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Friday is the last day of Holy Cross Ministries spring fundraiser

Holy Cross Ministries

Holy Cross Ministries has been serving the poor, underprivileged and marginalized populations in Utah for more than 140 years. Friday is the last day of its spring fundraiser to help raise money to continue the work.

In 1994, the Sisters of the Holy Cross founded Holy Cross Ministries to continue their tradition of providing compassionate community services. Holy Cross Ministries CEO Emmie Gardner says the nonprofit has three main pillars of service: justice, education, and health. One of the most successful programs uses home visits to help parents build skills and, in turn, helps underprivileged kids get a good start in school.

“We hope to graduate those kids from that program into our school readiness classroom, which is based up there at St. Mary's, for 3- and 4-year-olds, so that they are ready once they go to [kindergarten],” Gardner said.

The “Promotor” program is one of the organization’s original offerings — providing bilingual, bicultural community health workers to help navigate the health care system. Gardner says Holy Cross will expand the program to Wasatch County soon, and that it also provides counseling services.

“We have three full time, bilingual, bicultural staff. And why I say that is, you know, if there's anything I think that it would get lost in translation, it's doing mental health counseling, right? We know we have translation services, we know we can dial a phone line. But really, when people are working through trauma, they need to be able to talk to someone in their own language, who understands their cultural dynamic, and that impact on their trauma so that they can better heal,” she said.

Holy Cross Ministries also provides a Justice program to help immigrants and their families gain legal immigration status on a low-cost or no-cost basis.

“We realize we are giving people opportunity to truly change their lives and to grow and to have, kind of, that capacity to truly thrive and contribute to the community,” she said.

To support all the programs, Holy Cross is running its spring fundraiser this week — the same week in which World Refugee Day is celebrated. With hundreds of Afghan refugees already in Utah and likely more coming from Ukraine, Gardner says Holy Cross will need money not only to help the refugees with housing and jobs, but to help complete the legal paperwork required to remain here.

“The challenge is they don't have status. Every single one of those Afghani refugees is going to need an asylum petition. And there's not enough manpower at the two refugee resettlement agencies to allow that to happen," Gardner said. "And so, we really want to be able to lean in and pivot and help and support other immigration lawyers in the community so that we can help the refugees and help any and our existing and continue to help the existing immigrants in the community that we're serving.”

Gardner says Holy Cross has $15,000 in sponsorships to match by the end of the week. The virtual fundraiser is online athcmutah.org, and donors can target their contribution to one of the three program areas.