Caritas hosts breakfast fundraiser in Hecker

Gary Huelsmann, CEO of Caritas Family Solutions, formerly Christian Social Services, speaks at the benefit breakfast.

The newly named Caritas Family Solutions, formerly Christian Social Services, hosted its annual fundraiser breakfast Saturday morning, Jan. 18, at the Hecker Community Center.

This is an annual event and this year, in addition to the annual program, the organization announced its name change. They were once known as Catholic Social Services and then a couple of years ago changed to Christian Social Services, as the organization expanded its mission and area of operation. As of Jan. 1, they changed their name to Caritas Family Solutions. The organization continues to support adoption, counseling, foster care and pregnancy care programs.

The program started with a welcome from program emcee, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Dennis Schreder. An opening prayer was given by Pastor Thelma Burgonio-Watson of St. Paul United Church of Christ of Waterloo. Attendees enjoyed a breakfast buffet while introductions were made.

The St. Mary’s of Valmeyer Community Choir performs at the benefit breakfast. (Kermit Constantine photos)

Gary Huelsmann, CEO of Caritas Family Solutions, talked about services provided by the 66-year-old non-profit organization and how today the need has grown even greater in the 42 southernmost counties of Illinois that the organization serves. He asked those in attendance for their continued support.

“We are helping people live healthy lives, meeting the social and emotional needs of persons of all backgrounds,” he said.

He explained that the name Caritas is the Latin word for “charity” or “love of neighbor.”

Pastor Tim Reynolds of Waltonville and his wife gave a testimonial on how their lives were forever changed with the adoption of their son. The joy brought to the couple inspired them to adopt three more babies.

The breakfast program concluded with a performance by the St. Mary’s Valmeyer Community Choir and a benediction from Fr. Stan Konieczny from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Smithton.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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