Donors reaching out to help those in need

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - Updated: 2:50 pm

By JOHN FRANKO Staff Writer

The message was simple, but filled with love.

“Please use the enclosed check to help those in need,” the woman wrote. “I am sending this in memory of my daughter who passed away recently. She was a very kind and loving person and would want to help. Helping others was her nature.”

The compassion and generosity of the faithful is once again being shown by their support of the third annual Christ’s Hands Project, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Catholic in cooperation with the Red Door ministry of St. Mary of Mercy Parish in Downtown Pittsburgh.

More than $1,700 in donations have already been received. 

In addition to monetary donations, the drive collects winter hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, coats and afghans that will be distributed at the Red Door’s Christmas Dinner Dec. 21 in Lawless Hall of St. Mary of Mercy.

Popular items include any kind of Steelers gear. There is a need for donations for men and winter gear such as hand and foot warmers, and handmade items for children that can be given as special gifts. Pet food is also welcome because people have been known to give up their food for their pets, who may be their only real companion in life.

“It’s truly living out the Gospel message,” said Heidi Potter, co-director of the Red Door. “Being the light on the hill for the people we serve and the city to see.”

In addition to donated items, more that $4,000 was contributed to the project last year. The dinner served more than 200 people.

Donations to this year’s project can be dropped off at the Red Door, located on the Boulevard of the Allies side of St. Mary of Mercy, 202 Stanwix St., from 9 a.m.-noon Monday through Saturday. Special arrangements for dropping off donations can be made by calling 412-261-0112.

Checks should be made payable to the Pittsburgh Catholic and designated for “Christ’s Hands Project” in the memo line. They can be mailed to Christ’s Hands Project, 111 Boulevard of the Allies, Suite 200, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15222.

Robert Lockwood, who served as communications director for the diocese and general manager of the Pittsburgh Catholic, and died earlier this year, captured the spirit of the Christ’s Hands Project when he compared it to the generosity of a neighbor.

“Like my neighbor, people are good,” he wrote in a column last year for Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly. “God bless them. We celebrate that at Christmas. And survive by their helping hands for the next 12 months.”

The Red Door ministry has served the hungry for nearly 90 years. It provides lunches six days a week — Monday through Saturday — and hosts an Easter dinner and other gatherings for those in need.

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