Catholic Charities of West Tennessee strengthened its ongoing collaboration with the St. Patrick Community Outreach Center this month by sharing all items collected in a citywide school supply drive with the St. Patrick community.
“We are blessed to be able to serve those in greatest need in the poorest zip code of the poorest city in the United States,” said Dick Hackett, Executive Director of Catholic Charities.
Memphis has a poverty rate of 17.1 percent – the second highest of any metropolitan statistical area with a population of one million or more, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent American Community Survey. The neighborhood around St. Patrick, in the 38126 zip code, has the highest poverty rate in Memphis, 60.9 percent, according to smartcitymemphis.com.
St. Patrick Catholic Church has been doing outreach in the neighborhood for 40 years. Current efforts include a non-profit ministry that feeds the hungry on Sunday and a food pantry open Tuesday through Friday.
The school supply collaboration extends the partnership between Catholic Charities and the center at St. Patrick, which will likely include more food and clothing distributions, Hackett said. “We will continue to work with the outreach center as opportunities present themselves to make the greatest impact possible in 38126,” he said.
Eugene Champion, a deacon at St. Patrick, said the school supplies would be distributed to families who visit the outreach center’s food pantry and utilize the center’s meal programs. “The Outreach Center is truly blessed to be a vehicle whereby these families can experience the generosity of those with giving hearts and spirits.”