Legislative Visit

Legislative Visit

Posted December 18, 2023 in News

On November 16, 2023, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Allentown hosted members of the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives and their staffs. The visit was initiated by Senator Judy Ward (Blair County) and her Chief of Staff, Nathan Akers. “The idea of the visit was to raise awareness of the Parenting and Pregnancy Support Services, and other critical programs at Catholic Charities,” said Andrea Kochan Neagle, Managing Director. “Catholic Charities provides many safety net programs to women and men of all faiths and backgrounds in the Diocese of Allentown and is challenged with funding cuts as a result of the Governor Shapiro’s elimination of the Real Alternatives program,” added Andrea.

In addition to Senator Ward, Senator Judy Schwank (Berks County), staff from Senator Jarrett Coleman’s (Lehigh and Bucks Counties) office, Representative Tim Twardzik (Schuykill County), and staff from Representative Ryan Mackenzie’s (Lehigh County) office, and PA Senate Policy Analyst Margaret Karpinski, joined the visit.

The group met with Catholic Charities counselors and families served through the Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services program, including three very active little ones who enjoyed being the center of attention! “Of course, the babies stole the show,” said Sue Perun, Catholic Charities’ Counselor. “I think the members’ eyes were opened to the wide array of social services available at Catholic Charities and how welcoming and non-judgmental our staff is. They live the mission everyday to provide compassionate human services with respect to the sanctity of all human life” said Lisa Geosits, Catholic Charities’ Board Chair.

Staff counselors, Jeremy Leidich and Tom Miller, provided a brief presentation that included statistics and outcomes for Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services. “We stressed that our clients are not statistics, but it was helpful to demonstrate the sheer need in the Diocese of Allentown,” said Jeremy Leidich.

Catholic Charities was honored to host the delegation and looks forward to further communication with members of the Senate and House to remind them of the good works happening in the five-county area of the Diocese of Allentown. As the social services arm of the Diocese, over 10,000 individuals are served every year in programs including counseling, Pregnancy and Parenting Support, soup kitchens, food pantries, Supportive Services for Veterans and their Families, Housing, and Immigration. For further information, please visit catholiccharitiesad.org.

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Catholic Charities' mission is to provide compassionate human services with respect for the sanctity of all human life.

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