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Abdulrazzak Alkoutaini, or "Abdul," is a refugee from war-torn Syria. While starting a new life in a new country can be hard, he said when he and his family were greeted with the words "Welcome Home" by a CSS refugee case worker after arriving in Lincoln, the fear of the unknown disappeared. He is now a CSS refugee case worker himself, and he continues to use those same words when greeting new Nebraskans as he helps them start their new lives.

"As we approached St. Gianna’s feast day this past April 28th, God blessed me with frequent opportunities to reflect on her example of loving her little one and choosing to preserve her baby’s life no matter the cost." In our latest No Greater Love newsletter, SGP Manager Veronica Hotovy shares working with a mother who expressed feeling like she was “trapped in a dark alley with no way out.” Thanks to you, we enveloped this mom in love, support, and #HopeintheGoodLife light.

By Katie Patrick

It is the vision of Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska (CSS) to inspire hope and love in every encounter, and that includes serving every client who comes to us in need with dignity and respect. For nearly 100 years, CSS has been giving food to those in need, helping families with rent and utilities, welcoming refugees and immigrants, sheltering women and children fleeing domestic violence, and providing love and support to women in crisis pregnancies – and we will continue to do so.

This delicious recipe is perfect comfort food! Ham, canned green beans, and potatoes are cooked to create a hearty one-pot meal.

''Love and sacrifice are closely linked, like the sun and the light. We cannot love without suffering, and we cannot suffer without love.'' That quote from St. Gianna reflects the work of the Marian Sisters, who are advocates for women escaping domestic violence who receive services through our St. Gianna Program (SGP). In this podcast, we hear how Sr. Carol, Sr. Karen, and Sr. Bernadette help these women and families experience love for themselves and make the necessary sacrifices to build better lives and find Hope in the Good Life.

Diana Amaya didn't know six years ago that getting a food pantry from Hastings Catholic Social Services would eventually change her life. This survivor of domestic violence is now helping others find Hope in the Good Life as a Bilingual Family Support Services Coordinator and Case Manager for Hastings CSS. Diana tells us how the Holy Spirit guided her to where she is today.

by John McDonald

Hastings Regional Director, Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska

Everyone is called to love. Everyone is called to give time, talent and treasure to benefit others. On May 4, Hastings is celebrating and encouraging this call to charity through its annual “Give Hastings Day,” a community event sponsored by the Hastings Community Foundation to encourage financial support of local nonprofits to enhance the quality of life in Adams County.

Dr. Don Foote needed to get out of the house. His wife had died a few years ago and he needed to keep busy in order to stave off loneliness. Working in the CSS workshop, which he calls St. Joseph's Workshop, provided the hope he needed to use his talents and benefit others. Now he provides Hope in the Good Life as a volunteer at Catholic Social Services in Hastings.

Our latest Hope in the Good Life newsletter highlights our Hastings Food Recovery Program and shares an opportunity for you to support our work.

Our latest issue of the Patron quarterly newsletter shares updates from across southern Nebraska.

Our agency offices and Gift & Thrift stores will observe Holy Week and Easter 2023 with closures that vary by location.

What can you do with "turkey in a can"? Here's a great idea! These meatballs use canned turkey and are a delicious (and frugal) addition to your family meal or a holiday gathering.

by Katie Patrick

A few days before the accident, Bob’s daughter adopted three young children.

To anyone who is familiar with the process of adoption, you know and understand how challenging that can be: the paperwork, the home visits, the references, the waiting. It was a joyous time indeed when the adoption was finalized for this family living in central Nebraska!

During our innovative and insightful panel conversation, we take a closer look at how Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska has helped refugees and immigrants find hope in the good life.

CSS Executive Director Katie Patrick and CSS Development Officer John Soukup gave a HOPE IN THE GOOD LIFE update live on the 3/20/23 Spirit Mornings show. Listen to a recording to hear the latest from CSS.

Shirley has humbly made a difference for many of her "almost ninety!" years. Years ago, she and her late husband, Jack, selflessly opened their home (and hearts) to two refugee children resettled by CSS. Years later, one of the young men named his son "Lang" to honor Shirley's status as his "American Mom." Shirley has also worked tirelessly for Lincoln Right to Life from the organization's inception. Katie Patrick, CSS Executive Director, presented the 2023 Heart of Christ Award to Shirley Lang at our Celebration of Hope event on Saturday, March 11th. Shirley's beautiful acceptance speech shares how she has reflected the heart of Christ in these ways and more.

Our CSS team members, volunteers, and donors made a HUGE "Hope in the Good Life" impact in 2022! We're excited to share the IMPACT of your generous support last year. Together, we brought hope, help, and healing to neighbors in need across 24,000 square miles of southern Nebraska. Please enjoy this glimpse of the lives you helped change!

The Parish Council of Catholic Women (PCCW) of Sacred Heart Parish in Lawrence held its annual “Sewing Day” Feb. 25.

by Katie Patrick

In the past two publications (Feb. 10 and Feb. 17), I shared with you the positive impact that a child tax credit can have on the families we serve. It was one of three issues we were invited to advocate for as part of our trip to Washington, D.C., for a Catholic conference in late January. The second issue we advocated for was the Afghan Adjustment Act. This issue is particularly dear to us at Catholic Social Services because it affects many of the families we help in different ways every day.

Sometimes, time and ingredients are short. This Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf is the perfect quick and easy dinner recipe. With just a few simple ingredients, you'll have dinner on the table in a flash!

By Dennis Kellogg
Director of Communications

The executive director of Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska (CSS) recently attended a national social ministry conference in Washington, D.C. Katie Patrick of CSS was joined by John McDonald, CSS’s regional director in Hastings. The two also met with most of Nebraska’s congressional delegation.

Highlighting St. Josephine Bakhita | St. Gianna Program | Trumpet Fest

Bishop James Conley hosted three leaders from the Lincoln Ukrainian religious community and three members of the CSS team to learn more about the struggles they are experiencing due to the Russian invasion of their homeland and how the Catholic Diocese of Lincoln can be of help.

For almost 20 years, Kevin Murray has been raising money for Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska with his trumpet. He heads up "Trumpet Fest," taking place on February 19 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lincoln. Kevin tells us how this event not only inspires, but also gives back in so many different ways through the gift of music.

7 Steps to fortify communication as a couple

By  Timothy White, M.Psy., Psychology intern at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Counseling Center in Lincoln

In a lot of ways, the cards are stacked against families and couples right now. Couples are under incredible stress. We now have intergenerational divorce where two, or three, or even four generations have experienced divorce; maybe even in your family. We have a situation where relational stress is extremely high, and no one necessarily taught us how to manage that in a relationship. The Catholic faith and God’s Word tell us to be patient, to forgive, to love—but no one asked Jesus how to do that scientifically.

If you made a New Year's Resolution to eat better, we have the perfect way to start off your day with a quick, healthy, filling breakfast- prep a batch of "Carrot Cake Overnight Oats" and sneak in some nutritious (and delicious) veggies. This recipe was featured on the cover of our #HopeintheGoodLife recipe calendar and has become a favorite!

We're excited to announce a NEW weekly therapy group at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Counseling Center (IHMCC) for teen girls ages 12-15 wanting to develop skills to manage anxiety and better social interactions.

Since 2010, Kay Wessel has been providing hope in the good life one diaper at a time throughout southern Nebraska. The diaper drives she's helped to organize through the years has resulted in more than a million diapers going to needy families. Kay tells us what inspired her to start this project and how it has gotten national and international attention.

Resolving to make it a healthier new year? Here are a few tips to help you reach your goals as well as help our neighbors with their own healthy "Hope in the Good Life" 2023!

Happy HOPE IN THE GOOD LIFE new year! Welcome 2023 with a healthy (and delicious!) apple salad.

by Katie Patrick

Jesus ministered in all kinds of ways, even when those he ministered to did not want to be ministered to at all – much like mothers ministering to their children.

Before you become a mom, you might dream of what it will be like. You spend time wondering what their hobbies will be and who their friends will be. You are convinced they will cherish all the wisdom and advice that you plan to share, and you pray fervently that they stay close to God. So imagine the surprise when your children become teenagers and have no intention of listening to you at all. That was me for most of junior high, high school, and early college.

by John Soukup, Catholic Social Services

LINCOLN – A national publication that focuses on the nonprofit industry recently gave Katie Patrick, executive director of Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska (CSS), the 2022 Rising Star Award.

Our Carole Fest 2022 was our most festive fundraiser- the recording includes songs of the season by several choirs and is the perfect accompaniment while wrapping holiday presents and sipping hot chocolate!

After retiring from a successful professional career, John White wanted to find a way to give back to the community. Passionate about immigration and migration issues and following Catholic social teaching with regard to welcoming the stranger and the dignity of the human person, he chose to volunteer at CSS. He tells us how his work in cultural orientation is fulfilling.

Lindsay was in an abusive relationship, but knew there had to be a way out. She knew that God wanted something more for her and her son, so she prayed for a solution, and soon found St. Gianna Women's Homes.

We're excited to offer CSS SWAG! This branded content shows your support of our work and increases awareness. Your purchases help us spread the word and Hope in the Good Life, as monies raised through the CSS Swag Shop will help fund our programs throughout all of southern Nebraska.

"To me, the fact that you're giving people who are feeling completely lost not just comfort but hope and peace in a chaotic time in their lives... that's something that resonates with me." Our latest Hope in the Good Life podcast introduces Ameer Damanhoury, a small business owner and new CSS partner in hope.

© 2023 Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska

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