Colleen Rowan Photo
Archbishop William E. Lori talks to Grant Coleman, interim coordinator for the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center in Wheeling March 2. Also pictured is Beth Zarate, chief executive officer of CCWVa (left); and CCWVa Board members.
By Colleen Rowan
WHEELING—Following a tour of the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center in Wheeling, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston said, “From the minute you walk in, you sense not only services and good things being done for people with needs, but a sense of welcome … the affirmation of human dignity.”
Joining him on the March 2 tour was CCWVa Chief Executive Officer Beth Zarate and board members from across the state, including Matthew and Jenna Bowles, Janet Boyle, Michael Farris, Congregation of St. Joseph Sister Jane Harrington, Miri Hunter, Jesuit Father Brian O’Donnell, Chris Sharps, Paula Taylor, and Danny Vance.
“We are very grateful to Archbishop Lori for his generosity of time to visit Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center,” Zarate said. “His commitment to encounter the people of West Virginia, to include Catholic Charities’ services, is inspiring and appreciated.”
Grant Coleman, interim coordinator of the neighborhood center, began the tour as clients were finishing up breakfast. Both breakfast and dinner are served daily, he said, to about 170 people. This is a service, he noted, that could not be provided without the support of local businesses.
“We get a ton of donations from the local community,” Coleman said. Most donations come from Reisbeck’s, Walmart, Target and Panera Bread.
Providing food for the hungry is a large part of the center’s ministry. It takes a total of 300 volunteers to prepare, package and then deliver meals to shut-ins throughout the region. Most of the people served, Coleman said, are people who do not qualify for services elsewhere.
Coleman led the group into the center’s food pantry, which is meeting a great need in the community, he said. “Every Tuesday and Thursday we open this up to about 400-500 families a month,” he said. Families sign up to receive provisions and are able to fill a box of food.
Project HOPE/Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department operates a public health homeless outreach healthcare clinic under the direction of the department’s employed Project HOPE staff of Dr. William C. Mercer, Dr. Thomas Wack and Crystal Bauer, RN. Primary health services include general medical exams, over the counter medication dispensing, general health consultation, referrals and other services. Clients served by Project HOPE are required to pay for services. Wheeling Hospital provides medications for the clinic at no charge.
Eye care is also provided at the center by Lenscrafters, the Anwar Eye Center and the Lions Club.
The center also offers Hospitality House, which is transitional housing for families going through hard times. Families have a safe and clean private residence for up to six months to establish the services and assistance steps they need to get back on their feet, program officials said.
The center was founded in 1969 and, since then, has been providing an array of services to those in need. The center annually serves more than 80,000 meals in house and through its meal delivery program. Daily services include breakfast and dinner, laundry, showers, phone service and children’s services. Additional services include case management, the food pantry, SNAP Enrollment, assistance with utilities, and cleaning supplies.
“The Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center has a long history of serving the most vulnerable in our region and is grateful to work in collaboration with parishes and community partners across the northern region,” Zarate said. “The center continues to operate with hundreds of volunteers who give their time and boundless unconditional love. There is no greater power than the passion of these servant hearts. Catholic Charities is committed to best practices in social work to move people forward and to stability, honoring the dignity and uniqueness of each individual we encounter.”
On April 28 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center will have its annual spaghetti dinner with all proceeds benefiting the center. This is a chance for the community to offer support for the center, share in fellowship, and enjoy a meal together, center officials said.
The center is located at 125 18th Street, Wheeling. For more information about the center or the dinner, call the center at (304) 232-7157.