Catholic Social Services (CSS) of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia marked the closing of National Volunteer Recognition Week, April 10-16, by naming its Volunteer of the Year, Father Anthony Orth.
The archdiocesan priest and pastor of St. Gabriel Parish in Norwood, Delaware County, has been volunteering at CSS’ Chester City Family Service Center for four years in support of its Coffee Club, a drop-in service for the homeless and needy.
He travels three days a week from his parish to Chester, one of the poorest cities in the state, to provide pastoral support and encouragement to individuals who are homeless, unemployed, recovering from addictions, or suffering from mental illness.
Administrators of the agency credit Father Orth with providing compassionate care to countless program participants that has enabled them to take the steps necessary to improve their lives. The Coffee Club has more 100 regular members and receives some 30 visitors on an average day. All receive services at no cost.
Beyond his work with CSS Chester City Family Service Center, Father Orth regularly visits inmates at a local prison and co-facilitates an annual “Women in Transition Retreat” for residents of CSS homeless shelters among other projects.
He is just one of the 2,254 CSS volunteers who expend more than 43,000 volunteer hours each year at food panties, homeless shelters, homes for the intellectually disabled, after-school programs, parenting groups, youth sports leagues and parish-based social outreach ministries at CSS programs throughout the five-county Philadelphia region.
Catholic Social Services’ volunteer program supports CSS’ service-based and ministerial outreach programs by recruiting, screening, matching and monitoring appropriate volunteers.