Justice, Peace, and Human Development Commission

How we help those in need

Doing God's Work in Love ...

Holy Cross is a parish community of faith, of action, and of hope. It is where the gospel is proclaimed and celebrated; where believers are formed and sent to renew the earth; a place where God's people meet Jesus in Word and sacrament and come in touch with the source of the Church's life. We believe that it is the task of every parishioner to answer his or her Baptismal call and the gospel's call to conversion; to change our hearts and our lives; and to follow in the path of charity, justice, and peace.

The Justice, Peace, and Human Development Commission provides ongoing stewardship opportunites so that parishioners can answer the call to use their talents and express their faith in concrete acts of charity and justice. Our 2018 Year of "Doing God's Work in Love" is the focus for this year's Justice, Peace and Human Concerns Commission's activities and programs. Read our semi-annual reports (link in the column to the right) to stay current and see how you can get involved in the future. 

Holy Cross Cares

Below are some of the ways that Holy Cross extends the love of God into the community through our ministries. Check this webpage often, as the lists of stewardship opportunities will be growing. For more information or questions contact Ava Thompson, coordinator, at socialaction@holycrossdurham.org.

Backpack Buddies

Holy Cross partners with Interfaith Food Shuttle and Porch-Durham to provide about 538 backpacks with food for the weekend to children most in need at DPS six elementary school; and food pantries at four middle schools, four high school, Durham Technical Community College and three other facilities. Following are requested items. Individual portions of:

  • Proteins & Stews
  • Cold Cereals
  • Oatmeal
  • Breakfast Bars
  • Packaged Noodles
  • Canned Fruit
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Boxed 100% Juices

Please do not bring sugary snacks, Spam & Vienna Sausage, soft top fruit & Jello, juice pouches, sugary cereals, peanut butter crackers, puddings and soft cereal bars

Casserole Ministry

The first weekend of the month, this ministry provides a stack of new, empty aluminum roasting pans with recipes and leaves them on a table in the Gathering Space. Parishioners are invited to take one or more of the pans home, prepare the casserole using the attached recipe; then to return the cooked dish the following weekend and place it in the chest freezer in the Parish Kitchen. These prepared dishes are then donated to the Urban Ministry's Community Café.

Families Moving Forward

Holy Cross partners with other area churches and Families Moving Forward once a quarter to provide a meal for families and enrichment activities for their children as they stay in temporary housing. If you would like to volunteer, contact socialaction@holycrossdurham.org.

Food Ministry | Packaged Food & Household Goods

Holy Cross partners with Catholic Charities in Durham to provide canned and packaged food, fresh garden produce, and other household supplies for distribution to families in need in the Durham area. Place donations of non-perishable foods in the collection bins in the Gathering Space before or after Mass on the first weekend of the month.

Following are requested food items. Please do not bring products in glass containers. 

  • Canned Tuna, Salmon & Other Meats
  • Boxes of Tuna, Salmon, & Other Meats
  • Boxes and Bags of Pasta, Rice & Beans
  • Canned Vegetables and Fruit
  • Boxes of Cereals and Oatmeal
  • Packaged Noodles 
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Canned Ready-to-Eat Soups
  • Peanut Butter
  • Boxes of Crackers
  • Bottles or Cans of 100% Fruit Juice
  • Canned Pasta Sauce
  • Box of Instant Dry or Asceptic Milk

Household Products

  • Laundry Detergent
  • Bars of Soap
  • Diapers, Especially Sizes 4 – 6
  • Milk-based Infant Formula
  • Stage 1, 3, or Graduates Baby Food
  • Bathroom Tissue and Paper Towels

Food Ministry | Fresh Produce: Holy Cross Community Sharing Garden

(In the parish's back yard). Volunteers are needed to:

  • Prepare and plant the garden beds each spring
  • Weed and replant throughout the growing season
  • Harvest, rinse and pack up  every Tuesday evening, 5-7:00 p.m. throughout the growing season.
  • Deliver produce to Catholic Charities in Durham, by 9 a.m. every Wednesday
  • Households with their own gardens can donate a portion of their harvest to Catholic Charities. Bring to Holy Cross Tuesday evenings, between 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. For more information, Anna Rzewnicki, the Holy Cross Community Garden coordinator, or Deacon Phil Rzewnicki.

> About the Community Sharing Garden

The Community Sharing Garden provides multiple benefits: healthy, moderate exercise, a chance to meet other parishioners and community members, and to learn about gardening and plant-based nutrition. A few beds are available each season for 'rent' by parishioners or those in the area ($25 per season).

Garden tasks continue throughout the year: preparation of beds beginning in January or February, weeding and replanting (to replace harvested vegetables) continues until the frost hits in late fall or early winter. 

Have extra produce from your home garden? You can donate that to Catholic Charities by bringing it to Holy Cross during the Tuesday evening harvest time (5-7 p.m.) or by 8:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Make sure it's rinsed and in boxes or bags. Contact Anna Rzewnicki for details. 

Quilting Ministry

Members of this ministry meet once a month to cut quilt squares, assemble and sew them into quilts using donated material, new and recycled from donated clothing. Completed quilts are blessed and distributed to those in need. Meeting times are posted in the bulletin and on this website. For details, contact Cherrie Siewert or Lorie Crump. 

Welcome Home Project

Every year, close to seven hundred people return to Durham from state prisons. Many face homelessness and unemployment. The Welcome Home project seeks to help them as they transition. The project includes a package of basic items. Parishioners are asked to donate these items for the care package: toothbrush, 8 oz. toothpaste, Suave 3 in 1 shampoo and body wash, Arm and Hammer deoderant, small packet of wet wipes, razors, shaving cream, nail clippers, small package of q-tips, 16 oz. containers of 70% alcohol and peroxide. Food items are also needed: Ritz crackers, peanut butter, jelly, instant oatmeal, instant grits, canned soup, fruit, vegetables, tuna, chicken or salmon. Donations can also be made for $25 to purchase gift cards. Monetary donations should be made by checks made out to Holy Cross Catholic Church, indicate on the memo line - Welcome Home Project.

Thanksgiving and Christmas Food/Gift Support

Holy Cross parishioners donate funds that allow this ministry to purchase scores of turkeys and fixings for Thanksgiving food boxes distributed to households in need identified by Catholic Charities. A similar collection occurs at Christmas, allowing for the purchase of gift cards for distribution to families in need. Art and Brenda LaPerre and their family coordinate this service. 





Read the latest blog posts here




Families Moving Forward

Holy Cross volunteer schedule, Q1 2019

  • February 4 and 5
  • April 1 and 2
  • June 17 and 18

Read about Families Moving Forward. For more info or to sign up to help, text or call our liaison Elizabeth at 919-791-9147

Holy Cross Sharing Garden 
Contact coordinator Anna Rzewnicki to sign up for a garden plot and to help with the sharing garden. 

Durham Congregations in Action

Durham CAN
Durham Communities, Associations & Neighborhoods

Diocese of Raleigh | Catholic Charities News 


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