PORTLAND — The annual Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection will be held at Maine churches this weekend (Nov. 20-21).

Catholic Campaign for Human Development grants support local parish initiatives that aim to solve community-wide problems, empowering the poor to make life changes that allow them to become more self-sufficient. CCHD works to break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in the decisions that affect their lives, their families, and their communities. Initiatives in Maine include a financial literacy program for those receiving emergency financial assistance from the parish, a weatherization program coupled with a training session on heating tips, a cooking class and nutrition book for clients attending the parish’s food pantry, an outreach program to immigrants, a ministry for the aging, and a career center to help those living on the margins with writing resumes, how to interview, and job searches.

From this weekend’s collection, 25 percent of the proceeds will remain in Maine to support local efforts. The remaining 75 percent is distributed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to larger-scale projects at the national level for which Maine organizations that address the systemic root of poverty can apply.

Since 2015, 37 CCHD grants have been awarded to 22 parishes in Maine.

“The generous support of Maine Catholics through this annual collection on the weekend before Thanksgiving makes beneficial change possible,” said Deacon Frank Daggett of Catholic Charities Maine’s Parish Social Ministry program, which administers the grants. “It’s a way for a parish to witness to its engagement in the local community, bringing the Gospel mission to the solution of community-wide problems.”

Parish Social Ministry helps parishes implement appropriate programs. Grants are available for existing and new ministries, but they are designed to fund ministries that make transformational changes for those they serve, not just increasing a ministry’s capacity to assist more people through direct assistance.

In 2021, grants were awarded to Good Shepherd Parish in Saco for the Esther Residence, a transitional program for women who are leaving incarceration and/or treatment programs, to assist women in the residence with security deposits and clothes for job interviews and employment; Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston to create a part-time position for a parish community outreach worker; St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Bangor to start a ministry serving all seniors living in greater Bangor who require assistance to remain in their homes and be active in their communities; and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Jay to assist the parish’s social ministry community center which offers direct assistance but also facilitates ongoing relationships with clients to give them skills and connections that will enable them to provide better for themselves and their families.

For more information about the CCHD, visit www.usccb.org/committees/catholic-campaign-human-development.