A simple gift can mean the world to a person struggling with homelessness. That’s why Celo, a former attorney at the Legal Defenders Office, and Barry, a previous 2017 Arizona Daily Sun Citizen of the Year, donate to Catholic Charities to spread joy when it’s needed most.
Their involvement began when Sr. Programs Director Sandi Flores reached out to them for help with the agency’s golf tournament and other events. They remember being impressed by the level of recognition that staff and volunteers receive for their efforts.
Helping Kids Put Their Best Foot Forward
Celo’s strong connection to the Flagstaff community inspired her to start a program aptly named “The Shoe Fits.” The program allows children residing in shelters to go to Rack Room Shoes every year to pick out a sparkling new pair of kicks.
Part of the fun is that the children get to personally choose which pair suits them best. It’s a thoughtful way to allow them some control over what they wear. Celo hopes that each child starts school feeling comfortable and confident.
“I was born and raised in Flagstaff, so I know so many people who went to school here. So many of us were from large families. We know what it’s like to start school with hand-me-down clothing,” Celo added.
Wrapping up the Year Right
Barry has his niche, too. Every Christmas, he donates to Catholic Charities’ housing program. His donations provide each client in the program with a small gift. These individuals often have little or no family or social support and the holidays can be an especially lonely time.
“It’s a pair of gloves or a scarf or some socks, something they can use. It hopefully cheers them up at a time when it’s pretty hard to be cheerful,” he said.
Initially, he developed the idea when Sandi told him how uplifting it is for housing clients to receive a present personally addressed to them. Barry is currently deciding between two names for his donation efforts: “Put a Ribbon on It” or “Santa’s Elves.”
Celo and Barry’s admiration of Catholic Charities comes from its ability to work effectively with other nonprofits. There’s no competition, just collaborative relationships focused on doing the most good.