The mission of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary is to help the poor and vulnerable throughout Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Starke counties. While the organization has many helpful programs in place today, the history of this branch of Catholic Charities dates back to 1957.
Catholic Charities as a whole was founded in 1910 with the mission of helping the poor, particularly through advocating on their behalf to government agencies.
In 1957, the Diocese of Gary branch of Catholic Charities grew out of the Diocese of Fort Wayne branch. The primary focus of the organization was to provide child welfare services to the northern and northwest Indiana region. Back then, the organization acted more on the professional standards of social work as opposed to the community service perspective that it demonstrates today.
Over time, the programs and assistance offered by the organization have changed with the needs of the people in the region. Recently, Catholic Charities implemented counseling programs, volunteer programs, programs for the elderly and programs for family life ministry to help the people of the community. Currently, these and all other programs offered by the Diocese of Gary branch of Catholic Charities benefit about 735,000 people in the region.
All of these people can visit any of the five Catholic Charities offices throughout the diocese. These offices are the locations of many of the programs offered by the organization and can be found in Gary, East Chicago, Hammond, Portage and Michigan City.
While Catholic Charities runs primarily on donations, recent years have brought grants and collaboration from other local organizations, most notably, Foundations of East Chicago.
Since 2010, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary has received several grants from FEC. These grants included General Operations grants, Collaboration Grants and Program Grants. These grants have not only helped to keep Catholic Charities operating but have also funded many of their programs offered in East Chicago. FEC-funded Catholic Charities programs include the Heating Assistance program and the Healthy Sustainable Lifestyle program.
While Catholic Charities serves the entire diocese, the organization has had a tremendous impact on East Chicago specifically within the last five years. Their programs have educated, treated and helped countless residents in many aspects of their lives. The benefits received from these programs help to ensure a brighter future for all of East Chicago.