Colleen Kennedy

Empowering vulnerable mothers

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

“Dearest mothers, thank you, thank you for what you are in your family and for what you give to the Church and the world.” — Pope Francis 

Motherhood is a beautiful and awesome responsibility. As a mother myself, I can attest there is nothing like it. It offers countless opportunities to experience love beyond all imagining.

And yet raising children can be incredibly hard work. This is especially true for mothers who are struggling to meet day-to-day needs, facing homelessness or experiencing violence.

Thanks to the charitable gifts that Catholic Charities receives every year from generous community members like you, no mother has to do it alone.

Mothers caring for their children in extraordinary circumstances are particularly close to our mission at Catholic Charities. Through your partnership and generosity, mothers receive intensive and compassionate accompaniment, no matter where they are in their journey. Our teams offer moms hope, respect and a full range of programming to empower them to care and advocate for their children, including:

l Deep support during pregnancy and the critical early years of their child’s life, including doula services, home visits up to age 3 and parenting support groups.

l Food and other support for moms and children who are at risk nutritionally or who are experiencing food insecurity.

l Patient and intensive case management that helps equip mothers to achieve long-term financial stability and build a confident future for themselves and their children.

l Safe and secure housing, and space and time to heal from domestic violence. Our two residential campuses for survivors of domestic violence, along with our community-based services, provide mothers with the resources and community they need to chart a safer, happier path forward.

Poverty and its related challenges run deep, often spanning generations. At Catholic Charities, we are committed to helping each mother who passes through our doors overcome challenges and find stability so they — and their children — can thrive.

Consider Crystal (name changed to protect her identity), a teen mom from Chicago’s far South Side. When she was pregnant, Crystal started visiting our WIC grocery center in Roseland to make sure she was getting the nutrients she needed for herself and her baby. These included fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, dairy and protein — all foods that are difficult to find and pay for when living in a food desert. There, she was introduced to the Roseland Adolescent Parenting Program.

Now, Crystal receives weekly home visits from a case manager who makes sure that her daughter is meeting milestones and that Crystal has what she needs to maintain a stable living situation and stay focused on her educational goals. Her case worker counseled Crystal on the benefits of breastfeeding and when and how to introduce solid foods to her daughter. She’s also encouraged Crystal to join a Catholic Charities’ parent support group to meet other moms of young children, learn more about how to encourage her daughter’s brain development and make new friends who understand what she is going through.

Reflecting on her experience with Catholic Charities, Crystal says, “There’s always someone who’s in your corner. Anything you need support with, they will support you.”

Every day, Catholic Charities welcomes mothers like Crystal with arms wide open, ready to accompany them with courageous compassion and walk alongside them in solidarity and faith-filled hope and joy. We are a cornerstone human services organization for our region, and we cannot do this without your partnership.

Through your inspiring gifts to our annual Mother’s Day Appeal, we have accompanied countless mothers as they strive to provide what is best for their children. We will continue to do so thanks to your support this year. Together, we not only honor mothers, but we also uplift them. We empower mothers to succeed today, multiplying hope over generations.



  • catholic charities