We are fortunate to have extremely generous donors and volunteers who give their time, energy, support and resources to Catholic Charities. As part of our donor and volunteer appreciation campaign, we are recognizing individuals and organizations who share God’s love and spread Christ’s light by partnering with Catholic Charities. Because of them, we are able to bring vital, lifesaving services to our neighbors in greatest need. Here’s Jacqueline Jensen’s story:
Each year Jaqueline, a client of Catholic Charities of Oregon, generously donates towels to our Housing Transitions Program. These gifts have touched us deeply, but even more touching are Jacqueline’s words of gratitude. The following was written by Jacqueline –
“I had a neighbor tell me there are two types of people in the world, givers and takers.
She told me I was a giver but if I ever found myself in the taking position, than it was my job to be appreciative!
My appreciation for Catholic Charities runs deep because of all the support they have given me as I struggled to break free from a domestic violence marriage and get back on my feet.
I left the marriage many times and went to shelters in Salem but because of his familiarity of the town, he would just drive around until he found my car. When I came to Portland, the Gateway Center referred me to Catholic Charities and what a resource.
First, they gave me an address and when my ex found this address through the DMV and came to the address, he could NEVER find my car and finally gave up trying to find me. Living in my car and being a live-in caregiver made having a consistent address invaluable. It has been almost 10 years trying to recover from that relationship and through all the chaos at least my address didn’t have to constantly change too.
The second gift was being able to do laundry and take warm showers. When you are homeless, these things mean so much.
The third heartwarming gifts were food. There was always coffee and snacks at the center, food boxes and weekly warm lunches were made with love that nourished your body and your soul. The school children would pack us lunches and draw pictures on the lunch bags with words of encouragement. I tear up now just remembering how that touched my heart. As a child, I helped in the church to care for the “less fortunate” and after getting a master’s degree I never imagined that I would ever be less fortunate.
The fourth gift was the groups, an outlet for my creativity. I especially enjoyed the writing group and eventually wrote and published a children’s book title “Gwenavear”. It is a love story between me and my car.
When I showered at the center, I was aware of the condition of the linens and I told myself when I get back on my feet, I will donate nice colorful absorbent towels and I have for the last 3 Christmas’.
I am writing this in hopes that it gets to the people that support this organization to give you feedback that what you are doing really makes a difference and I thank you very, very, very, much.”
Jacqueline, you are the reason each of us at Catholic Charities of Oregon shows up to work every day. Victoria Waldrep, Lead Housing Case Manager III and Employment Specialist III, Housing Transitions Program, Catholic Charities of Oregon, shared this message of admiration about Jaqueline: “Jacqueline has shown great resilience in rebuilding her life. She has worked hard to identify her barriers and to find a way to overcome those barriers through self-work, reinventing her community supports, and to put her energy into life affirming activities. She has been an active part of our community and her desire to show gratitude through service to others is a blessing to all who come here.”
Thank you, Jacqueline. You #Inspire Us.