Congratulations to our 2018 Mercy Fund Grant Recipients!

Faith Community Nurse

St. Mary Church in Griffith is providing their parishioners with access to routine medical screenings, with plans to provide an increasingly robust menu of opportunities for wellness education, self-advocacy skills, access to reusable medical equipment on loan, and home visits.   The Faith Community Nurse program is a national movement to care for people holistically – mind, body, and soul.  Starting with a deep belief in healing through faith, registered nurses volunteering their time work to build relationships with parishioners that reveal underlying issues, such as chronic illness or pain, anxiety or depression, or less than ideal home situations, and utilize that strong faith to heal.

 Opening the Door to Opportunity

The Saint Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph Church in LaPorte is expanding its services to include monthly educational events.  Classes, led by professionals, will cover topics such as legal assistance, health and dental education, vocational and technology training, budget and financial planning, veteran support, and nutrition assistance – all identified by the results of a recent survey.  The classes are free and will include a meal as well as a chance to win food vouchers, transportation passes and other prizes geared at improving participants’ self-sufficiency.  Opening the Door to Opportunity will empower participants to discover and achieve their goals while nurturing and restoring their self-worth and self-esteem.  Modeled after the tradition of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, the program will serve and accompany women and men in need as they build relationships through fellowship and spiritual growth.

Pop Up Food Pantry

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary is adding an innovative Pop-up Food Pantry to serve Starke County.  The mobile pantry, modeled after the increasingly popular food trucks, will offer nutritious food as well as toiletries to individuals and families in need throughout Starke County. Each person attending a pop-up event will receive a free lunch and one bag filled with a variety of food and toiletries. Additionally, Catholic Charities will have representatives on-site from its Emergency Services and Immigration programs to offer limited case management and provide information about community programs such as Starke County’s existing food pantry managed by “Community Services of Starke County” and Purdue University’s Extension Services, parish-based programs such as St. Vincent de Paul, as well as the multiple ways Catholic Charities can assist those in need throughout Starke County.

Rainbows Grief Counseling Program

Notre Dame Catholic School in Michigan City is offering small group support for children who have experienced some type of traumatic separation from parents – through abuse, death, divorce, deployment, deportation, or incarceration – utilizing the nationally recognized Rainbows for All Children program.  The program will serve children in need of counseling in preschool through eighth grade.  The Rainbows program will provide children with the opportunity to express their feelings in a safe environment and learn the skills to express themselves through healthy behavior.

Serenity Garden

St. Agnes Adult Day Center at St. Paul Church in Valparaiso is adding a Serenity Garden to the host of amenities they provide to adults with disabilities, particularly those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  The garden will enhance an already robust offering of structured activities, nurturing relationships, and professional care that is provided on a daily basis.  Guests will have unprecedented opportunities to explore nature during the warmer months in a space that is safe and secure.  The garden will also allow foster inter-generational relationships with the parish’s preschool and grade school students.

St. Joseph the Worker Soup Kitchen

St. Mary of the Angels Secular Franciscan Fraternity at St. John the Evangelist is feeding the poor in Gary every Saturday afternoon.  Unlike a typical soup line, volunteers seat guests and wait on them personally, then join them for the meal and fellowship.  When weather permits, the kitchen turns into a backyard barbecue and picnic.  Modeled after Port Ministries in Chicago, the program has been tailored to the unique needs of the citizens of Gary and continues to grow.