11/3/2012 9:05:00 AM Collection for Catholic Campaign for Human Development fights poverty
Huerta de la Familia photo
Woman harvests as part of Huerta de la Familia, which trains families to make business of agriculture.
The annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development will be taken in the parishes of the Archdiocese of Portland the weekend of Nov. 17 and 18, the weekend before Thanksgiving.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the effort of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to fight poverty and to promote social justice in the United States. For more than 40 years the CCHD has come to the aid of organizations nationwide and in western Oregon in an effort to eradicate poverty. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that, “the Church’s love for the poor … is a part of her constant tradition” (no. 2444). It is also the tradition of CCHD to love the poor by helping to end the cycle of poverty. This commitment includes the participation of Catholic parishes, schools, Catholic Charities and health ministries.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds programs that primarily benefit the poor and low-income people. Funded programs must respect human life, foster human dignity and empower the disadvantaged to take control of their own lives by having and maintaining a strong voice in the organization’s leadership. The social justice component of CCHD requires that programs challenge the structures that perpetuate the root causes of poverty in the U.S. through change to the culture, corporation, laws, stereotypes, unjust social structures or by creating an economic opportunity.
Programs that have been funded with national or local CCHD grants are:
Community Alliance of Tenants (CAT), works for safe and affordable housing through education, empowerment, and advocacy. In Portland one in four renters pay more than half of his/her income for rent, over 11,000 youth are homeless, and to afford a two-bedroom apartment minimum wage workers have to work 72 hours per week. There is also a devastating shortage of affordable housing. In 1996 low-income renters organized to form CAT. A state-wide organization, CAT’s Housing Justice Program organizes low-income tenants and their allies to promote systematic changes in state law to improve tenant protections, and to advocate for saving existing affordable housing and developing new affordable housing.
Hacienda Community Development Corporation (HCDC) was formed in 1993 in response to the declining standard of living among Hispanic immigrants in Portland's lower-income communities. Hacienda's mission is to build thriving communities in support of working Latino families and others in Oregon by promoting healthy living and economic advancement, including the development and operation of the Portland Mercado, Portland's first Latino Public Market.
Huerto de la Familia works to expand opportunities and training in organic agriculture and business creation to families with the least access, but who have great potential to benefit. Its Cambios Micro Development Program offers business training and business counseling to Spanish-speaking individuals who want to create or enhance food and farm businesses. The goal of Cambios is to support individuals to transition from being laborers to being business owners.
MACG Vision is a subsidiary of Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good (MACG) formed to outreach to institutions that represent a majority of low income, minority, or underserved populations. MACG Vision conducts outreach to Latino members of metropolitan Catholic parishes to build relationships with the intention of seeking opportunities for bringing about institutional change that affects the Latino immigrant population. The targeted populations -- Latinos and the diverse East Portland residents are poor. Hispanic household median income is 30% less than white households yet the voices of these Hispanic households are rarely heard.
New City Initiative builds bridges between the faith community and the non-profit, business, and public sectors towards the goal of ending homelessness. Examples of such bridges include the New City Kitchen that will train 20 workforce trainees through a 100-hour program and then placing them in "workplace internships" with local food service employers, and a catering arm of the New City Kitchen. The catering operation will employ people who are significantly challenged in the traditional labor market, providing "second chance" employment opportunities for employment to people who go through the New City Kitchen program.
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon (OPAL) is a grassroots community-based organization working to educate, engage and empower low-income communities of color to build leadership and capacity to effectively participate in the civic process to protect their community health and interests. Its “Bus Riders Unite!” membership program and transit justice campaign work, focused specifically on leadership development and the East Portland Bus Stops project. This project seeks to educate and mobilize transit-dependent riders in East Portland, predominantly low-income communities of color, to engage in a community-driven project to increase the accessibility, safety and connectivity of transit, and to build awareness of the connections between transit and positive health outcomes. Rockwood Community Voices for Food Justice strives to build the capacity of low-income residents of the Rockwood neighborhood of Gresham, Oregon for improved access to healthy, affordable food through organizing and leading a grassroots food assessment. This assessment, which will be led by low-income community members, will identify the food assets and needs of a community. It will identify new ways to connect local food producers and low-income consumers; identify economic opportunities for local residents to grow, process, sell and distribute food; and, build capacity to address food issues through advocacy for institutional and governmental policies.
The majority of the parishioners of San Martin de Porres Catholic Church are low-income Latinos living in rural Oregon. San Martin's Social Justice Ministry advocates for the Latino immigrant community by providing the knowledge regarding local resources, civil rights, and leadership skills necessary to become contributing members of society. Members listen to the needs of the community and advocate for civic involvement in areas where there is underrepresentation of the Latino community, e.g., legislation and education, including: an annual immigration conference (an educational event for both the Latino and Anglo communities); citizenship/civic classes to benefit current residents in our community seeking to gain citizenship; Know Your Rights workshop to educate its community on its constitutional rights and what to expect when encountering government immigration or law enforcement officials.
Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality (SKCE) organizes in the Latino migrant community to develop meaningful parental involvement to increase the graduation rate for, and educational outcomes of, low income and minority students in Salem-Keizer. Its Parents-Organizing-Parents program equips parent-trainers to teach workshops for Spanish-speaking parents and coordinate advocacy around school funding and programs for English Language Learners.
Through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Catholic Church is working to continue its tradition of love for the poor. Please help the efforts of CCHD to break the cycle of poverty. Fight poverty in America. Defend human dignity. Support the CCHD collection Nov. 17 and 18. Twenty-five percent of the collection proceeds stay in the Archdiocese of Portland to assist our fight against poverty in our communities, and to defend the dignity of our neighbors.