“The Caritas program began in or around 1980 with a distraught mother who was searching for help for her drug addicted son. Her desperation and determination led her to call her local priest, whom in turn made it his mission to find proper assistance for that mother and the many others that he later met.”
The history of Caritas has been well documented over the past 20 or more years, specifically because the organization’s origins were strictly tied to its philosophy and approach. Caritas operated at a “grass roots” level for more than 2 decades and accomplished a great deal on a shoestring budget. Unfortunately, like many grass roots organizations, finances were always an issue and the Caritas team began exploring ways to secure long-term funding.
October 2007 marked a turning point for Caritas. At the conclusion of the 19th Together Event, Fr. Gianni Carparelli made a passionate plea for help. It was a symbolic plea in as much as it was a desperate attempt to ensure the longevity of Caritas. 20 years earlier he was at the receiving end of a call for help and now he was asking the community to extend a hand. Those in attendance sat silently, listening intently as Fr. Gianni provided insight on the tough times that Caritas would soon face. Moved by what was revealed, one man stood and made a passionate plea of his own, imploring “those that could” in the audience to help.
As the guests made their way out of the hall that evening, a few remained behind and approached both the founder and executive director, with an idea to form a committee that would raise the much needed funds that would secure the future of Caritas for another twenty years.
In the months that followed the committee met several times and membership grew to 10. They all agreed that before they could organize any events some simple housekeeping needed to be done. Both a mission and a vision needed to be carved out. The former was obvious: To raise funds to cover the operating costs for residential programming, public education and community awareness provided by Caritas Project. The vision, while not polished, was simply to ensure that Caritas Project continues to provide quality programming and education to the community at large for many more decades.
In January 2008, the committee of 10 resurrected the Caritas Foundation, which had been established 20 years earlier as Caritas’ fundraising arm and formed the Board of Directors for the Caritas Foundation.