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  • From Despair to Hope: Your Lenten Generosity Transforms Lives
    By Litz Main As the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the countless individuals and families who…
  • Exploring Mental Health Awareness
    Mental health awareness plays a vital role in fostering overall well-being. Yet, the stigma associated with mental health often prevents individuals from seeking help from a mental health counselor. This…
  • Family Tradition
    For many individuals, the journey from volunteering to becoming a staff member within an organization is a testament to dedication, passion, and a deep commitment to a cause. This transition…
  • Fair housing — Exploring the impact on families and communities
    April is Fair Housing Awareness Month, commemorating the passing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin,…
  • How preparing for disaster can keep your family safe, and serve your community
    At Catholic Charities, we understand that disaster preparation, response, and recovery isn’t just a safety issue — it’s also a poverty issue. Unfortunately, disaster doesn’t discriminate between the financially stable…
  • Parishes partner to provide mental health support
    Culturally comfortable care for Spanish-speaking families By Ashley Wiskirchen Ilsi Palacios is the Hispanic Services Coordinator at Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri. In her role, she provides case…
  • Resource Fair marks Catholic Charities Food Pantry second anniversary.
    By Jennifer Hudson To address the growing needs of mid-Missourians, community organizations and local collaborators are strengthening relationships to provide essential support and resources. The Catholic Charities Food Pantry serves…
  • The Multifaceted Impact of Affordable Housing on Families and Communities
    Access to stable and affordable housing impacts household income and enhances community well-being in multiple ways. It is not just a roof over one’s head but the catalyst for positive…
  • Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
    “We must talk about poverty, because people insulated by their own comfort lose sight of it.” Dorothy Day   “Love is shown more in deeds than in words.” St. Ignatius…
  • Youth & Education Assistant
    Columbia, MO • Catholic Charities Job Type: Part-time Description Overview Catholic Charities of Central & Northern Missouri is seeking a dedicated addition to join our agency’s case management team and play a…
  • Site Director (Columbia)
    Columbia, MO • Catholic Charities Job Type: Full-time Description Overview Catholic Charities of Central & Northern Missouri is seeking a dynamic and experienced leader to join our team. The ideal candidate is…
  • Administrative Assistant (Central Office)
    Jefferson City, MO • Catholic Charities Job Type: Full-time Description Overview Catholic Charities of Central & Northern Missouri is seeking a customer-service minded addition to join our agency’s administrative team and play…

Volunteer Spotlight — Finding value in service … and in each other

Mason, a senior at Helias Catholic High School, knew he would need to complete service hours throughout the 2023 school year, but wasn’t quite sure how he’d get those finished, or who he would volunteer with.

Mason’s grandmother, a volunteer in the Catholic Charities Food Pantry, shared her experiences working alongside Catholic Charities staff to welcome neighbors, check-out and bag groceries, and walk shoppers to their cars during her volunteer shifts.

She asked pantry staff if Mason could tag along for a shift to see how things worked and consider filling his volunteer hours in the pantry.

The staff eagerly responded, “Of course!”

For his first few shifts, Mason diligently stocked shelves, stayed to himself, and carried out tasks as asked by staff.

Mason was reserved and quiet — the pantry staff wondered if the shelf-stocking shift was the right fit for him, but appreciated his willingness to set and reset the pantry for neighbors who would visit to fill their own pantries and refrigerators with healthy food.

One day, Mason offered up a request that was somewhat unexpected; could he volunteer during the pantry shifts to help neighbors who were shopping?

The staff were excited — “of course!” they eagerly answered again.

Mason took up the active pantry shopping shifts and grew more and more comfortable engaging with neighbors and offering to help them shop.

With every shift, the pantry’s staff saw Mason step a little bit further from his comfort zone — from back-of-house work sorting food and stocking shelves, to the welcome center desk to greet clients and talk with shoppers. 

“Each shift he volunteered for, it was so fun to watch him grow and be himself,” shared Food Programs Coordinator Lori Stoll. “He seemed to find value in how he was spending his time, and we could see it.”

To the staff’s delight, Mason started checking in to see which shifts were short-handed and in need of more volunteers.

He began snagging volunteer opportunity spots to make sure the staff had as much support as they needed to serve neighbors well.

He came with jokes and stories to share with other volunteers and neighbors — starting conversations and enjoying visiting during his shift.

“I even heard his grandmother say, ‘I don’t know what happened here, but he is changed — and better for it,’ and that really stuck with me,” Mrs. Stoll shared.

During Mason’s last shift to fulfill his Helias service hours, the staff felt bittersweet. They had genuinely enjoyed their time together, and while feeling proud of him for reaching his service goal, they also knew they’d miss seeing him at the pantry.

He surprised them, yet again, by signing up for eight more pantry shifts when he got home that night.

“We have this big goal to make food more accessible for our neighbors in need,” Mrs. Stoll shared, “but what we see happen time and time again is that our neighbors, and those who volunteer alongside them, find more than food here — they find that they are valued.

“And, personally, I am so grateful for Mason to share his time with us,” she continued. “I’m so glad that our volunteers think that their time here is valuable — because we think of each of them as valuable, too.”