Catholic Community Service (CCS) exists to live out the Church’s Corporal Works of Mercy. CCS provides services to all of Southeast Alaska—over 4,000 people a year. Each one of those 4,000 people has a story. Below are stories of just a few of the people we have helped—people you have helped by supporting CCS. You have our thanks!
– Erin Walker-Tolles, Executive Director
MISSION MOMENT: A CCS Client Story Hospice Bereavement for all ages
A week or so before Thanksgiving, Bereavement and Volunteer Coordinator Joni Pico received a phone call from a parent seeking counseling services for her middle school child whose father had suddenly passed away. She scheduled a first bereavement counseling session, and then met for six consecutive weeks to support the child through the holiday season. They brainstormed strategies for making new traditions, as well as ones that would honor the loving and tender relationship that the child had with the departed father. Week by week, the child expressed more and more feelings about the loss and opened to the possibility that the holiday season could indeed hold some happy moments despite the sad loss. The parent was so appreciative of bereavement support through Hospice that she made what was for her a substantial financial donation to our organization in memory of the suddenly departed father in hopes that we continue to reach out to the community and support those who are grieving a loss.
MISSION MOMENT: A CCS Client Story Southeast Senior Services – Senior Case Management for elders in need
“S” is a 77 year old woman who experiences dementia. CCS Case Management Supervisor Melissa Showers met S when her daughter was visiting from outside Alaska and introduced them. At that time S lived alone, went outside of her home only if escorted by someone she knew well, and ate very little unless someone was present to prompt her to eat. Melissa developed a rapport with S and worked with service providers to provide respite for S. As time went on, S began to display increased confusion and generally was not able to differentiate past from present. By early November neighbors began to call Melissa because S was walking to their houses because of fear of being attacked in her home by people with weapons. Melissa and the neighbors filed reports with Adult Protective Services (APS) about their safety concerns. Melissa coordinated with CCC’s Care-A-Van and a paid caregiver to support S in attending the Bridge Day Care program (operated by CCS) 5 days a week to provide for a safe and enriched environment for S during the day. Unfortunately, S’s condition continued to deteriorate so that she was no longer able to live alone and she subsequently was admitted to Bartlett Hospital by JPD.
Intervention and services coordinated and provided by Melissa as part of our Senior Case Management Program made a difference in S’s life—allowing her to be safe and get the support she needed. What could have been a tragedy as S frequently left her home at night in the snow, was instead a story of community coming together to help a senior in need. S now lives safely with her daughter outside of Alaska.
Catholic Community Service is about caring and community. Erin Walker-Tolles, Executive Director of Catholic Community Service, believes every person is valuable and deserves to live with dignity. Every service CCS provides (meals and transportation for elders, child care assistance and advocacy for families, home health care and hospice for those who are ill or at the end of their life) is intended to help people be healthy, independent, and become a vital part of their community. Her job is focused on ensuring that CCS, as a non-profit social service and health care agency, is part of a network of
community services extending across all of Southeast Alaska. She shares her own mission with CCS – “with a foundation built on faith, it is our mission and an honor to help those in need.”
Corporal Works of Mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in their spiritual and bodily needs. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus gives a model and the command to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We are to be Christ in disguise.