The Archdiocese of Portland has presented grants to three innovative anti-poverty groups.

Eugene-based Huerto de la Familia (The Family Garden) received $10,000 to help low-income Latino families grow their own food.

Street Roots got a $5,000 grant to expand east Portland sales of the newspaper run by homeless people.

And $5,000 went to Northeast Portland-based Verde, which offers environmental job training, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to low-income residents.

The money, which serves people of any or no faith, comes from Oregon Catholics via the Catholic Campaign for Human Development collection.

The campaign, better known as CCHD, was founded in 1970 by the nation’s Catholic bishops. It comes each year at a season when Catholics are also collecting clothing and food to assist needy people and backing the work of helping agencies.

“When the bishops formed the CCHD, they wanted to take a step beyond charity,” Archbishop John Vlazny says, explaining the program as a complement to the work of Catholic Charities and other groups.

The idea of the bishops was to help the poor help themselves via economic development. The campaign is still choosy about whom it funds, Archbishop Vlazny says, making sure all church criteria are met.

The national campaign backs projects, but so do local dioceses. The three local grants given last week were selected with the help of a committee guided by Matt Cato, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Justice and Peace and Respect for Life.

“The response of Oregon Catholics to the annual CCHD collection has helped to bring about social change that is rooted in the gospel and the social teaching of the church,” Cato says.

Huerto de la Familia works to alleviate poverty and hunger among Latinos in Lane County through education, community gardens and a six-acre farm in Eugene. On that parcel, 10 low-income families have worked for more than two years to develop an organic farm business. Heifer International also has supported the plan.

Families have planted five acres in organic raspberries, strawberries and mixed vegetables. The project aims to increase each family’s income and create greater access to healthy food.

The farmers are learning methods of organic agriculture, plus business skills. They also have committed to passing on the gift to others by giving plants, seeds, poultry, produce, compost and knowledge to others. Each year, 10 new families will be trained.

Street Roots is a nonprofit newspaper that not only advocates for people who are homeless, but offers jobs in production and distribution. It’s a Portland tradition. The paper publishes essays, opinions and poetry of people experiencing extreme poverty and homelessness. The paper is sold for $1 apiece, raising about $160,000 each year for people in need.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development grant supports a plan to sell the paper in an area bounded by Northeast Killingsworth, Southeast Woodstock, 33rd Avenue and Interstate 205.

The mission of Verde is to improve economic health by fostering a link with environmental protection and restoration. It backs environmental job creation, environmental job placement and environmental entrepreneurship, with a special focus on low-income Latinos and Native Americans in Northeast Portland’s Cully Neighborhood.

The plan is to help residents emerge from low-paying jobs into careers in sustainability. A project called Verde Energy will hire, train and employ more than 20 low-income Latinos and Native Americans to carry out residential and commercial weatherization.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development’s philosophy emphasizes empowerment and participation — projects done by and with people, not to or for them. People living in poverty must have the dominant voice in funded organizations.

The campaign expects groups requesting funding to understand and adhere to the basic principles central to the Catholic mission.

On hand at the archdiocesan pastoral center last week for the presentation of grants were Archbishop Vlazny; Mary Jo Tully, chancellor of the archdiocese; Cato; Sarah Cantril of Huerto de la Familia; Israel Bayer of Street Roots; and Alan Hipólito of Verde.