At Catholic Charities, we see Good Samaritans at work every day. They serve a meal to the hungry. The donate clothes to the poor. They offer a listening ear to those who are hurting and in need.
In this Roundtable Discussion, we talk to four Good Samaritans who we see at work in our midst, and ask what it means to them to support the nearly 1 million people Catholic Charities provides hope and help to each year.
How do you define what a Good Samaritan is?
A Good Samaritan is a person who responds to another’s need, without regard for who that person is. He also gives aid without expecting any reward, acknowledgment, or gratitude. I go back to the parable of the Good Samaritan. Here is a man who has been robbed, and beaten, and stripped of his clothes and left to die on the side of the road. Two men pass him and then the Good Samaritan comes by and takes pity on him. Not only was the victim a stranger, but he could have been the Samaritan’s enemy. The Samaritan takes care of the man anyway.
Eleanor and Charles Clarke
We learned growing up in the church that if you have, you give. Being a Good Samaritan is what Catholic Charities is all about. It’s about wanting to do something for the needy, and for us, being a Good Samaritan is supporting Catholic Charities.
When I think of the Good Samaritan, he was so moved and nothing else mattered except for to help and give a hand and do everything he possibly could. We don’t know how much money the Good Samaritan had but he gave and said he would come back and give more.
In what ways are you involved in Catholic Charities work?
I serve on the Board of Advisors along with my wife, Peg, served on the Gala of the Arts Committee from 2001-2015, and also helped with The Art of Caring in Lake County. I am involved with the Order of Malta which has a mission that very closely aligns with Catholic Charities. The Order is now painting and cleaning Catholic Charities House of Good Shepherd and hope to make our service there an ongoing project.
We have friends who we ask to give and support Catholic Charities. We tell them about the services that are offered and they are always awed. Charles is a second-generation Board Member, following his father. Eleanor was instrumental in establishing the Lake County Women’s Board. We also served as chairs of the St. Nicholas Ball in 1998.
I’ve served as a volunteer at Catholic Charities Tuesday Night suppers at the 721 LaSalle downtown location for nearly 20 years. I help to serve the meals for 130 hungry men and women who come to us in need and prepare takeaway meals for people when we’re full.
Why have you partnered with Catholic Charities?
I believe Catholic Charities sets the perfect example of a Good Samaritan at work. Guests are never asked what religion, political affiliation, race, creed, or nationality they are when they are welcomed to one of the sites. Employees and volunteers treat each of them as if they were a guest in their own home.
It’s wonderful to see people’s lives restored through Catholic Charities. Being involved here is something that as human beings, and as Christian Catholics, we feel good about in the bottom of our hearts. You know you can make a difference when you support Catholic Charities and it’s such an amazing feeling that afterward, you want to tell everyone about it.
When clients see that people are helping, they see that they are not forgotten but cared for. There’s a change that has taken place in me over the years in doing that. It’s what I get back. The very outlook of how I view the world has changed from working in the kitchen and it’s a feeling that’s profound in its gift and it’s something I’ve always loved about serving at Catholic Charities. It’s these little things that even the best of us, the most spiritual of us, take for granted.