Seven parishes and agencies which serve the people of the Diocese of Trenton in diverse ways were awarded a total of $10,000 in grants from the 2021 Bishop George W. Ahr Endowment Fund. The fund, named for the seventh bishop of the Diocese, presents annual grants for projects which provide services for the poor and vulnerable population in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Recipients were selected by the Bishop George W. Ahr Endowment Fund Committee from a pool of applicants who provide a detailed plan for distributing their requests; the winners were announced in mid-July by Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio, diocesan vicar general. The $10,000 grant total is the endowment fund’s interest that is amassed in a year’s time.

Endowment fund winners for 2021 include:

CYO of Mercer County, Trenton ($3,500)

The Broad Street, Trenton, center plans to enhance its After School Program Tutoring Project, explained Nancy Podeszwa, CYO grant proposal writer. In operation since 1976, the after-school program has expanded its original goals to offer supervised athletic and recreational enrichment activities to now encompass such services as integrated, structured tutoring and swimming lessons regardless of the children’s ability to pay.

Collier Youth Services, Wickatunk ($1,500)

This summer, the Kateri Day Camp will welcome 220 children ages five to 15 from the poorest neighborhoods “who are at the greatest risk and who need us the most,” wrote Russell Gartz, grant administrator. The camp, a seven-week, full day program, offers outdoor activities, educational enrichment, sports, games and daily swim lessons at little or no cost to the family. “We are the only day camp in Monmouth County whose sole focus is children living in poverty,” Gartz continued. This grant will provide three local children with a $500 partial campership to Kateri Day Camp this summer.

Mount Carmel Guild, Trenton ($1,500)

Mary Inkrot, executive director, explained the grant “will help recipients to either prevent electrical shutoff or restore utilities. Almost all our care receivers are residents of the city of Trenton … approximately 48 percent receive food stamps /SNAP which equates to a household income of less than 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The Guild aims to assist three to four households in avoiding shutoff of electricity.

St. Vincent de Paul Conference in St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Cinnaminson, ($1,500)

The conference’s “Loving Lunches Outreach Program” offers non-perishable foods and necessary supplies to those who live in the local motels in Cinnaminson via a mini grocery store setup in the parking lots of the three motels. The grant money will enable the ministry to purchase tables, shelves, storage bins and basic supplies for distribution, as well as care packages when someone in the Cinnaminson, Riverton and Palmyra area calls the helpline for assistance. “We use this monthly program for outreach and service as a way to feed the body, nourish the spirit, and offer prayers and encouragement to those who need our help the most,” said member Eileen Welch in her grant application.

St. Vincent de Paul, Vincent’s Legacy Furniture Outreach, Manasquan, ($1,000)

Started in 2010, the program supports families in need throughout the Trenton Diocese. “The 100 percent volunteer-driven program has served the needs of almost 1,000 people located primarily in Monmouth and Ocean Counties,” noted Kathleen Brady-Currie in her conference’s grant application. “Our mission is to help alleviate the worry of comfortable furnishing a home so that our neighbors have an easier time focusing on managing other pressing financial obligations.” The grant monies will be used to cover the insurance premium of the truck recently donated to them.

St. Vincent de Paul Conference in St. Katharine Drexel Parish, Burlington, ($500)

Client Personal Hygiene Initiative

The conference’s “Client Personal Hygiene Initiative” supplies the needy with a wide variety of hygiene products. “Although this conference is fortunate to receive an adequate and varied supply of food items for distribution to the needy of our community,” wrote Charles Kelly in the group’s application, “the availability of basic, proper hygiene products for distribution is lacking. By filling this void, it is hoped these items will enhance the physical and emotional health of clients thereby improving their self-esteem and confidence.”

St. Vincent de Paul Conference in Holy Eucharist Parish, Tabernacle, ($500)

The conference aims to “Fuel Our Community” by purchasing 20 gas cards at $25 apiece to ensure their clients or guests have sufficient resources to fill their cars with gas to attend job interviews or doctor’s appointments as needed.