AmeriCorps Week March 8-14, 2020 (Heidi Reyes)

As a first-year VISTA (2019), from the start of my VISTA Assignment Description in the month of September and running to the end of January, my main focus had been collecting and reading through vast amounts of information that would be compiled into a resource directory to be used by anyone residing within the Diocese of Owensboro.

The diocese includes the following deaneries: Bowling Green, Central, Eastern, Fancy Farm, Hopkinsville, Lakes, Owensboro East/West, and Paducah. Together the deaneries span 32 counties with a population of more than 800,00 people.

The resource directory covers any resource under the following categories: Food and Meal Assistance, Housing/ Emergency Shelter, Transportation, Health, Pregnancy Crisis Center, Financial Assistance, Clothing and Goods, Legal Services, and Education. When working on the directory, we decided to also add a complete list of ‘food pantries and soup kitchens,’ along with their times of operation.

The next step of the project was maximizing the resource directory’s printing budget. To cut costs, I organized each resource and designed the layout, the front and back cover of the books with page space in mind.

To make sure we did not under- or over-print, I created another database with a comprehensive list of deanery statistics: counties within the deanery, populations, poverty percentages and number of people in poverty within each county, all parishes in each county, with recorded registered parishioners (English and Spanish speakers), and the population within each city in which a parish is located. The excel sheet and the ‘food pantry and soup kitchen’ document has already been emailed to the 74 parishes of the Diocese of Owensboro and has been considered “helpful information.” Such a resource has never been compiled in this region.

The project could not have been executed solely by my hands. Susan Montalvo-Gesser, director of Catholic Charities, let me go full swing with minimal guidance, even as she managed the overall process.

Tina Kasey, the in-house graphic designer for the Diocese of Owensboro, formatted the information into a complete 9-deanery book and eight hand-size books for each deanery.

We are very excited to have the final product in our hands. I know I am! As of now, we plan to distribute 50,000 copies across the diocese. Before long we will be celebrating yet another successful move towards eliminating poverty in the form of a resource directory.

Heidi Reyes
Owensboro Catholic Charities Community Resource Bridge
Diocese of Owensboro, McRaith Catholic Center
AmeriCorps VISTA