St. Teresa of Kolkata reminded us that “I can do things you cannot. You can do things I cannot. But together we can do great things.” “Great things” are exactly what Most Blessed Trinity Parish in Waukegan and Catholic Charities Lake County Services hope will be the result of a very special partnership we formed to jointly expand our services and better assist community residents. Serving more than 60,000 people each year, Catholic Charities is the largest provider of comprehensive social services in Lake County. We offer a broad range of programs for all ages that help meet basic needs, provide counseling and support and enable people to become self-sufficient. For years, Most Blessed Trinity Parish has operated four pillars of community service for Waukegan-area residents including a food pantry, soup kitchen, House of Peace shelter and a community center specializing in immigration-related services. After many months of prayerful consideration and collaborative meetings, Catholic Charities and Most Blessed Trinity discovered that each of our organizations has unique areas of expertise that we could unite to offer a more comprehensive and wholistic continuum of care for people in need. We discovered that combining our unique skills would indeed bring “great things.” The new partnership is called “Social Service Partners … Together We Serve.” Sharing a common mission to serve the poor and vulnerable with the love and compassion that Jesus showed, this partnership is firmly rooted in the hope and light of Christ. Our mutual goal is not only to provide immediate assistance, but to walk with people on their journey toward a better life. Catholic Charities is thrilled to be working with the parish’s talented staff and incredibly dedicated group of loyal supporters who have brought the parish’s social mission to life. Volunteers from parishes all over Lake County, including Church of St. Mary and St. Patrick’s in Lake Forest and St. Joseph’s in Libertyville have become deeply connected and committed to those served by Most Blessed Trinity. It is wonderful to see the close relationship between clients and the volunteers who are truly invested in their well-being. While Most Blessed Trinity is continuing to annually serve more than 25,000 people at its soup kitchen and food pantry, Catholic Charities is bringing its resources and professional expertise to the community center and the House of Peace shelter. As a result of our partnership, the community center is now able offer a broader range of services, not only to the immigrant and refugee population, but to all Waukegan and surrounding residents, and has become a hub in the community for helping those in need. Started by Most Blessed Trinity seven years ago, the House of Peace is a six-month shelter program that each year serves 12-15 women and 30-40 children overcoming domestic and interpersonal violence. The program is focused on empowering, healing and sustaining residents in a life free from abuse. Coupled with the House of Peace is the Phoenix Program, which provides after-care and support to more than 800 women and children overcoming the reality of domestic violence each year. Catholic Charities’ involvement in these programs has broadened the range and depth of professional services offered, while dedicated staff and volunteers continue to provide the personalized mentoring and guidance that are essential to restoring hope and dignity. Together we can do great things — and I can think of nothing greater than to help change lives for the better. Catholic Charities has been honored to work with Most Blessed Trinity Parish in creating a partnership that maximizes our impact on the lives of thousands of people overcoming violence and poverty. Working together, we can indeed make life better for Lake County residents most in need.