Archive | May, 2011

Transition at Christian Help of Mingo County

26 May

Dear friends,

On April 28, 2011, I submitted my resignation as Executive Director of Christian Help of Mingo County to the agency’s board of directors, to be effective June 14.  For the present, the board has named Sr. Therese Carew (our Program Director since September 2009) tobe the interim Executive Director of Christian Help, effective June 15.

In nearly two years here, my family and I have found Mingo County to be a wonderful place to live in many ways. The people are generous, neighborly, warm, and good. We have thoroughly enjoyed living among them and getting to know many of them as real friends. In some ways, this is the perfect place to live and raise kids. The people and their culture have taught us many things that we want to take with us.

I am not leaving because of dissatisfaction with my job or with either agency.  Christian Help is a wonderful place that’s doing vitally important work. I came with a desire to serve people living in poverty and (as ABLE Families’ mission statement puts it) “confront the systemic causes” of that poverty here in central Appalachia. I have learned a lot about that poverty and its causes, and my job has been very rewarding. One of those causes – but not the only one – is lack of access to quality education. It’s a very real problem with very real consequences to daily life here.

As director of Christian Help and ABLE Families, that has presented an invigorating challenge. But as a parent raising six young kids here, it’s frustrating. My wife and I decided that for the sake of our kids, it would be best to look elsewhere for the longterm. I have accepted a position as Associate Publisher at Liturgical Press, a Catholic book publisher based in Collegeville, Minnesota.

I want to thank everyone for their ongoing support of Christian Help, even after our founding director, Sr. Brendan Conlon, retired and I stepped into her shoes. They were big shoes to fill!  Christian Help’s mission remains challenging and important. Your support is vital and appreciated.

We’ll update you as soon as the board has made more long-term decisions about the agency’s leadership.  Having worked with Sr. Therese since we both arrived here together in September 2009, I know it is, in the meantime, in good hands. 

God bless you!



“Always Christmas at Christian Help”

20 May

Our long-time friend and volunteer Gail Ruble was here working this week  —  believe it or not, she’s hard at work preparing donated toys for next December’s  Christmas distribution!  That major annual program demands many hours of work throughout the year to make sure everything is ready come December. 

As staff member Delphia commented, “It’s always Christmas at Christian Help.”

Thank you, Gail, and all our beloved volunteers, as well as all our friends whose donations and gifts keep it all happening.

“And the winner is…” — Great Fundraising Challenge results!

19 May

It was close, but:  Christian Help is the winner of the Great Fundraising Challenge!  Thanks in large part to many long-time supporters who suggested to friends and family that they get to know what we do and offer a gift of support, we received more donations from first-time donors than our “competitor” in this challenge (and sister agency), ABLE Families

That means we’re the recipient of a gift of $4,000 from one generous donor,  and another gift of $4,000 from another generous donor.  Our grateful thanks to both supporters! 

It also means the ABLE Families staff will be working at our place for a day.  We’ll enjoy having them around!

Thanks also to the new donors who made our ‘win’ possible, as well as the long-time supporters who pointed us out to them!

Alert and Update: the Great Friendraising Challenge

12 May

Remember the Great Fundraising Challenge?  There’s $8,000 waiting to go to either Christian Help or our sister agency ABLE Families, depending on which agency can garner more new donors by May 15

Where do things stand with 3 days to go?  Christian Help is ahead — by one!  We have received donations from 18 new donors since the Challenge began; ABLE Families has received 17.  And with that news on the ABLE Families blog today, I suspect ABLE Families supporters will mobilize a bit.

Care to help us make sure we get that $8,000, to help the people we serve?  If you’ve never donated to Christian Help, now would be a great time to do it!  If you have, it would be a great time to get a friend or family member to do it.

Since we’re coming down to the wire, I’d encourage you or them to make the donation online, which can be done simply and securely here

Thanks for considering it!

Word gets around

5 May

We recently received a very kind gift of homemade baby blankets, household items, and a generous check from Susan Kimmey of Manchester, New Hampshire.  Susan included a note explaining that she’s the aunt of one of the students from Marianapolis Preparatory School in Thompson, Connecticut.  (See our post about the visit we received in March from those students, and the great work they did, here.) 

Susan wrote:

My niece Kayla recently helped out Christian Help with the group from Marianapolis.  I was really touched by her enthusiasm and respect for you and your mission.  I hope you can put these baby blankets I made and some other things to good use.  I’m sure you can.

We sure can.  And we’re very happy when we see word getting out about the good work that goes on here.  Thank you, Kayla and Susan!