The Social Concerns Committee is now in the 25th year of service to St. Theresa's parish. It is made up of volunteers who give their time to make sure that varied needs and requests are satisfied when brought to the attention of the committee.
Social Concerns: Works throughout the year serving people in need. The committee is most "visible" at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Our Thanksgiving food and turkey drive helped over 300 needy families in 2016. Food, turkey and monetary gifts are given by parishioners and friends to help us meet those needs. Organizations in Kenilworth assist in contributing additional Turkeys and canned goods such as the Boy Scouts, Kenilworth Volunteer Fire Department with extra Turkeys, 7th and 8th Grade CCD students helping to package up the baskets for distribution.
At Christmas, most parishioners are familiar with our "Giving Tree," which is set up in the church vestibule. Specific needs of children and adults are brought to our attention and we make a "gift tag" to hang on the tree for each one. Our parishioners take a tag (or two or more), buy and wrap the gift, and bring it back to church on a designated weekend. The members of the committee make sure the gifts reach the recipients in time for Christmas. This past year, our generous parishioners provided over 500 gifts for needy people! Along with needed food contributions from the Food Pantry.
Throughout the year, the committee supervises a parish food pantry. Monthly donations of food and paper goods, along with monetary donations, help the committee to provide food to families or individuals in temporary or emergency need. A shopping basket is placed in the church vestibule the last weekend of the month so that parishioners may donate non-perishables as they are able.
We are in constant outreach to parishioners and community members who contact us or who are brought to our attention. People who need someone just to talk to, or who have been ill, or are shut-ins at home, or are in nursing homes are helped by members of the committee.
Members are aware of organization and the type of help they provide; when necessary, people in extreme need are referred to these other organizations which can provide sustained help over a long period of time.
There are many people who need temporary help. It may be due to job loss, family illness, or an emergency situation. There may have been a problem which someone couldn't solve alone. This is WHY the Social Concerns committee exists. As an extension of our parish family, we are eager to help and consider it a privilege when people allow us to extend a loving, helping hand during difficult times. We can't do this work alone; the caring and sharing of our parishioners and friends allows us to be an extension of Christ's work in the parish.