Aug 26Women Serving Women
The Friends of St. Catherine Residence, originally called The Women’s Club of St. Catherine Residence, have provided key support to St. Catherine’s for over 50 years. Started by Ruth Smith in 1967, the Friends was created to support St. Catherine’s financially and through volunteer involvement to ensure the community’s longevity. Over the years, the Friends have worked diligently to provide for the needs of the Residence and the women they served. Fundraising activities have been a large part of their service, and they took part in building updates and a Capital Campaign in the early 2000s. In 2010, the Friends launched Health and Education Services in partnership with Columbia St. Mary’s Community Services. This included onsite weekly visits from the Parish Nurse, which continue today. Nurse Brenda provides the residents with much-needed weekly health services, including monthly dance classes. The Friends also continue to provide other key services such as community meals for holidays, Christmas gifts, and a Mammogram Bus.
Long-time Friends member Rita Larsen explains that one highlight event is the Fourth of July Holiday Picnic: “For 10 years the Friends have enjoyed the July Holiday Picnic… it fills the back lot of the Residence and all attending get the feel of a real patriotic day!”
When asked why she is so dedicated to St. Catherine’s as a member of the Friends, Rita says that “it is just what I do” and mentions how she has incorporated her passion for healthy eating into her service through nutrition classes the Friends provide. Member Diane Hicks agrees and adds, “At the end of the day, if I have made a difference for just one resident, then my time was well spent!”
Mercy Housing Lakefront deeply appreciates the Friends’ commitment to St. Catherine’s. “We truly appreciate the support the Friends provide through social events, nutrition classes, and healthy living seminars. It makes a great impact on residents’ lives!” says Clarissa, Regional Director of Resident Services.
The Friends welcome new members, and Diane encourages, “To anyone considering becoming involved, I would tell them that there is no greater feeling than knowing you made a difference in the lives of others.”