WASHINGTON (CNS) — With a few thousand dollars spread here and there, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development of the Archdiocese of Baltimore has helped bring living wages to employees who clean sports stadiums and supported a group that helps homeless people with projects including a hot dog truck.
The Baltimore CCHD was honored Feb. 7 with the Sister Margaret Cafferty Development of Peoples Award for 43 years of efforts to help the poor with community development assistance.
The award is given annually by the national office of CCHD, the U.S. bishops’ domestic anti-poverty program, to honor an individual or a group that exemplifies a commitment to the development of people and the elimination of poverty.
Glyn Bailey, a committee member of the Baltimore organization for 31 years, beginning in its founding year, 1972, accepted the award. Bailey, who will turn 92 March 7, told Catholic News Service that some of the early projects Baltimore CCHD funded including helping a soup kitchen get a truck and some tools.
Another effort brought to the attention of University of Maryland Hospital administrators was the disrespectful way homeless people would be treated when they sought medical care.
“They treated them like second-class citizens,” Bailey said. “We helped change that.”
Bailey and his wife, Jeanne, who have co-chaired the Baltimore committee, also were on the local CCHD committee for 11 years when they lived in South Carolina before returning to Baltimore a few years ago, he explained.
More recent Maryland projects included a multiyear effort with the United Workers Association to insist that the state of Maryland honor a living wage law for employees who clean Baltimore’s sports stadiums.
The Arundel House of Hope, an interfaith housing program for the homeless, is another beneficiary of CCHD funding. Among its recent endeavors has been the Doughy Dog, a hot dog truck that provides job training and transitional employment around a menu of hot dogs and breakfast items.
The Baltimore CCHD has been run since its creation by Msgr. William Burke. Last year, it facilitated the award of $225,000 in national CCHD grants and gave out $15,000 from local funding sources.
The following day, participants in a plenary panel sponsored by CCHD talked about some of the shifting demographics of community organizing groups, a majority of which are connected to faith-based organizations.
In that portion of the program, Bishop Dwayne Roster of the United Church of Christ, executive director of Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild, or POWER, told of the labor-intensive effort that put a living wage bill on the local ballot and got it approved.
“We talked to 65,000 Philadelphians in our get-out-the-vote drive,” he said. Congregations involved with POWER had members go door to door, he explained. The measure passed with support of 76 percent of voters, he said, and support was strongest in the precincts where POWER affiliates knocked on doors.