History — Flood — New Building — Partners
The Merciful H.E.L.P. Center has a long history of providing assistance to parishioners and others in Hamilton County. This ministry began with a priest and one or two volunteers working out of a closet. Through the generosity of the parish and the compassion of thousands of people, the Merciful H.E.L.P. Center is now 18 ministries strong, has a huge volunteer base, and can provide assistance in a myriad of ways:
- In the beginning years, the Thanksgiving Basket Drive assisted 25 families. Now, three decades later in 2010, we were able to assist 410 families – nearly 1,800 people – to gather in thanksgiving.
- We started having open hours with the H.E.L.P. Pantry for the first time in 1994, serving between 20 to 30 families a month. Now, in 2011, we serve 20 to 30 families in one two-hour period. In 2010 we served close to 2,700 families, or more than 13,000 people, with food, paper and cleaning products and toiletries. It took one volunteer to work the Food Pantry when we opened and it now takes between four and ten people to open our doors.
- With the economy plummeting since 2008, many families are struggling with homelessness or near homelessness. Because of the generosity of our parishioners, we have been able to help other parishioners stay in their homes by providing assistance in filing for Government aid and assisting financially through unemployment.
- In 2010, a grant program was established to help families re-establish themselves after having been homeless. With the help of these grants, 23 families went from living between a vehicle or someone’s couch to living in their own place with beds to sleep on, a kitchen to table to eat at as a family and all the essential housewares needed to live day-to-day. Our Handymen crew rehabilitated three houses this year and made repairs to several others.
- Many single mothers were helped by Gabriel project mentors and with all the physical needs that come along with having a new baby in the house.
- More than $200,000 in financial aid was carefully given to assist families in emergency situations.
- As a parish we helped 822 children receive warm clothes, socks, underwear and gifts at Christmas, and their families received a box of food and cold goods.
- For the first time, in July 2010, Merciful H.E.L.P.’s countywide Tools for School program was able to help children with not only the essential school supplies needed to begin school, but with a book bag, a brand new pair of shoes, socks, underwear, used coats and clothing, as well as education about social services our community makes available to help children.
- As the new Matthew 25 Center is being built we look forward to providing education for families that are stuck in the cycle of poverty to overcome old patterns, and to move toward self-reliance. We are in the planning stages of offering financial counseling and legal services for our clients in our new facility.