How it Began
Founded in 1998 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, CARITAS initially developed its ecclesiastic relationship to the Catholic Church in connection with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago. While in the process of adopting children from Poland, the founders — Chris and Barbara Hoar – first felt the need to expand their ministry to orphaned children.
“There were thousands of children needing adoption just from Poland… children without parents or families, with no place to call home,” said Chris, “We just had to do something.”
CARITAS For Children was formed as a 501 (c) 3 charity and established its first partnership with Catholic Charities. The second was with the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Poland. These were the sisters caring for the children Chris and Barbara adopted. In its first 6 years, CARITAS participated in the adoption of nearly 100 children from Poland. CARITAS then expanded its ministry vision to include Child Sponsorship so that many more children could be helped.
CARITAS’ Child Sponsorship Program began in Poland alongside the adoption work, and always included the partnership of Congregations of Catholic Religious that understood the needs and culture of the children in their care.
“It was a natural opportunity to connect families, individuals and corporations to the thousands of children in the nearly 350 Children’s Homes in Poland and Eastern Europe served by the sisters we already knew,” explained Chris.
CARITAS created its first African religious partnership with the Little Sisters of St. Francis in the East African countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, where some of the greatest needs exist. In Africa, there are millions of orphans in desperate need. Without the help of a sponsor, most are left totally without hope.
CARITAS works almost exclusively with men and women religious because they are already well established in the communities, in which they were born, live and do their work. These religious people are devoted to the gospel mission to care and bring God’s Caritas love directly to the people they serve. They know how to manage the money for the best result. And, they are not merely employees but are often former victims of poverty, disease, unemployment, abuse and homelessness, and can reach out to minister in special ways to the children they serve.
“We could not have a better partner than our brothers and sisters in Christ who have devoted their lives to a vocation of religious life in the divine call to do the work they do,” says Chris. “If we follow the command of Christ to “Love One Another”, we will ultimately bring to those in need what they need most.”
“In the relationships created by a CARITAS sponsorship, families will come to know their child or children. We encourage the connection of the heart and know that the financial support will follow,” explains Chris. “When a child knows that someone cares about them to help with education, food and water…delivered in a program that is created to build their community and share the Gospel… they have hope for this life and eternity.”
Sponsor a Child
Your donation helps CARITAS give hope to children who are in need of love and support. You can choose from many areas of giving or support our general fund. Click below to make a donation today!