Special talents, hundreds of hours, and special in-kind donations highlight 2017 volunteer honorees.
In April and May we took some time to thank our volunteers. Volunteers are the lifeblood of Catholic Charities. We require volunteers almost every day of the week to operate our programs. There is no way we could afford to achieve our mission without them!
In April we celebrated volunteers who work with our Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program in Council Bluffs. Honorees were:
Volunteer of the Year – Kara Belt
Agency of the Year – Iowa DHS Child Protective Services
On May 15, staff and volunteers gathered at the State Historical Building to honor those who help in the Des Moines Metro area.
Refugee Resettlement Caritas Award – June & Dave Keith
June and Dave Keith and her family have been very generous to Catholic Charities organization.
June volunteers over seven hours a week with Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program. She utilizes her energy, creativity, and organization to help the Refugee Resettlement program keep donations organized and cataloged. Her ideas have improved efficiency for apartment setups and use of volunteer groups to help pack for new arrivals. June also contributes her legal expertise in addressing immigration issues and paperwork for newly arrived refugees and teaches a two-hour session at Cultural Orientation on legal rights for immigrants and refugees.
Dave Keith recently donated much needed pallet shelving from his business warehouse. The shelving is much nicer that what the agency could afford, and allows us to be better organized and create more volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals.
June also volunteers Monday mornings at the Emergency Family Shelter.
Emergency Family Shelter Caritas Award – Joan Mahn
Joan Mahn has volunteered and worked with Catholic Charities for many years. Joan volunteers at Catholic Charities Food Pantry on Wednesday and Friday afternoons and at the Emergency Family Shelter on Saturdays and some Monday evenings. She has been around Catholic Charities so long she will often tell stories about volunteering when the food pantry was located on 12th Street (that was in the ’90s!) Joan worked for the shelter as a staff member from 1997-2012. When Joan resigned from the shelter she came back as a volunteer. In 2016, Joan volunteered 238 hours for Catholic Charities. She comes prepared to volunteer, usually bringing needed items for the shelter when she arrives.
Outreach Center Caritas Award – Phil McGrath
Phil McGrath has been a volunteer for Catholic Charities since 2004. Phil can be found at Catholic Charities Food Pantry on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. He always has a smile, his laughter is infectious, and if you are lucky, he will tell you his joke of the day. In 2016, he volunteered 200 hours at the food pantry. Phil has also helped volunteer with agency events, including No Room at the Inn fundraising reception, and Catholic Charities Bishop’s Golf Classic. Phil helps support the agency and is seen as a leader.
Special Events Caritas Award – Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong is truly an example of sharing the gifts God has given you. At least eight years ago, Karen agreed to help decorate for the new No Room at the Inn Friday evening fundraising reception. Her basic volunteering turned into a major effort, putting as much creativity, and energy into each No Room reception as any event she would get paid for at her company, Decorated Occasions. Karen recruits her special team to help her create amazing “off the cuff” results year after year. She also helped with this year’s St. Patrick’s Gala, coming out to see the site, and loaning us chair covers and sashes! We are so happy that Karen graces us with her talents.
Group Caritas Award – BSB Design
BSB Design, through the help of company founder Doug Sharp and company President Dan Swift, has been instrumental in many of the renovation projects Catholic Charities has undertaken over the last decade. Their drawings and insight have helped transform Catholic Charities facilities to improve their functionality, aesthetics, and efficiency. They have also saved the agency thousands of dollars through their in-kind work. Projects they have helped with include:
. Expansion and remodel of Catholic Charities Emergency Family Shelter in 2010
. Renovations at Catholic Charities Outreach Center
. Addition and remodel to Catholic Charities Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault facilities.
Congratulations and many thanks to our honorees and dedicated volunteers!