Lenten Almsgiving 2024

February 14th is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, when we are called upon to prepare our hearts for Christ at Easter by practicing prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  This year, there will be a coordinated effort across our family of parishes for our almsgiving practice.  Our KCC Social Action Committee has selected the following two charities, one local and one global, for your almsgiving consideration: 
Secret Smiles provides beds and bedding for children in our community
CRS in Nigeria addresses many of the wide-ranging problems in Nigeria
A child sleeping on a cold floor with nothing but a sheet to keep him warm...A newborn baby lying on a dirty mattress because she has no crib...Parents are in despair because they are unable to provide a basic necessity for their children...

These are the faces of Secret Smiles.

Secret Smiles of Dayton, Inc. provides beds, cribs, and bedding to children in our community who are without.  Since 2001, they have come in contact with thousands of children who now have a warm and secure place to sleep at night thanks to the generosity of strangers.  They are a 100% volunteer charity with no salaries or overhead costs, and all donations go back into our community to purchase new beds and bedding for children. Only with your help can they continue to help the neediest in our community, our children.

You can donate to this organization on Ascension's website here: https://www.wesharegiving.org/App/Form/7377038f-d6d1-41a4-9367-fc656f401d2c

Tracy Janess, the president and founder of Secret Smiles, was originally from New York   She came to Dayton for her college education at the University of Dayton and has settled in the area, at one time a member of St Charles Parish with children in St Charles school.  She founded Secret Smiles of Dayton in memory of her sister, Kristy Irvine Ryan who was killed on September 11, 2001, while working in the World Trade Center.  When Tracy Janess first formed Secret Smiles in Dayton, it was modelled after the original Secret Smiles started in New York by her sister Kristy, and provided mostly household items to families.

However, it was soon realized that the biggest need was beds.  People don't donate beds.  They keep them until worn out then put them in the trash.  And because of concern about bed bugs, many social service agencies won't accept them in any case.  So Secret Smiles in Dayton decided that their organization would focus only on beds.  A partnership was established with Morris Furniture Company that allows Secret Smiles to purchase beds at cost with free shipping and delivery.  Secret Smiles relies on the local community to raise funds to purchase beds, cribs, and bedding.
Donations to one or both charities can be made through the parish website by clicking on the online giving button, using the special envelopes in your March-April packet, or picking up an envelope at the Secret Smiles display, or purchasing needed items from the list below and placing them in the provided bin for Secret Smiles.

Wish List: Night Light, Crib Sheet, Crib Blanket, Toothbrush/Toothpaste, Pillow, Twin Sheets,Twin Comforter, Twin Mattress Pad, Twin Bed-in-a-Bag Sets (Includes sheet and comforter)


Secret Smiles holds a yearly event at UD 
where children come in and find their beds.  
The beds are then delivered to the childrens' homes.
Our donations to Catholic Relief Services in Nigeria will support work being done to improve the lives of the people in Nigeria, Father Chibueze’s homeland.  Some of the most critical challenges to development in Nigeria include entrenched
poverty and unemployment, conflict, hunger, and high rates of disease. Father Chibueze emphasized that our help is most needed for the displaced persons in the “north eastern part of the country where the Bokoharam have perpetuated their mayhem.”  Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa (226.2 million) and the 7th most populous country in the world. Yet, it is approximately the size of the combination of California, Nevada and Utah.  It is on the West coast of Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea of the Atlantic Ocean.  Its geography is very diverse, spreading out over 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory.  The population includes approximately 250 different ethnic groups, many of which have their own
distinctive language.  The official language, though, is English.  

You can donate to this organization on Ascension's website here: https://www.wesharegiving.org/App/Form/cd828270-d229-4322-8609-e91b04bab158
CRS helps internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria.
Since 2010 Nigeria has been dealing with internal conflict caused by the insurgent Bokoharam, especially in the northeastern states. This has resulted in large-scale displacement of people from their homes, properties and villages. The loss of life has left thousands of widows and orphans in need of care. Private donations, such as ours, help CRS to provide these people with emergency food, shelter and water along with sanitation and hygiene items.  Those services continue beyond the immediate emergency with additional health services and assistance to reestablish the livelihoods of those displaced people. Reestablishment is accomplished by providing farming needs and agriculture training to both the displaced people
and their hosts. CRS integrates psychosocial support and social cohesion activities into all emergency programs to support the communities and enable the households adversely affected by insurgency to live peacefully and able to care for themselves and provide for their families.
Falmata and Goni Tijjani stand in front of their renovated house 
with water, sanitation and hygiene items received through CRS.
Donations to both charities can be made through the parish website by clicking on the online giving button, or by using the special envelopes in your March-April mailed packet.  At the Secret Smiles display, there will also be a list of needed bedding items that you can purchase and place them in the bin provided.  
Please join us in supporting our almsgiving charities this Lenten season.  Look for more information about our charities in this space and other media throughout Lent.