What’s the best way to spend $1.49? Join school supply drive for area students

When browsing the back-to-school section in coming weeks, Catholic Charities encourages shoppers to pick up a few additional spiral notebooks for $1.49 each, grab a spare three-pack of glue sticks for around $3.29, or even toss in an extra Spiderman backpack that will run about $10.99.

These items can go a long way in supporting one of the 6,067 children experiencing homelessness and crippling poverty that are served by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver. On Aug. 5, they will host a daylong School Supply Drive where donors can drive through and drop off donations in the parking lot of their main office at 4045 Pecos St.

“You don’t have to spend a big dollar amount to have an impact,” explained Cheryl Talley, event coordinator, and organizer of the drive. “Small donations are much appreciated and will go directly to those we serve.”

Talley, while working as a volunteer at Charities’ Samaritan House homeless shelter for four years, saw firsthand how children can struggle when preparing for school.

“On the first day of school I would see kids scrounging around for a pencil,” she said. “It broke my heart.”

When they did have supplies, some were embarrassed when they had to carry them in an old plastic bag versus a backpack, she added.

“They don’t have a place to live, much less a backpack … (but) they don’t want to be different,” she said. “Having school supplies goes a long way for their self-esteem. It gets them excited about the school year … and that’s their future. Education is what’s going to get them out of the cycle of poverty.”

Children served by Charities receive food, shelter, educational and other resources from various ministries including foster care, kinship care (families raising children of relatives), early childhood education, immigration services, and four homeless shelters: Samaritan House and Father Ed Judy House in Denver, The Mission Shelter in Fort Collins and Guadalupe Shelter in Greeley.

“(Before I volunteered) I didn’t realize there were children and babies at Samaritan House,” Talley said. “The children were the ones that could be forgotten.”

There are generally between 30 to 60 children living there at any given time, she said, of the total 300 residents.

Catholic Charities’ employees and volunteers will be on-hand from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to accept donations during the School Supply Drive. They will also be serving hot dogs and refreshments.

“We invite people to bring anything and everything,” Talley said. “Whatever they are comfortable with.”

Supplies needed include backpacks, pencils, pens, highlighters, folders, water bottles, insulated lunch bags, rulers, scissors, three-ring binders and flash drives, among many other things. For a complete list, visit www.ccdenver.org/news/events/25.


Catholic Charities’ School Supply Drive

 When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 5

Where: 4045 Pecos St., Denver

What: Drop off school supply donations

Online: www.ccdenver.org/news/events/25

Questions: 720-377-1385 or CTalley@ccdenver.org



Average back-to-school spending by grade


Elementary Middle school/junior high High school
Clothing and accessories $204.76 $234.13 $232.01
Shoes $101.88 $121.53 $124.25
School supplies such as notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks, lunchboxes $95.63 $100.81 $96.85
Electronics such as home computer, laptop, cell phone, tablet $178.67 $225.66 $229.88
Combined average $580.94 $682.13 $682.99

Source: 2014 Back to School/College survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.

Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash