On Tuesday June 24th at the 2014 American Red Cross Triangle Chapter Annual Meeting, Catholic Charities was named “Community Partner of the Year.” Red Cross Regional CEO, Barry Porter, presented the award to Gary Skinner, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. Mr. Skinner shared his appreciation for this award, “Catholic Charities is thankful for this recognition by the Red Cross. We are also grateful for the generous support from Catholic parishioners and the Diocese of Raleigh which enables us to provide financial and emotional support to needy families at their most vulnerable times.”
Soleir Gordon-Schaefer, the Catholic Charities family case manager involved with assisting families following the Chapel Hill floods, was grateful of this honor. “Receiving this award from the Red Cross on behalf of Catholic Charities made me feel blessed and proud to be part of an organization that helps so many people,” Ms. Gordon-Schaefer said. “On a daily basis Catholic Charities is helping the community, many times behind the scenes and without fanfare, so being recognized was very special and provides an extra incentive to continue what I am doing.”
Catholic Charities has made a large impact on the services the Red Cross provides, particularly in disaster relief. Lu Esposito, Red Cross Regional Communications Officer, puts the Red Cross partnership with Catholic Charities into perspective: “To tell the story of all the partnership and coordination with Catholic Charities that I have witnessed in the Red Cross would take volumes. From Hurricane Katrina, to the Raleigh tornadoes, but especially in our day to day home fire response, Catholic Charities has done so much more than the assistance provided in Orange County in July 2013.”
In the past year in the Triangle region, family case managers assisted 14 families affected by the Chapel Hill floods and six families affected by a multi-family apartment fire in Raleigh, as part of the Disaster Preparation and Recovery Services program. Catholic Charities food pantries are also a common resource for families forced from their homes due to a fire.
While the award on Tuesday was specifically from the Triangle Region Red Cross, Catholic Charities provides disaster recovery services throughout the Diocese of Raleigh. Following a disaster, Catholic Charities provides disaster recovery case management, specific financial assistance and clinical counseling, as needed.
Last April, tornadoes touched down in northeastern North Carolina. Immediately following the disaster, Catholic Charities distributed food cards to help families replace lost food and provided clinical counseling as needed. Two months after the tornadoes touched down, staff is still involved in helping families rebuild their damaged homes.