New Catholic Char­i­ties cen­ter of­fers help in time of need

Albuquerque Journal - - NATION & WORLD - — Kathaleen Roberts

Casa Co­ra­zon aims to reach into the heart of the hun­gry and the dis­pos­sessed.

Catholic Char­i­ties today opens the new 22,000-square foot, three-story cen­ter that is de­signed to pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion to nearly 100 chil­dren and pro­vide ser­vices to more than 2,000 adults.

“We don’t dis­crim­i­nate or re­ject on re­li­gion,” vol­un­teer Beth Chavez said. “We help peo­ple based on need, not creed.”

The new cam­pus will con­sol­i­date ser­vices Catholic Char­i­ties pre­vi­ously of­fered at two sites: an older build­ing at the cur­rent site on Bridge SW and a leased build­ing on Can­de­laria. The old build­ing will be de­mol­ished now that the new one is com­pleted.

Catholic Char­i­ties also owns a build­ing in Santa Fe and leases an­other in Rio Ran­cho for its im­mi­gra­tion law and hous­ing pro­grams.

Fed­eral and state grants, as well as the Arch­dio­cese of Santa Fe and pri­vate do­na­tions, funds the oper­at­ing ex­penses, Chavez said. The Arch­dio­cese and in­di­vid­ual donors paid for the new build­ing.

“I don’t think New Mex­ico has re­cov­ered (from the Re­ces­sion) as well as other states have,” said Thelma Domenici, chair of the HeartART project formed to em­bel­lish the space. Domenici and Chavez helped raise $90,000 to buy art from lo­cal artists to dec­o­rate the walls, floors and med­i­ta­tion gar­den.

As both state and fed­eral fund­ing de­clines, global eco­nomic and so­cial in­jus­tice con­tinue to drive record num­bers of refugees and im­mi­grants to New Mex­ico. Ac­cord­ing to Catholic Char­i­ties’ web­site, 18.1 per­cent of the state’s chil­dren live in poverty.

The con­sol­i­dated cam­pus will serve more than 12,500 peo­ple an­nu­ally.

Casa Co­ra­zon, Catholic Char­i­ties’ new three-story cen­ter, is lo­cated at 2010 Bridge SW.

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