Meet people just like you who are making extraordinary gifts to Catholic Relief Services and learn how they created legacies that will give hope to the poorest and most vulnerable people overseas. Read stories from real life CRS donors below.
From Idaho With Love
Mrs. Patricia Hoffman has chosen to touch the world from her home in Idaho. Idaho is nestled beautifully between the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains. Patricia grew up in St. Maries, a small town built at the confluence of the St. Maries and St. Joe Rivers.
For more than 35 years Mrs. Hoffman worked for the U.S. government. Among the agencies where she worked, was the Bureau of Reclamation. Today, it is the largest wholesaler of water in the country. Mrs. Hoffman dedicated her life to bringing precious water to 17 western states.
She first heard about Catholic Relief Services in 1977 during the annual CRS Collection at her church. Now she is a loyal donor. "I feel that CRS serves a lot of people who can't help themselves."
"Helping the refugees was a big draw," she adds. "I seem to have a personal need to be a part of something worthwhile and important. Growing up in the Depression, I was proud to see my parents' name among the principal donors to our parish, even though dad's income was modest. And, at Christmas when I was asking Santa for a new doll, my mother suggested that I select from among my several dolls one to give a poor child -- and doing so is a real special happy memory. These were all little things. If someone admired something my mother was wearing, she might just take it off and give it to them. I just try to follow the standard that was set for me."
Mrs. Hoffman started two charitable gift annuities with CRS back in 1986. "The checks arrive twice a year. One is around Christmas and the other at tax time. Both are very timely." Since then her number of charitable gift annuities through CRS has reached 20.
"I like the way CRS manages money," she says. CRS is reliable and has a good rating. That pie chart that shows that 94% goes to help people overseas is important to me."
Mrs. Hoffman set up a charitable gift annuity for one of her eight stepchildren, "He was really pleased. When he found out about it, he said, 'It made me feel special.'"
"The need is so great. Investing in CRS, I am confident that my small contribution is a great way to help my neighbor. And my happiness and blessings increase in so many ways."
It appears Mrs. Hoffman makes her home now at the confluence of compassion and generosity. From there, she can touch the world... from Idaho with love.
Generations of Giving
Monica Schumann grew up with a passion for travel and an unflagging interest in cultures. Her parents owned a grocery store in Gloucestershire, England, with petrol pumps in the front and their living space behind the shop. Here, Monica absorbed her deepest values. "My father... would pack up groceries for the needy families in our neighborhood, even when we didn't have very much ourselves."
The charitable values she learned from her family and her interest in the world outside her home inspired her longtime support of Catholic Relief Services.
Working as a secretary for the World Health Organization, she recalls being deeply affected by stories about people lacking access to clean water. When Monica, a committed Catholic, learned that a Catholic organization - CRS - helped communities overseas develop safe water sources, she decided that, as soon as she could afford it, she would support our work.
She made her first gifts as a family through CRS Operation Rice Bowl. Giving as a family was important to her and has inspired two of her three children to work in developing countries.
Now, Monica has decided to give to CRS through her will. She feels strongly about honoring her family's legacy this way. "I want to die as I have lived, she says. "And I have always given a portion of what I have to others."
Those "others" are important to her. "I believe that we are all part of one large family... I feel that, when people from CRS are out in Africa and Cambodia and South America, by being a part of [the body of Christ], I am also out there."
Caring for the People of God
John Queralt will tell you that one of the greatest shortages faced by our world is the loss of potential among children in developing countries. "In the United States, [schools] have... computers for nearly every student. Overseas, they have nothing. So many minds of children have been wasted due to a lack of resources. These children could be winning Nobel prizes or curing diseases."
Johon believes in Catholic Relief Services because is a worthwhile organization that addresses poverty of spirit and poverty of the body. "Minds that have not been fed are as much of a tragedy as stomachs that have not been fed. I support CRS because you work to strengthen communities."
Born in Spain, John and his family lived through the Spanish Civil War. "There was a lot of suffering in those days," he says. At age 49, John traveled to the United States, where he met his wife, Florence. They raised three children from Vietnam and retired from their work as educators to travel. After Florence was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, John cared for her until her death 7 years ago.
"I have tried to live as Jesus asks us to," John says. "He shows us that our true faith isnâ€™t the religion of the temple but... is caring for the people of God. It is helping to bring justice for the poor."
And that is what John has always done. A longtime supporter, he has made a gift to CRS programs in his will. "People ask me, 'Aren't you worried about how you will live?' And I say, well, you have to be prudent. But I live within my means... I have given gifts to my family..., and the rest I am giving to charity."
A humble man, John doesn't like to talk too much about his charitable donations. But he hopes that, by sharing how fulfilling it has been for him to create a legacy that will benefit CRS programs, he will be able to inspire others to find the same joy in giving.
Shaping the Future
If my name sounds familiar to you, it's because I wrote to you a few months ago about my decision to include Catholic Relief Services in my will. I am writing again not only because I care deeply about the work of CRS, but because I feel strongly about my choice to include CRS as part of my estate.
I won't be here forever. When my time comes, I want to leave behind a legacy that resonates with the world I tried to help build during my life.
And in my life, it has been one of my greatest joys to help the poor and suffering people of the world, especially the children.
And the more I learn about how CRS values young people and strives to empower them, the more I see the hand of Christ and the guiding light of his mother, Mary, in their work.
By giving to CRS in my will, I feel that I will have a hand in shaping the future of today's children long after I am gone. I am able to be a part of the body of Christ as he sustains orphans, those who are hungry and other vulnerable people around the world through CRS.
I often tell people that it doesn't matter how much or how little you give. Just give! You won't regret it. And by giving in your will, your spirit will live on, not only in heaven but here on earth. At the end of a long and blessed life, this knowledge is worth more than I could ever say.