HIGHLANDS RANCH. This past holiday season, parishes in the diocese joined forces with other local organizations to deliver over 400 Thanksgiving food baskets and over 1,000 Christmas gifts to military families at Fort Carson, the Air Force Academy and to families of local veterans in our diocese. This was the fifth year that the Military Outreach Ministry of our diocese has helped to fill this often overlooked need.
The food baskets and Christmas gifts were delivered to the 10th Special Forces Group, families supported by Army Community Services (ACS) and families at the Air Force Academy. Additionally, the families of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in Douglas County and Colorado Springs also were recipients of the Thanksgiving food baskets and Christmas gifts through Mount Carmel Center of Excellence, Operation TBI Freedom of Craig Hospital, and PointMan Ministries.
The Military Outreach Ministry from parishes that participated this year include: Corpus Christi Parish, Holy Apostles Parish, Our Lady of the Pines Parish, St. Dominic Parish in Security, St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Colorado Springs, St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish, St. Mark Parish in Highlands Ranch and St. Patrick Parish.
Three other churches partnered this year with our diocese in providing Thanksgiving food baskets and Christmas gifts to the children of our military families and wounded veterans. These churches were Monument Community Presbyterian Church in Monument, The Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints in Highlands Ranch, and Cherry Hills Community Church in Lone Tree.
Additional support for this effort was provided by the first grade classes and American Heritage Girls from Corpus Christi Parish and School, a grant from Avanta Cares in Colorado Springs, and various Knights of Columbus councils in our diocese and from the Archdiocese of Denver. The councils from Colorado include No. 1498 in Highlands Ranch, No. 3519 in Holyoke, No. 6905 in Evergreen, No. 9349 in Littleton, No. 9993 in Colorado Springs, No. 12335 in Colorado Springs, and No.13205 in Littleton.
The generous donations of gifts and funds from members of participating parishes, the Knights of Columbus, partnerships with other Christian churches, contributions from the clients of Re/Max-The Kronenberger Team Real Estate and anonymous donors contributed greatly to the success of this year’s program.
Because of charitable giving by so many, there were families in need who had a meals this past Thanksgiving and numerous children who were able to experience a bit of Christmas joy. The outpouring of appreciation and gratitude from the families who received these meals and gifts was very touching. To all those who donated your time and treasure, it did make a difference.
(Deacon Ed DeMattee is head of the Military Outreach Ministry.)