Three years ago, Colleen Gardner sat with her husband, Bill, at Catholic Charities’ annual Celebration of Hope gala. The couple listened to one story after another. Colleen was familiar with the nonprofit but that night realized “the incredible scope of their work.”
“The fact that they get 1,500 walk-ins and calls a day, and that’s only a tiny part of what they do and how they help — it’s powerful,” said the member of Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Lake Oswego. Walking away from the gala, the couple knew they wanted to support Catholic Charities. The organization is “an umbrella of hope,” Gardner said.
The 57-year-old finds the nonprofit’s work with refugees especially important. “I can’t imagine being in the middle of war, fleeing violence,” she said, adding, “these are people just like us.”
Recently retired, Gardner plans not only to give financially, but also to roll up her sleeves and help; she’s started volunteering for Refugee Resettlement services.
Catholic Charities’ goal is to “wrap its arms around clients” said Gardner. And, through donations and time, she plans to be part of those loving arms.