St. Anthony Catholic Church in Frankfort, Illinois, is one of the many groups that helps Mercy Housing Lakefront residents thrive. Through its St. Vincent de Paul Society, a volunteer service organization which has operated for 10 years, parishioners support their local community in the south suburbs of Chicago as well as the surrounding areas. Whether they are providing meals, operating a monthly food pantry, offering short-term financial assistance for utility bills, or connections to support services, the parishioners’ selfless acts lend a helping hand to individuals and families struggling to make ends meet. Mercy Housing Lakefront residents enjoy their generosity so much.
Emil McCauley, the Society’s president, first introduced Mercy Housing Lakefront to his members in 2012. “One of the things I love about Mercy,” Emil says, “is you care about the whole person by not only providing a safe place to live, but also you provide programs and services as well.” With a relationship spanning seven years, the connection to St. Anthony’s has made a lasting difference in the lives of many Mercy Housing Lakefront residents.
An example of their commitment to service can be seen in holiday giving. Mary Pipala helps to organize the parish’s annual Christmas present giveaway, which begins around Thanksgiving. Each year, the congregation pulls envelopes from Christmas trees in the church and purchases gifts for about 600 children in the community. One hundred of these children are Mercy Housing Lakefront residents. “Our congregation gives generously for this occasion every year,” Mary says. “We could not do this without them.” Similarly, each spring, St. Anthony’s parishioners provide Easter baskets to communities. Many of the baskets go to the same Mercy Housing Lakefront properties and children that receive Christmas gifts.