Sisters of Charity award grants to programs of women religious

COLUMBIA—The Sisters of Charity Foundation awarded $97,000 to support seven women religious grantees.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina announced the recipients of the 2016 Collaboration for Ministry Initiative (CMI) grants. This Initiative was established in 2003 with the intention to engage, support, and sustain the ministries of Catholic Women Religious in South Carolina. These ministries have been responsible for establishing schools, hospitals, and social service programs that have served hundreds of thousands of people over the years.

As a ministry itself founded by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, the foundation recognizes the tremendous impact that these sister-affiliated ministries have had in South Carolina and proudly continues to fulfill the mission of the Sisters of Charity of Augustine and perpetuate these vital programs through CMI grants.

These grants are designed to strengthen ministries of women religious that provide services to underserved individuals and families living in poverty throughout South Carolina. The application process is open to any ministry that has a Catholic woman religious serving in a leadership role and grants are awarded once each year.  The following ministries have been awarded 2016 Collaboration for Ministry Initiative grants:

Felician Center (Williamsburg County) The Felician Center seeks to be a transformative presence through compassionate ministry, educational services and loving care. This grant will provide for the food pantry for an increased number of families, summer children’s grocery bags, holiday meat products, and diabetic products. Funding will also provide an increased number of dental care, eye care, and prescription assistance for clients 40 years of age and over, plus aid for emergency healthcare situations.

Our Lady of Mercy Neighborhood House (Charleston County) The Neighborhood House serves individuals living in poverty in urban Charleston and offers a weekly lunch program and food pantry to meet the nutritional needs of the under-resourced, especially on weekend and holidays. This program has operated for many years and is representative of the commitment of the Christian community to those in economic need.

Our Lady of Mercy Outreach Services (Charleston County) Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach is rooted in the legacy of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, thus participating in Christ’s mission of love and mercy in accordance with Gospel values and a commitment to systemic change. The mission is to encourage and support self-sufficiency and self-worth for people in need in the community through education, wellness and outreach services. Funding will allow this ministry to be responsive and quickly address client needs. This grant will provide unrestricted funding to support salaries for experienced professional staff, electricity and other utilities, plus other costs of operating the outreach.

St. Cyprian Outreach Center (Georgetown County) St. Cyprian Outreach Center is a Catholic Christian presence in an economically deprived area, serving all persons with the goal to respect the dignity and serve the basic human needs of those in Georgetown City and County. This grant will support the center’s ability to provide assistance to needy families in the form of emergency utility and rent assistance, prescription medications, food, and clothing, as well as case management.

St. Francis Center (Beaufort County) The mission of the St. Francis Center is to break the cycle of poverty through education, advocacy, respect and compassion. This grant will support the Emergency Home Repair program, which serves economically disadvantaged families in northern Beaufort County, who need emergency home repairs and/or modifications for handicapped access. The center partners with these families by purchasing the necessary construction materials, while the family arranges for labor. Projects include ramps, railings, roofs, flooring, kitchens and bathrooms. Funding will also support the Migrant Farmworker Outreach Program, which provides 300 welcome boxes of food, towels and toiletries, as well as shoes and new toys for children of seasonal migrant workers housed in migrant camps on St. Helena Island, who have arrived to harvest the tomato crop.

St. Martin de Porres Catholic School (Richland County) a ministry of St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, this school is a vibrant, Christ-centered school that emphasizes the joy and wonder of learning in a loving and caring atmosphere. This grant supports “The Differentiated Blended Reading Approach II” in which teachers will connect reading skills across the curriculum. Teachers will use five research-based practices addressing the different ways students learn to develop the strategies/skills students need for success. Enrichment activities will be used to strengthen reading fluency and comprehension. This approach will also allow teachers to work more effectively with small groups and blend technology, art and music across the curriculum, and involves principals, parents, teachers and students working together.

Thumbs Up (Beaufort County) Thumbs Up Children’s Educational Center, founded by Sister Mary Trzasko, OP, is a year-round, no-cost early intervention literacy and mentoring program. Designed to help low-performing children who are living in economically disadvantaged families to achieve grade level proficiency in reading and math, students become able to achieve success in school and in life. The intervention approach is designed through an after-school tutorial program, a summer academic/enrichment program and a parent outreach and training program.  All such interventions ultimately will help to empower children and parents with the skills necessary to improve their economic opportunities and to move out of poverty.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, established in 1996, is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System. The Foundation is committed to addressing the needs of the poor and underserved in all 46 South Carolina counties, and strategically uses resources to reduce poverty through action, advocacy and leadership.

Photo provided: The Neighborhood House in Charleston celebrated 100 years of outreach in April 2015.