Help us to give the gift of hope to Anchorage this Lenten Season


Today is a new day, a day full of hope. There are times, especially in the past year, when we may have lost some hope. It seems there are negative stories surrounding us, and I personally feel drained some days. I know I’m not alone. However in this season of Lent, as we approach Easter, I recall the great hope in our lives — hope that reminds me to see the small acts of kindness that occur every day at Catholic Social Services. These moments lift my view of the entire world.

Our donors and volunteers also prove to us that hope is alive and well. These individuals make a pledge through Pick Click Give with their resources, they share their time, and they give their goods to those at difficult and vulnerable moments of their lives. These are gifts of hope. So much of our work is about providing hope to those we serve, and it is our community support that makes this possible.

Recently we got to be part of creating a wonderful story. If you are in Anchorage, you may have read about this in the Anchorage Daily News — the young family staying in need of emergency shelter. Hannah and David moved out of Anchorage with their 2-year-old son to live on their own in Sacramento, California. Hannah was pregnant with their second child when they decided to move back to Alaska and closer to family. Their family homes, however, were already packed with more than eight people living in them. Hannah and David stayed at a family homeless shelter until they could find a place of their own.

Early in the morning Hannah began to have contractions that started off small. She thought it was false labor. The contractions kept up to every five, three and then every minute. Hannah’s mom did not make it in time to bring her to the hospital, so David managed the birth with the support of the 911 dispatcher. David delivered his newborn son by coaching Hannah to push through the screams — he was born at 5 pounds, 13 ounces.

Hannah and David named him Kahleel, a name meaning “wealth,” because they say he made them feel rich.

It was a wonderful story of how a family found themselves in hard times. They were regrouping and striving for independence before their baby came, but the timing just did not quite work out. This family was supported by a case manager from Catholic Social Services who worked with them to find stability through our Supportive Services for Veteran Families.

It is truly an example of the community coming together — a community providing hope. Tina, one of our case managers, worked with the family to find housing through a supportive landlord. The Knights of Columbus in the community provided a crib, baby clothes and diapers. Catholic Social Services programs joined in the support through Clare House providing diapers, Pregnancy Support providing blankets, a carrier, and more baby clothes and diapers, and another case manager securing a bed for the family’s new home. Your support makes it possible for case managers like Tina to strengthen families and compassionately serve those in need.

We came together as a community to help this young family and now they are on their way. Let’s not give up hope, but continue to live our lives with love and peace in our heart and with eyes open to the people around us.

The writer is executive director of Catholic Social Services in Alaska. For more on CSS, call 222-7300 or visit

'Help us to give the gift of hope to Anchorage this Lenten Season'
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