By Father Christopher Kubat
I am elated to announce that on Sunday, Sept. 30, Catholic Social Services will celebrate its 20th annual Bountiful Harvest banquet, held at the Hastings City Auditorium.
This is an incredible milestone. As some of you know, this began as a potluck honoring volunteers and is now one of the major fundraising events of Catholic Social Services. All of the proceeds of this event go to the support of the mission of CSS to the poor and needy in the greater Hastings area to the western part of the Diocese of Lincoln.
During the celebration, we give the Caritas Christi award to a person or persons whose lives have reflected the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Also, we highlight what has been done in loving Jesus in the poor and needy because of the generosity of our supporters over the past year. The social starts at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m.
Not only has the event expanded over the years, but so too, what God has helped us accomplish. Last year, by the grace of God and the generosity of our donors, we were able to provide over a million dollars in services to more than 3,600 individuals representing 46,000 points of contact in the greater Hastings area and beyond. This includes assistance with charity grants for people who are unable to afford counseling services; rent, utilities, food, clothing, furniture, appliances, cars, baby items and household items; and the work of our St. Gianna’s West program, in which we assist women who are escaping domestic violence and abortion who live in the south central section of the Diocese of Lincoln and westward.
This year, the recipients of the Caritas Christi award are Gerald and Jean Witte, who live in the rural Cambridge area. For decades, Gerald and Jean have done much for the diocese, locally and regionally.
I am happy to announce that Father Robert Barnhill will be saying a few words about this incredible couple. After a brief conversation with Father Barnhill, I am even more edified not only by their love for each other, but for their neighbors.
In the first letter of John in the New Testament, we learn that God is love and the evidence of our love of God is the love of our neighbor. And the evidence of the love of our neighbor is what we do for each other in a self-sacrificial way. Gerald and Jean have lived and loved each other and their neighbors as an example to us all in how to love God.
I hope you are able to attend, but if not, please continue to pray for CSS, for Gerald and Jean Witte and for this wonderful upcoming event. Please know that we at Catholic Social Services will keep you, your family and intentions in our prayers.