Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Help End The Cycle Of Poverty

Published November 17, 2005

My Dear Friends in Christ,

Could you live on $9,393 a year? Could your family of four live on $18,810 a year?

Those figures, according to the government’s Census Bureau, defined the most recently studied poverty line. Today’s statistics reveal that in spite of the prosperity many Americans enjoy, nearly 36 million of us—including one in six children—live below the poverty line. Further, one in eight Americans struggles to find affordable housing, splits prescription medications in half because of financial hardships or works more than one job to try to make ends meet.

As individuals and as members of the Catholic Church in North Georgia, we can help to bring about permanent solutions to this cycle of poverty, one community at a time, by joining in solidarity with those in need and through our contributions to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

We, the bishops of the United States, established the Catholic Campaign for Human Development 35 years ago. This organization, a part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, works to help people end the cycle of poverty in this country—not just for a day—but for a lifetime. By funding self-help projects in our various dioceses throughout the United States, CCHD is committed to helping people change the conditions that constantly keep them in the state or culture of poverty. These annual CCHD projects support low-income people and families as they work together to improve educational opportunities, create jobs and improve access to services for the disabled and the marginalized.

Last year the Archdiocese of Atlanta received CCHD funding on two major national grants: a $40,000 People of Hope, Inc. Community Organizing Grant in Athens, Ga., that allowed low-income neighborhoods to join together to develop a community cooperative mobile home park, providing affordable housing to this segment of the community. CCHD also sponsored, in the city of Atlanta, a $40,000 Georgia Avenue Coming Together, Inc. Economic Development Grant. This grant was responsible for the creation of the “Tummy and Soul” cooperative restaurant near Turner Field that employs and pays a living wage to area residents. It also helped to establish a food cooperative in the area that provides meals to over 200 families. Besides these two national CCHD grants, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and our local CCHD office in Catholic Charities received money for 11 community grants totaling $33,000 and for seven parish grants totaling $7,000.

To help fund these anti-poverty programs in Atlanta and those in other communities across the country, CCHD relies on an annual parish collection. In recent years the Campaign has received increased requests for additional funds to sponsor new business and community initiatives. Unfortunately, CCHD has been forced to turn down nearly half of the grant applications forwarded to its national office for consideration because of a lack of resources.

I urge you to give generously to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development when the collection is taken up in your parish on the weekend of Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005. We will send 75 percent of the donations to the CCHD national office to support anti-poverty projects across the country, and we will keep the other 25 percent of funds collected here in our archdiocese to fund local self-help initiatives that benefit communities in North Georgia.

By joining in solidarity with other Catholics across the country, you lend strength to efforts already underway to foster self-sufficiency and that build up families and communities in need. Working together, let us put an end to poverty in this, the wealthiest of nations. Recall the words of Sirach 7:32: “To the poor man also extend your hand, that your blessing may be complete.”

Be assured of my prayers for you and for all of those experiencing any kind of hardship. May we also pray for the success of this year’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Wilton D. Gregory

Archbishop of Atlanta