November 19, 2010

New CCHD coordinator is committed to helping the least of our brothers and sisters

By John Shaughnessy

Theresa ChambleeAn introduction of Theresa Chamblee could start with the fact that she is the mother of four children, ranging in age from 10 years to 20 months—and that she and her husband, Jonathan, are expecting their fifth child in May.

The introduction of the 37-year-old woman could also include the information that she has been involved in pro-life causes and community service efforts to help the poor since she was 10.

Both descriptions set the foundation for also introducing Chamblee as the archdiocese’s coordinator of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the local and national effort which supports programs that help the 37 million people in the United States who live below the federal poverty line.

“It’s always been ingrained in me to serve the Lord in one capacity or another,” says Chamblee, a member of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Beech Grove. “I decided to take the position because I have a great love for those who are suffering, and a great love to help those who are suffering. I couldn’t think of doing anything else.”

The collection for this year’s campaign will be on Nov. 20-21 during Masses at churches across the archdiocese.

Chamblee sees this weekend’s collection as an opportunity for people in the archdiocese to provide financial support for faith-connected organizations that help people escape poverty.

Local grants from the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops will benefit Seeds of Hope, an Indianapolis organization that helps women to reclaim their lives after facing their addictions to drugs and alcohol. The organization has a longstanding connection with St. Joseph Parish in Indianapolis.

A grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development will be used to purchase computers for Seeds of Hope so the women can learn skills to find jobs.

Campaign funds will also assist Hearts and Hands of Indiana, a grassroots organization that buys and rebuilds abandoned homes in struggling areas of Indianapolis, and then offers them to low-income families at a greatly reduced cost. Hearts and Hands is the brainchild of Father John McCaslin, the pastor of Holy Trinity and St. Anthony parishes in Indianapolis.

The campaign also helps to fund the Ryves Neighborhood Association in Terre Haute, which receives support from Catholic Charities Terre Haute. The association offers youth programs, clean-up projects and a voice for residents of that economically struggling area.

In the archdiocesan campaign, 50 percent of the money collected will be used for local grants to organizations such as Seeds of Hope and Hearts and Hands of Indiana. The other 50 percent of the collection goes to the national office of the campaign, but Chamblee says the archdiocese also benefits from those funds.

“In truth, that 50 percent for the national office pretty much comes back to us to cover our archdiocesan national grants, such as the Ryves Neighborhood Association,” she says.

Chamblee also mentions the new review and renewal plan for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. The plan calls for “stronger policies and clearer mechanisms” to guide how grants are awarded and how funds are spent.

“It is basically a reassurance to the public that all national and local grant recipients must strictly be in line with the moral and social guidelines of the Catholic Church,” Chamblee says. “They have to sign a statement [saying they adhere to those guidelines] in their grant application.”

The review and renewal plan can be viewed online at

Any organizations wanting to apply for a local grant should log on to the website,, click on “Catholic Charities” then click on “Campaign for Human Development.”

Chamblee views the campaign as another opportunity for Catholics to live their faith.

“One of the things that both my husband and I try to teach each of our children is to live by the Scripture, ‘Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me’ ” (Mt 25:40), Chamblee says. “It is exciting to me to know that, through the generosity of others giving to the CCHD, we as a Catholic Church are able to better serve the poor. Through the CCHD, we help provide people with dignity.” †

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