Posted on May 4, 2020 · Posted in News, Upcoming Events

MIAMI | Staying home is hard. Juggling online school and work is hard. But hard doesn’t compare to the hardship other people in South Florida are experiencing during this coronavirus pandemic.

Like the single mother who lost her job and her child support payments due to the economic shutdown.Give_Catholic,_Give_Together_2w_1588272768

Like the father who lost his wife to cancer and must find both work and a way to care for his out-of-school children.

Like the children who lost their father and their home, and whose mom is struggling to feed them.

All stories of hardship but also stories of hope, because the Archdiocese of Miami has been helping these families with food, with rent payments, or by covering their electric or medical bills.

“The need is always greater than the resources available,” said Katie Blanco Bourdeau, chief development officer for the archdiocese. But, she added, “We are helping people. Things are happening.”

Sometimes that entails tapping the resources of archdiocesan agencies and ministries, including Catholic CharitiesCatholic Health ServicesCatholic Legal ServicesRespect Life and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Other times, the help comes through generous donors who step up when informed of a specific need.

“It’s very much a collaborative effort. There’s no one thing that anybody can do to help everybody, but together, we can do a lot,” Bourdeau said.

For the past month, help has also been coming through donations to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which was created by the Development Office the same weekend that South Florida churches were closed for public gatherings. The fund has collected $77,790 through April 29, 2020.

The COVID-19 Emergency Fund was created by the Development Office the same weekend that South Florida churches were closed for public gatherings. It was created in anticipation of the economic fallout of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 Emergency Fund was created by the Development Office the same weekend that South Florida churches were closed for public gatherings. It was created in anticipation of the economic fallout of the pandemic.

It was created “in anticipation of what this pandemic might cause,” Bourdeau explained, because “when people are in need, they turn to the Church. That has always been the case and will always be the case.”

She stressed that the families have not sought help directly from the archdiocese. They have been referred by pastors, school principals or directors of archdiocesan agencies who have vetted their needs — much like those selected to receive gift cards in the annual Heart of Christmas giveaway.

So far, the Development Office has used a “soft approach” to promote the COVID-19 Emergency Fund, Bourdeau said. Archbishop Thomas Wenski has referred to it in his letters to archdiocesan Catholics. The link is posted on the homepage of the archdiocesan website.

But a major push is coming May 5, 2020, which is Giving Tuesday, a new global day of giving. Normally, Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (Dec. 3, 2019) and many archdiocesan parishes and schools participate. The May 5 date was added, worldwide, specifically to address the emergency needs caused by COVID-19.

“Giving Tuesday calls us to unite.  It is a call to action for everyone to come together on the common ground of generosity and goodwill to help us get through this pandemic,” Bourdeau said.

Catholics in South Florida can participate by going to the platform created by the Development Office —www.GiveCatholicGT.org. While there, they can contribute to the emergency fund which is helping families in need or they can direct their donations to a specific parish, school or program.

“Everybody right now is suffering due to the pandemic,” Bourdeau said, noting the drop-off in parish collections and school tuition payments. “This link allows you to give in a variety of ways but all funds raised will support the relief efforts of COVID-19.”

Of course, there’s no need to wait until Tuesday to donate. Giving Tuesday merely serves as a reminder to those who have been spared the worst of this pandemic, to remember those who have not been as fortunate.

“If we don’t ask, we’re not able to help these families,” Bourdeau said. “Every act of kindness right now is a gift of hope.”