Throughout the year, the Helping Hands Ministry in St. Joan of Arc Parish, Marlton, strives to help folks who are struggling with utility, rent or mortgage payments.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the ministry extended its reach. With monies raised through a parish collection and a generous donation from a parishioner, Helping Hands was able to purchase and distribute about $25,000 in supermarket and department store gift cards to more than 30 families.  

Marlton residents, both parishioners and non-parishioners alike, received the gift cards, parish business manager Theresa Segin said.

“It’s our moral obligation to help those who cannot help themselves, and the donations the Helping Hands Ministry received allowed us to do just that,” Segin said.

The Helping Hands Ministry was also grateful for a $14,500 donation it received from Pat McKenna Realtors, a Marlton-based real estate agency whose current owner, Eleanor McKenna, is a longtime St. Joan of Arc parishioner. The donation supplemented the Christmas collection and will go toward future outreach efforts.

“The decision to donate to our local causes was an easy one,” said McKenna, who noted that her staff raised about $34,000 through donations they made from real estate transactions. In addition to St. Joan of Arc Parish, the agency donated $14,500 to the Marlton Police Department and $5,000 to Operation Yellow Ribbon, a nonprofit that supports U.S. servicemen and women.

“Evesham Police Department tirelessly works to keep us safe, St. Joan of Arc Parish is a beacon of light for Evesham Township and the Yellow Ribbon project is a wonderful organization that supports our military heroes overseas,” McKenna said.