How are you giving back this season?
''What are you giving up for Lent?"
It is a common question Catholics often ask each other throughout the six weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Founded on three key pillars -- prayer, fasting, and almsgiving -- Lent is a deeply revered season within the Catholic community.
The question that is asked less often during the Lent season, however, relates to the third pillar: "How are you giving back?"
At Catholic Charities Boston, this question is answered every day by dedicated staff, donors, and volunteers. For our most vulnerable neighbors, the rising costs of groceries, rent, and double-digit rate increases for utilities have created additional financial stress. Demand for services, from food pantries to affordable childcare, has grown significantly. While the need is immense, it has provided an opportunity to give back and make an extraordinary difference for our neighbors in need.
While donating money directly or through the Archdiocese of Boston's Ash Wednesday collection in support of Catholic Charities is the most straightforward way to give back and support those in need, here are five additional ways to consider giving back this Lent:
-- Join our Monthly Giving Program
Catholic Charities' monthly giving program is an opportunity to start something during Lent that has an ongoing impact. By joining the agency's monthly giving program, you are able to spread your gift throughout the year and provide Catholic Charities with a reliable source of revenue to meet the growing demand and serve families in need.
-- Consider your legacy
As Lent is a season of reflection, it can be an ideal time to contemplate the legacy you would like to leave behind. For those interested in making a planned gift to the agency that will have a far-reaching impact after their lifetime, Catholic Charities Boston offers a number of ways to structure your legacy gift.
-- Mentor youth
For those who prefer volunteering and engaging with youth more directly, there are a range of mentoring and tutoring opportunities available at Catholic Charities Boston's Teen Center at St. Peter's, which serves over 300 adolescents living in Dorchester's Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood. Volunteers provide academic assistance, career and college counseling, as well as personal support to help youth succeed.
-- Support a refugee family
From resettling over 160 Afghan refugees with the support of Community Sponsor sites, to launching a Welcome Circles program in support of Ukrainian families, and assisting thousands of families in between, Catholic Charities' Refugee and Immigrant Services help restore dignity and provide a sense of security to newcomers arriving in the U.S., many who are fleeing poverty, political instability, war, violence, and natural disasters.
Community Sponsor sites and Welcome Circles, the latter which have now expanded to also serve Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans, play a vital role in providing financial support and opportunities to those seeking to resettle in the U.S. To learn more about how you can get involved, or for more ways to donate to this life-changing work, please email email@example.com.
-- Donate your used car (or parts of it)
Charitable Adult Rides and Services (CARS), is a social enterprise nonprofit organization that helps thousands of organizations across the country increase their fundraising through a turn-key vehicle donation program. CARS accepts used cars, trucks, boats, and motorcycles and sells them, or their parts, at auction. Eighty percent of the net proceeds of a vehicle donated to CARS for Catholic Charities go directly toward Catholic Charities' youth programming, including the Teen Center, Sunset Point summer camp in Hull, and mentoring, tutoring, and childcare services across the agency.
The vital work of helping people in need within our communities is only made possible thanks to the generosity of donors and supporters. To learn about more ways to give back or volunteer, visit ccab.org.
SHANNON LYONS IS THE PR AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER FOR CATHOLIC CHARITIES BOSTON.