Sisters of Charity, BVM pool stimulus checks to address hunger

Joseph Molieri for Bread for the World

By Jennifer Gonzalez

Earlier this year, when the federal government began to send stimulus checks to individuals and families around the country, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) in Dubuque, Iowa didn’t keep the money for themselves.

Instead, they pooled their stimulus checks and with generous benefactor contributions donated their money to 120 organizations – mainly food banks and pantries – working to alleviate hunger in the United States and abroad. Donations totaled just over $165,000 and went to organizations in 21 states, Ecuador, and Ghana.

Sister Teri Hadro, president of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity, BVM, said that because of good stewardship and planning, and generous benefactors, the religious orders’ current basic needs are met. That allowed space for the BVM Sisters and Associates to pool their stimulus checks together and make the donations.

“The stimulus checks gave rise to an unexpected blessing for us,” Hadro said. “In this time of COVID-19 isolation, we were able to focus our attention on a pressing need for so many of our sisters and brothers.”

Bread for the World was one of the organizations that received a generous donation from the religious order. The BVM Sisters have long-supported Bread’s advocacy efforts to end hunger.

“We are grateful for organizations like Bread for the World which seek lasting solutions to the dilemma of worldwide food insufficiency,” Hadro said.

Bread plans to use the donation to continue its advocacy work, especially to ensure Congress permanently expands the Child Tax Credit and increases global nutrition funding to $300 million. Bread also wants lawmakers to expand paid family/medical leave, waive recertification requirements in Medicaid and WIC, expand childcare, and include the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 as part of a 1,000-days human infrastructure plan.

“We are grateful for the Sisters of Charity, BVM’s longtime support of Bread for the World – and that they believe so strongly in our advocacy work that they would chose Bread as one of the 120 organizations to donate to,” said Kari Burnside, deputy director of development at Bread for the World.

Burnside added: “Bread’s work became even more urgent during the pandemic as hunger rose in the United States and abroad. Advocacy takes persistence and human capital. So, the donation came at exactly the right time to help us in our work.”

“We sincerely hope that by sharing our resources and the gifts of our donors we lessened the suffering of our sisters and brothers most affected by COVID-19, at least for a little while,” Hadro said.

Jennifer Gonzalez is managing editor at Bread for the World.

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