CCUSA names 2024 Volunteer of the Year

April 26, 2024
John Halton is the 2024 CCUSA volunteer of the year.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) has selected John “Jack” Halton, a dedicated volunteer with Catholic Charities Diocese of Gary, as the 2024 CCUSA Volunteer of the Year.

Halton is a longtime, regular volunteer with the agency’s food pantry, which provides groceries to families in need across Northwest Indiana. Whether he is sorting food donations, assisting clients with empathy and respect, or performing any of the varied tasks he undertakes to ensure the food pantry runs smoothly, Halton consistently embodies the values of selflessness and service.

“John has a way of making the most mundane tasks seem important, of infusing every action with a sense of purpose and meaning. John treats everyone with respect and compassion, regardless of their age, their station in life or the challenges they faced,” said Food Pantry Manager Tina Gunnum, who shared that Halton also has become a mentor and role model to her. “There is something almost magical about being in John’s presence. His gentle laughter could chase away the darkest of clouds, and his words of encouragement could lift the heaviest of hearts. He has an uncanny ability to see the best in people and to bring out the best in them as well.”

At the food pantry, Halton has developed a reputation for being eager to take on any assignment, from scrubbing the floors to delivering food door-to-door during extreme weather conditions. He packs more than 500 bags of groceries each week and unloads by hand more than 6,000 pounds of food each month.

“What began as something to keep me and my son, David, occupied for a few days during the week has evolved into so much more: great friends, new experiences, a blessing like no other,” Halton said. “To receive this honor from Catholic Charities USA is the cherry on top. I’m humbled for doing what I love. This truly emphasizes the domino effect of kindness.”

The CCUSA Volunteer of the Year Award, given annually since 1998, is granted to an individual who embodies the mission of CCUSA to provide critical services to those in need, advocate for justice in social structures and call the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same. More than 200,000 people volunteer at Catholic Charities agencies around the country each year, and agencies nominate their most exemplary volunteers for this honor. CCUSA will formally present the award to Halton at the its 2024 Annual Gathering in Oklahoma City later this year.

“With his unyielding dedication to his neighbors in need, John Halton serves as a shining example of Catholic Charities and our faith at their very best,” CCUSA President and CEO Kerry Alys Robinson said. “We are so grateful for John’s inspiring service, and we look forward to honoring and celebrating him in Oklahoma City in front of hundreds of Catholic Charities staff members and volunteers from around the nation.”

A member of Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the membership office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. CCUSA’s members provide help and create hope for more than 15 million people a year regardless of religious, social or economic backgrounds. To learn more about CCUSA, please visit our website at or contact Kevin Brennan, Vice President for Media Relations and Executive Communications, at

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