"Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." John 13:34.
With our commitment to sharing God’s love all year long, our team of dedicated board members and volunteers hand-delivered 25 boxes of food, personalized gifts, and grocery store gift certificates to individuals and families in need on Valentine’s Day this year.
Our CEO, Marie Baxter, expressed how this community-centered and love-driven event was the first of its kind and allowed board members a chance to connect with clients on a more profound and personal level.
“While board members actively attend our events, they don’t often get the chance to participate at this level of engagement,” said Marie Baxter, CEO, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada. “We hope to provide more meaningful opportunities like this in the future.”
As a social-services nonprofit organization, Catholic Charities serves more than 20,000 individuals in the Reno/Sparks and greater Northern Nevada region every month. So, we saw this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to show our fellow community members how much we sincerely appreciate, love, and care about them.
We started the planning process by asking our team members to identify several clients who could benefit from this experience. Then, with help from our partnerships, we put together personalized gift baskets and visited the homes of those in need.
To learn more about our impact, we asked participants to share what they loved most about the experience and what sharing the love on Valentine’s Day meant to them.
Monique Jacobs, one of our newer board members, made three deliveries during the event and expressed how incredibly grateful and hospitable the recipients were, especially one family who moved to Reno five years ago from another country. “The mother had already prepared a meal for me to eat in between stops,” Monique said. “Their middle-eastern hospitality was on full display!” Even though the family is adjusting to living in a new country, they shared a mutual appreciation for one another, Monique explained. “I took my shoes off as I entered their home, and I believe that gesture united us as good people who share the planet at the same time,” Monique said. “This family will live in my memory, and I will keep them in my prayers.”
Kitty Bergin, our board vice president, also participated in the event and spoke about the importance of delivering goods to clients who don’t have access to vital services. “The families I delivered to live in small apartment complexes, and there aren’t any grocery stores within walking distance,” Kitty explained. “They were overwhelmed with gratitude by the large boxes and personalized cards they received.” Kitty also quoted her delivery partner, Don, who said, “Hunger knocks on those doors more often than it knocks with gifted items and food."
Many Catholic Charities’ clients are families with children, people with disabilities, seniors, and veterans who don’t have access to basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter—our mission is to provide them with a helping hand on the way toward stability and self-sufficiency.
With this in mind, we wanted to surprise our clients with unforgettable gifts that also showed our support for their interests. For example, one of our clients, James, loves to cook and eat nutritious foods. So, our team gifted him a new kitchen appliance. Here’s what he had to say about it. “Although my cooking is rather Spartan-like, I enjoy making potatoes, broccoli, and brussel sprouts,” James said. “I greatly appreciated the air-fryer machine I received.”
Nancy, another one of our beloved clients, also appreciated the heartwarming and personalized gift she received during our event. “Catholic Charities knew that I had heart surgery last year, so they gave me a card that said, ‘From my heart to your heart,’” Nancy said. “I’m saving that card as a memory from that wonderful experience.” As a homebound senior, Nancy enjoyed visiting with our volunteers and wanted to return the favor with goodie bags and other kind sentiments. “Although I don’t know what I did right to deserve this kind of treatment, I believe in showing love and appreciation for those who help me,” Nancy said.
James and Nancy receive monthly assistance through our St. Vincent’s Food Pantry Supplemental Food Bag Program, which typically includes fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, and non-perishable packaged food products.
St. Vincent’s Resource Hub also provides clients with a wide variety of personal care products such as adult disposable underwear, baby wipes, backpacks, body lotion, body wash, bus passes, diapers, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, laundry soap, shampoo, and conditioner, sunscreen, and suitcases.
“This event was completely out of the ordinary,” James said. “It made my day.”
We’re so happy our clients felt loved and valued on Valentine’s Day. Because, at Catholic Charities, we believe that sharing God’s love is one of the greatest commandments.
If you’re searching for ways to share the love and spread positivity in our community, click here or call 775-322-7073, ext 220. For more information and to get involved, visit ccsnn.org.