Local News and Stories

Catholic Community Service and Corporal Works of Mercy

Catholic Community Service (CCS) exists to live out the church’s corporal works of mercy.
Our efforts began in 1973… and 45 years later we are still providing help to those in need!

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

We provide services to children and families through our Child Advocacy Program serving all of Southeast, with forensic interviews and supports for children (and their families) who have suffered from suspected abuse and witnessed violent crimes. In Juneau we provide Hospice end-of-life services, and Home Health skilled nursing and therapies. And the biggest body of work we have is Southeast Senior Services – helping seniors across Southeast to live as independently as possible.
Below are two stories about how CCS helped seniors and their caregivers.
Southeast Senior Services
CCS’s Southeast Senior Services is well known for our 10 Senior Centers across Southeast, providing congregate meals, Meals-On-Wheels, and transportation for seniors (and disabled individuals) in Angoon, Craig/Klawock, Haines/Klukwan, Hoonah, Juneau, Akae, Saxman/Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, Wrangell and Yakutat. But CSS does far more for seniors than that! Senior Caregiver Resource Center, Tai Chi for Health, Counseling, Case Management, and more are available.

A Caregiver Support and Meals on Wheels
Client Story

Swan Lake Senior Center, Sitka

In Sitka, like in many of the communities we serve, not only does the local senior center provide meals and rides for seniors, but also Family Caregiver Support so that we can help those who are helping care for seniors at home. This is a story of a caregiver and CCS partnership as daughter “J” works and also cares for her elderly father “C.”

Senior client “C” has moderate to severe dementia as well as incontinence struggles which result in severe anxiety outside the home for any amount of time unless daughter J is able to travel with him. He is also occasionally unstable on his feet and thus a fall risk. Daughter J takes good care of Dad; she is responsible for nearly all of his Instrumental Activities of Daily Living each day. And she also must work during the day, so she has an arrangement with friends and family to assist him when they are available – as well as some minimal weekly care hours from another agency.

Sandi, our Swan Lake Senior Center Manager and Caregiver Support Advocate, has known J for many years and when she learned that J was caring for her dad, she reached out to her. Dad C’s combined dementia and related anxiety, as well as incontinence concerns, made it unrealistic for us to bring him to the senior center for congregate meals, so we provide daily home delivered meals. Sandi has also connected her with other resources in our community as well as our Caregiver Outreach program in Juneau (the Senior and Caregiver Resource Center).

J has expressed her gratitude for our help many times. The home delivered meals especially make a big difference in their daily existence. Dad gets proper and consistent daily nutrition and his caregiver daughter gets one tiny break from caregiving each weekday.

If there are any changes in their routine J calls Sandi. And if our Driver who delivers meals notices something of concern during daily deliveries, Sandi contacts J so she can know and support her dad. It’s true genuine partnership to help a senior live as independently as possible with dignity, as CCS supports both the senior, and caregiver, with care and compassion.

A JOLI Elder’s Story

Below is a story from our NEWEST senior program – The Juneau Options for Living Independently (JOLI) program, providing services and support for Native elders living in Juneau public housing.

This winter Bill, our JOLI service coordinator, worked with an Alaska Native elder who experiences mental disabilities. The elder had been evicted from his apartment two times in 2017, making choices that forced management to cancel the leases. As Bill was trying to help the elder find a new apartment, he became aware of an infestation of bedbugs which was interfering with the elder moving into a new living arrangement. Bill contacted an exterminator to come and take care of the problem, but due to his disability, the elder missed 2 appointments with the exterminator and was evicted yet again.

Because of bad references from previous landlords (coupled with the bedbug problem) no place in Juneau would rent to him. He was homeless for 6 weeks until he moved into the Glory Hole, where he resided for 4 months. The Office of Public Advocacy (OPA) provided the elder with money weekly, but he had no money left by the next day… and the elder made repeated trips to the Emergency Room due to degrading health and missing medications. The Glory Hole contacted Bill with concerns of abuse—someone was suspected of taking the elder’s medications and money regularly. Adult Protective Services (APS) was notified, but because of the liability involved, the Glory Hole was forced to give the elder a notice of eviction.

Bill talked with the elder and proposed that he move to an assisted living facility in Anchorage because it would be a safe place and there were no local housing options left in Juneau. The elder was undecided about the issue for over a month, and The Glory Hole (after talking with Bill and the OPA), decided to allow him to stay until we could secure the elder a place to live.

Bill worked with staff at SEARHC and OPA to apply for General Relief (GR) funds and assisted living in Anchorage. After many phone calls, emails and visits, the elder was finally accepted into a general relief assisted living home in Anchorage. Bill worked with the Glory Hole, OPA, APS, SEARHC, Alaska Airlines and the Assisted Living Home to help him move safely – from helping him purchase luggage all the way to walking the elder through security at the Juneau Airport. The GR Assisted Living Home staff was at the gate in Anchorage waiting to pick him up and take him to his new home.

During their time together, Bill asked the elder what he would do if he was evicted from the Glory Hole. He said, “I guess I will go into the woods. It will be warmer there.” Without CCS, and the efforts of so many partners at so many agencies, this disabled elder would be homeless on the streets of Juneau in the winter with nowhere to be safe. Instead, the elder is living in an Assisted Living home, with help to make sure he stays healthy and safe.
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You may notice that Catholic Community Service doesn’t do this good work alone! It takes many people – Loving caretakers, compassionate CCS outreach staff, and dozens of partner agencies to wrap services around the most vulnerable of us in Southeast to ensure our clients’ safety, security, and dignity.

And it doesn’t end there. We depend on funding from state, federal and local governments, from tribes and foundations… and from individual Alaskans (like you!) who feel called to contribute – their time or their money – to help CCS keep helping those in need.

To donate or volunteer contact us at CCSJUNEAU.ORG or 463-6100

Thank you for your support! Prayers always welcome!

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