds. "It has helped our CFM families see these families as very much like ourselves. They often have a situation that they have been born into that it is very difficult to get out of. This camp has shown us how to serve, but it has also been a like a retreat for us," according to one of the camp organizers. Volunteer families are paired with inner city families for a discussion and activity session and the evening meal each day during the week-long camp. Families stay in rustic cabins. There is also a daily peer group meeting. A morning focus session led by Father Helfrich, opportunities for camp service projects and daily Mass are built into the schedule, as well.
Supports Teen Paralyzed in Football Accident
Our Lady of the Wayside CFM, Arlington Heights, IL, worked with the community to raise funds to help out a paralyzed high school football player. Click here for an article that appeared in the St. Anthony Messenger. (792kb)
Program book inspires Heifer Project action
St. Edna, Arlington Heights, IL: Inspired by “Beyond Our Doorsteps,” a meeting in the program book Family Choose Life, the groups researched conditions in different countries to see how the children were cared for. They observed that women and children needed aid, and they judged that they should find a way for their families to help. They decided to contribute to the Heifer Project, which provides animals and training to poor people so that they can provide themselves food (from the animal) and food for distribution/sale. This gift then multiplies as they train another family in the community, an so on. The community prospers into a more stable and healthy environment.
To involve their children and to raise funds, they gave each family a white paper bag with decorations of animals and different countries and asked them to decorate the bag as desired. They included an activity sheet about animals and an explanation of the group action. The families donated money, as they desired, into the bag. Collections totaled over $1200. "Since our goal was to get one animal at about $500, we more than surpassed that goal. The kids heard the stories; the parents shared with them about the kids in different countries and their change spoke! What an encouraging project to do. The CFM program book opened our eyes to do something."