The Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas facility at 1500 S. Ninth Street in Salina. Photo by Leslie Eikleberry/Salina Post
By LESLIE EIKLEBERRYSalina Posta
The digital sign atop the Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas building in Salina aptly reflects the organization’s mission. In addition to sharing some of the many services Catholic Charities provide, it also simply states, “You are loved.”
On Thursday, the organization introduced its Salina facility at 1500 S. Ninth Street and the services it provides during a public open house. Catholic Charities staff were on hand to provide tours and visit guests about the many things the organization does to help those in need.
Catholic Charities introduced its facility and Salina services during an open house on Thursday.
Development Coordinator Megan Spilker said the services provided by Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas are divided into the following six groups.
●Financial and housing assistance
●Pregnancy support and adoption
●Immigration legal services
●Personal assistance and basic needs
●The organization’s thrift shop in Salina
Additionally, the organization maintains offices in Hays and Manhattan. Those offices provide the same services, minus the thrift store.
Through its three offices in Salina, Hays and Manhattan, Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas is able to serve people of all creeds in a 31-county area.
“We serve all human beings as long as their needs fit a service we have to offer,” said Megan Robl, executive director.
Financial and housing assistance
A variety of services are provided within the framework of financial and housing assistance.
“We help people with rent and utilities, sometimes prescriptions. We have a Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Relocation Fund that we use with the City of Salina. And then we have special funds throughout our service area of 31 counties,” Spilker said.
Special funds include the following.
●Catastrophic disease fund
● Disabled Assistance Fund
●Mary Dolan Youth Fund
●Disaster Response Fund
Support for pregnancy and adoption
Through the pregnancy support program, Catholic Charities assists pregnant women and until their babies are six months old.
“Our therapist walks them through those months, gets them things they might need, especially basic needs like bottles, towels. If they need pumps, that’s another option too,” Spilker said.
Additionally, the organization helps with adoptions.
“We just had one, which was very exciting,” Spilker said.
Immigration legal services
Family unity is at the heart of the Immigration Legal Services program, helping people in Mexico reunite with family members who are already here, Spilker said.
Additionally, the program provides DACA, citizenship, translation, status adjustment, and asylum services.
Personal care and basic needs
Both food and hygiene items are distributed by the facility. In addition, the vans also deliver food and hygiene items to 24 rural communities once a month, Robl said.
“We’re Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas, so we’re really pushing ourselves to push those boundaries beyond the communities where we have an office and go to people in need and bring those services to them,” Robl said.
Spilker said once a month in Salina and Hays people can apply for gas coupons and bus passes. Additionally, people can apply for clothing vouchers at all three office locations.
In connection with the Pregnancy and Adoption Support Program, Catholic Charities also provides a diaper program that people can apply for until their children turn three.
“They can get diapers and wipes once a month,” Spilker said.
Catholic Services also provides counseling services on a degressive rate for individuals, couples and families.
Many of the items for sale in the thrift store.
The thrift store in Salina
Catholic Charities’ thrift store is located within the organization’s Salina facility. A door leading directly into the thrift store is on the south side of the building towards the west end.
The thrift shop, housing a myriad of treasures to be discovered, is open 9am-4pm Mondays and Wednesdays, 9am-6pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9am-2pm on Friday.
Spilker said clothing coupons distributed by Catholic Charities in Salina go to the thrift store, while similar coupons in Hays and Manhattan go to local thrift stores in those cities.
The Salina Thrift Store accepts donations of clothing, housewares, and decorations, however appliances and furniture are not accepted.
Serving rural Kansas
In addition to bringing vanloads of food and hygiene products to 24 rural communities in the 31-county area, Catholic Charities can also connect at other times through the organization’s website or telephone with people in need.
“Our service area is split into three, so each office covers a certain territory within the entire region,” Robl said.
He explained that someone in a rural area who is unable to get to the appropriate Catholic Charities office can call that office instead.
“We can do a lot of this processing over the phone or through email,” Robl said.
While a number of the organization’s applications are on the website, Spilker noted that community partners in rural areas have copies of Catholic Charities applications that people in need can access.
Finance the many services provided
Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas relies on a variety of funding to provide all of its services. Robl said funding sources include federal and state grant programs, as well as thrift store sales. In addition, Catholic Charities submits grant applications to United Way, various community foundations, and some private foundations. The organization also participates in the Greater Salina Community Foundation’s Match Madness.
Most programs, however, are funded through general donations.
“We have a lot of generous people in the community who help make all of these things possible,” Robl said.
For more information about Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas, visit the organization’s website at ccnks.org.