Sunday, February 01, 2015
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Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina awards $80,950 in Caritas Grants

COLUMBIA—The Sisters of Charity Foundation awarded $80,950 to 30 Caritas grantees in December. The foundation awards grants to select non-profit and faith-based organizations meeting the immediate needs of the poor in South Carolina.

The Caritas Grants program supports organizations dealing with situational poverty or crisis poverty. The demand for food, clothing, shelter and free health programs as well as other immediate needs is expanding for organizations providing these services. Caritas grants are up to $5,000 for a one-year period.
The grantees are:
·    Anderson Free Clinic – ($3,000) Providing dental care to low income, uninsured adults (Anderson)
·    Area Churches Together Serving Acts – ($3,000) Funding for a daily food pantry and senior food program. (Aiken)
·    Birthright of Georgetown – ($2,500) Emergency assistance for disadvantaged new mothers and their babies. (Georgetown, Williamsburg)
·    Bluffton Self Help – ($1,000) Funding to purchase refrigeration units to store fresh vegetables and fruit for a food distribution program. (Beaufort, Jasper)
·    Caring And Sharing – ($2,500) Funding to purchase a walk-in cooler to store fresh produce and healthy foods for a food distribution program. (Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Williamsburg)
·    Christ Central Ministries Columbia – ($4,950) Enhancement of a kitchen for a food service program that prepares meals for the homeless and working poor. (Richland, Lexington)
·    Clarendon County Community Development Corporation – ($3,000) Providing assistance to a local Meals on Wheels program and food bank. (Clarendon)
·    East Cooper Meals on Wheels – ($5,000) Preparing and delivering healthier meals and foods for health impaired seniors. (Charleston, Berkeley)
·    EmmanuWheel – ($1,500) Building wheel chair ramps for those in need. (Lexington, Richland)
·    Family Promise of Pickens County – ($3,000) Providing services to help homeless families transition into affordable housing. (Pickens)
·    Fields to Families – ($2,000) Delivering fresh produce from local farms to community outreach agencies. (Berkeley, Calhoun, Dorchester)
·    Golden Strip Free Clinic – ($3,000) Providing medical services to chronically-ill and uninsured individuals. (Greenville)
·    Good Neighbor Free Medical Clinic of Beaufort – ($3,000) Providing free primary medical care to low income, uninsured adults. (Beaufort)
·    Greer Community Ministries – ($1,000) Funding for Meals on Wheels and Senior Dining programs. (Greenville, Spartanburg)
·    Healthy Smiles of Spartanburg – ($4,000) An oral health outreach and education program for children ages 4 to 18. (Spartanburg)
·    Help 4 Kids Florence – ($1,500) Distributing weekend meals to needy public school students and their families. (Florence)
·    Helping Hands of Goose Creek – ($3,000) An emergency food program serving families and individuals in crisis. (Berkeley)
·    Hopewell Senior Day Care Center – ($2,500) Funding for a food program providing breakfast and lunch, five days per week for seniors, and distributing food packages monthly to seniors and low income families. (Georgetown, Williamsburg)
·    ICNA Relief USA, Shifa Free Clinic – ($3,000) Funding for a child hunger prevention program providing weekend meals to students in need. (Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Sumter, Georgetown, Colleton)
·    James Island Outreach – ($1,000) An emergency outreach program for those in need. (Charleston)
·    Lowcountry Orphan Relief – ($1,500) Providing clothing, underwear and socks, school supplies and basic essentials to abandoned and abused children. (Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester)
·    Marion Food Bank – ($1,000) An emergency food assistance and disaster relief program. (Williamsburg)
·    MedNeed of SC – ($2,000) Funding to provide durable medical equipment to uninsured indigent citizens. (South Carolina)
·    Mercy Medicine Clinic – ($3,000) Offering coordinated services to homeless and battered women in transition. (Florence)
·    North Strand Helping Hand – ($1,000) Funding to expand a perishable food distribution program. (Horry)
·    Pro Bono Legal Services – ($5,000) A program providing free legal services to low income children, families, and individuals. (Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester)
·    Roscoe Reading Program – ($3,500) Support for a program that uses therapy dogs and provides incentives and prizes to encourage reading amongst elementary school students. (Berkeley)
·    South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness Board of Trustees-Chesterfield – ($2,500) Helping families in need with food and with access to a broad array of assistance services and information on community services. (Chesterfield)
·    Teachers' Supply Closet – ($3,000) Offering free classroom school supplies to teachers from Title One public schools. (Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester)
·    The Lighthouse Ministries – ($5,000) Providing emergency outreach to those in need. (Florence)


Front-line activists face opposition with grace

CLEMSON—Members of Clemson’s Students for Life group provided a valuable lesson on how to handle controversy after one of their pro-life displays was vandalized recently.

The group had set up a large exhibit called Cemetery of the Innocents, which contained more than 100 white crosses in memory of children lost to abortion.

This year, the message was met with aggressive opposition. One night, an unknown person or persons pulled up all the crosses, tossed them in a pile, and left hand-written signs behind.

It was a disturbing and upsetting act of vandalism, but Students for Life responded in a manner befitting the message of Christ.

The group filed a report with Clemson campus police, but did not retaliate in anger or engage in personal attacks. Devin Gibson, president of Students for Life, stressed that they believe all life is sacred.

“Our group continues to offer prayers for the person or people that committed the vandalism and for those who might have been affected or disturbed by the act,” she said. Kathy Schmugge, director of the diocesan Office of Family Life, praised the group’s response.

“I was really impressed with their Christian spirit in the face of the attack,” she said, adding that it’s a good lesson to carry to the upcoming March for Life in Washington, D.C., in January.

Holly Gatlin, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life, said vandalism is an extreme reaction, but pro-life activists must always be prepared to defend their right to free speech, assembly and religion.

Everywhere they go, they will encounter opposition, Gatlin said, and they must know how to respond in a courteous manner and use strategies of debate. For example, ask the attacker why they oppose freedom of speech, or what has happened in their life to make them so angry.

“Our goal is to win them over,” she said. “However, there are those who are never going to get it, and you have to just let them go.”

Schmugge offered three suggestions for handling vocal or hostile opposition to the message of life, family or marriage:

1. Begin and end in prayer.
2. Do not engage in personal attacks.
3. Remember you are representing Christ, and be respectful and loving.

Quoting from Rich Warren, she said “those who attack you are not the enemy; they are our mission field.”

Gibson said the vandalism has only left them more motivated.

“Although we are a very non-confrontational group, we are very on fire for life. We are more determined than ever to continue holding events on campus,” she said


How to navigate a season of joy while experiencing grief

Christmas cheer may be everywhere this time of year, but for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, the season can be an emotional roller coaster.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a national nonprofit organization offering comfort and care to families of fallen military troops, offers the following tips:

Make plans. Plan to spend your days where you feel nurtured, emotionally safe and comfortable. Having a plan will help you navigate the season and its activities. But remember to plan for flexibility, as you may not know how your emotions will roll, especially if it is your first or second holiday season after the death of a loved one.

Find sustenance for the soul. Your church may offer services, resources and support networks for the bereaved. You may want to look for a support group for people who are grieving and have suffered a similar loss.

Don’t be afraid to change it up. Some traditions may be a comfort, while others can cause pain. Consider which to keep and which to forego this year. Do not feel like you have to do something just because you have always done it that way.

Include your lost loved one in giftgiving. Give a gift on behalf of your loved one to someone else. Consider making a donation to a charity in their memory.

Create a tribute. Light a candle at church or at home, display a favorite photograph, or consider writing a letter to your loved one about your special holiday memories together.

Be gentle with yourself. Realize that familiar traditions, sights, smells and even tastes, may be comforting, or may jolt your emotions. This is the time of year when you need to be careful and listen to yourself.

Attend functions if you can. Consider attending Christmas parties and events, especially if you’ll be able to spend time with supportive family members and friends. Make an escape plan in case it is more than you can handle. If you think a gathering might be more than you can bear, it is OK to stay home.

Don’t pretend you haven’t experienced a loss. Imagining that nothing has happened does not make the pain of losing a loved one go away, nor does it make the holidays easier to endure. Even though memories may be painful, they also can be comforting. It is OK to talk with others about what you have lost and what the season means to you.

Pay attention to your health. Sleeping is often difficult for people who have experienced a recent loss. Make sure you get regular rest and drink lots of water. Do not over-indulge in sweets or alcohol. If you feel overwhelmed, talk with your medical care provider.

Take stock of both joy and sadness. Give yourself permission to feel joy as well as sadness. Don’t feel like you have to act a certain way because of your loss, or because it is the holidays.

Just be yourself. Express your feelings. Bottling up your feelings may add to distress, not lessen it. Let it out — write a poem, talk with a supportive friend, create a painting, or pen a journal entry.

Share the season with someone else. Many lonely people might like to experience the holidays with someone else. Consider volunteering with a local charity or soup kitchen, invite a neighbor for a special meal or include others in your seasonal activities.


McLester McDowell, friend to all, dies at 85

McLester McDowell, before he said his daily prayers each morning, asked the Lord to “please make me a blessing to someone else.” He truly believed he was on Earth to help those less fortunate, whether they were hungry, homeless or ill.

This man of simple needs died on Oct. 20 after a brief illness. He never married but had a huge, loving family of friends and fellow parishioners.

McDowell faithfully attended Mass at St. Mary of the Angels in Anderson, but was so much more to the parish and the community. He demonstrated his faith in God by example.

He was born to sharecroppers in Anderson in 1929, served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant, and retired from his job in 1991. The next day he began volunteering at the Anderson Soup Kitchen. He quickly became chairman of the board and managed operations and volunteers every day, serving between 75 to 100 meals a day. He was also a founder of Clean Start in 1996, which is a volunteer organization created to assist the homeless with laundry, showers and job searches. He served as manager of operations at Clean Start and volunteered there three days a week.

McDowell was also a member of the Anderson Housing Authority board of directors for over 20 years, where he volunteered to assist less fortunate families in search of housing. He was so highly regarded that the community voted to name a new housing authority building the “McLester McDowell Achievement Center”.

He was an active member of the Knights of Columbus and in 2013 was named the “South Carolina Knight of the Year”. His tireless and loving service to the community has earned him acclaims from a number of prominent publications.

There was much more to this humble, kind man and words on paper will never truly portray the love and compassion he displayed.



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