Gather4Good® is sponsored by Catholic United Financial
Based in St. Paul, Minn., Catholic United Financial is a life insurance and financial products cooperative serving 80,000 Catholics in the Upper Midwest since 1878. As a not-for-profit, Catholic United transforms its profits into purpose, bringing together members, employees and community volunteers to pursue its mission through local grants, post-secondary education scholarships, service opportunities and more. For more information about Catholic United Financial, its Foundation or Credit Union, call 651-490-0170, 1-888-568-6670 or visit us online at www.catholicunitedfinancial.org.
BRAINERD, MINN. – Fitting in with peers, building positive self-image, providing for basic necessities and encouraging people in tough times – who knew that a simple bag of hygiene items could do so much?
On Sunday Sept. 17 at St. Francis of the Lakes School in Brainerd, MN, hundreds of volunteers spent just over two hours together at Catholic United Financial’s Gather4Good® service event, assembling 2,000 personal care kits for disaster victims and people experiencing homelessness.
Gather4Good was initiated by Catholic United in 2010 to offer people of all ages the chance to do something substantial for neighbors in need, and to have fun while doing it. Volunteers are invited to assemble more than a dozen personal hygiene items into a simple backpack bag, in addition to a positive personal message. Refreshments, live music and children’s activities are provided to keep the whole family entertained and engaged.
“The actual care kit assembly can be done by anyone whether they’re 3 or 103 – if you can pick up a toothbrush and drop it in a bag, you can do it,” said Nate Lamusga, Director of Member Engagement at Catholic United Financial. “Families who have participated in the past tell us Gather4Good was an opportunity to teach their kids a meaningful, hands-on lesson about helping the less fortunate, so that’s another benefit of the event.”
The kits were assembled and donated to social service charities in the Central Lakes region, who will distribute them to families and people who need them. Partners for this event included Lutheran Social Services, Mid-MN Women’s Center, Bridges of Hope, The Salvation Army, The Shop, and the Alex and Brandon Child Safety Center.
Representatives of these charities report the kits they receive and distribute provide families with items that are desperately needed yet often overlooked. Ensuring a person can meet basic hygiene needs, like brushing their teeth and washing up, provides individuals the chance to focus on larger issues like housing, job skills and healthy lifestyles.
Catholic United and its volunteers have distributed more than 20,000 of these personal care kits and raised more than $48,000 in donations since the first event in 2010. In October, a second Gather4Good event in Mankato will assemble 3,000 more kits, with 1,000 earmarked for the disaster victims in Houston, TX.
More information about Gather4Good is available at www.gather4good.org.