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LEADERSHIP MONTGOMERY - Torchbearers Class "connecting"



TITLE OF THE PROJECT: Catholic Social Services-The Home Safety Program                                                                                                

TEAM MEMBERS:  Rahmel Cowen, James Foley, Anna Ganey, Shermeka Hawthorne, Ian Maloy, Aquan Robinson, Kris Stallworth, Brad Talley and Morrisa Tuck


DATE(S) OF IMPLEMENTATION:  June 23, 2016-June 29, 2016 and August 6, 2016

DURATION OF PROJECT: 1:00-3:00 PM each day of service (June 23-June 29) & 9:00 AM-11:00 AM (August 6)

PROJECT LOCATION: Homes of CSS clients throughout Montgomery and CSS Campus (4455 Narrow Lane Rd)



FINAL DESCRIPTION OF YOUR PROJECT: The St. Margaret’s program of Catholic Social Services provides smoke detectors and weekly deliveries of non-perishable foods as well as paper goods/personal hygiene products. Our project team completed the installation of smoke detectors in 18 homes and delivered bags of food and paper goods to these Senior Services clients. In addition to the items delivered to the families, our project team packed bags for future deliveries and completed the transfer and organization of the resource room (a multi-purpose food pantry/storage and staging area for food, household and personal hygiene products given to CSS clients) from a smaller space to a larger, more useful and accessible space.

Exactly who will be served by the project?    Under served seniors 60 and above who receive food deliveries from Catholic Social Services. How many people will benefit? 18 direct clients (more individuals if you add in their family/household members) have benefited from this project being completed. This included 36 smoke detectors being placed in 18 homes. An additional 1,760 pounds of food and paper goods were delivered to these homes, and over 2,300 pounds of food was sorted and packed for future delivery. An innumerable group of clients will be positively impacted due to the transfer of the resource room, which will allow CSS to receive and store more products as well as offer ease of accessibility for volunteers and CSS staff members.


No additional individuals or groups were involved in the completion of this project. Our project team was able to complete the project, as outlined by CSS, without the need for additional personnel.

HOW MANY VOLUNTEER HOURS WERE DEVOTED TO THIS PROJECT?  A total of 84 volunteer hours were devoted to the project by our project team.

VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE PROJECT: We envision that CSS will identify additional clients who will benefit from this service. As those needs are identified, they will complete the installation of the smoke detectors on an individual basis. Monthly food deliveries will also continue to be provided to CSS clients through the service of CSS team members and community volunteers. 

Will this be an on-going project or a one-time project? This project has the potential to become an on-going project as additional clients in need of this service are identified.

If it will be on-going, who will carry it forward? CSS will continue to be able to rely on the service of their staff as well as community volunteers to aid in future home installations.

Describe exactly how your project will be implemented. Our team initially met with CSS to determine the project guidelines. Carol Herron, Director of Elderly Outreach Care, identified clients who would benefit from this service. In coordination with Anna Ganey, a schedule was developed for project implementation. Our project team was divided into smaller teams of two individuals. Between June 23rd and June 29th, our team visited the homes and installed smoke detectors, delivered food & paper goods, or provided both to the clients.

After each smaller team completed their route for the day, the team members would journey back to the CSS campus to prepare packages for future deliveries. Each package consisted of a bag from Group A: (non-perishable food items) as well as Group B: (household cleaning products, paper goods, personal hygiene products). Clients were also gifted with fresh flowers donated by area businesses and a cross handcrafted by children who attend local schools.

Upon completion of the original project, our project team recognized the ability and desire to provide additional service to CSS. Our team met with CSS staff to discuss additional priorities for the program. The Executive Director, Patty DeBartoli, as well as the St. Margaret’s/Senior Services Program Manager, Carol Herron, determined that the greatest need was for the relocation of their resource room. This room served as a multi-purpose food pantry/storage and staging area. Because the room had outgrown its capacity, the CSS staff wanted to relocate it to a larger and more easily accessible space on their campus. Members of the project team met at the campus on the morning of August 6 to complete this additional project. All food items, paper goods, personal hygiene and household cleaning products, along with the shelving units and delivery containers were relocated from pallets in the original resource room to a larger multi-purpose space on the campus of CSS. The relocation of this space will enable CSS to increase their overall storage capacity as well as provide easier accessibility for staff members and volunteers who assist with stocking and deliveries.

Our project team’s presentation will be segmented as follows:

Outline of Presentation-Team 3-Catholic Social Services

Introduction of Team Members: Name, Title, Place of Employment

James Foley

Meet Miss Cherry and Mr. Bell-Introductions of CSS Clients

Morrisa Tuck and Aquan Robinson

Intro to MCSS (Overview of Organization)

James Foley

Fire Statistics-Project Need in Our Region

Kris Stallworth

Our Project-Description of Project Implementation

Ian Maloy

Our Experiences-Personal Perspectives from Project Participation

Brad Talley, Shermeka Hawthorne, Rahmel Cowen

Call to Action/ Closing

Anna Ganey-Project Team Chairperson

Our Experience - Brad Talley

Starting this project I was unsure what to expect.  I did not know where we would visit, nor the people we would come across.  I was unsure if this service would be beneficial for the people we would encounter.  There were many unknowns, but after spending time in the community I’ve learned a little goes a long way.  Spending a little time listening to those in our community can help heal loneliness.  Spending a little time trying to understand someone’s actual needs versus your perception of their needs.  Spending a little time listening you will find out the value placed on family.  My most memorable moment of installing the smoke detectors was the very first installation. There was an elderly lady in her room, but left the door open for us expecting our arrival.  As we entered with our green bags and smoke detectors we were genuinely welcomed.  She did not realize there was a guy coming and quickly made sure she was presentable.  As we were installing the smoke detectors she began to talk about a car accident she had the previous week and how she needed thing that were in her car.  She sat there with a brace on leg attempting to figure out how to place the brace on correctly.  We could see she was having a difficult time with this brace and then someone remembered the guy was a nurse.  We then spent time adjusting her brace and talking about her recent events.  Spending that little time listening to her, we were able to not only make sure she was safe, but also help ease her mind about her personal belongings. 

Rahmel Cowen

When we had the opportunity to select our preferred project choices, the Montgomery Catholic Social Services project seemed like the best choice for what I wanted to accomplish. I was looking for a chance to work with those that were less fortunate and help to make a difference in their daily lives by doing a small deed or just putting a smile on their face by satisfying a need. During this project we not only got a chance to do a lot of things to help assist MCSS in their monthly mission work but we also got a chance to meet some really nice people along the way. We learned a lot about all of the services that MCSS offers and that they also have a great thrift store. This project also gave me an opportunity to go into some areas of Montgomery that I normally would not have a reason to visit or otherwise see.

I thoroughly enjoyed putting in the smoke detectors and delivering food to those in need of the service. One of the biggest things that I took away from this experience is to never take the things that I have for granted. All of the people that we assisted during this project not only appreciated the simple small tasks that we were doing but were also elated to see that we were volunteering our time to help them. A smoke detector is probably something that we all overlook in our houses until the battery is dead and you have to change it in order to get rid of the annoying sound. However, this part of the project was very humbling and allowed me to put things in perspective in reference to what is really important in life.

I believe that as a group we were successful in completing the goals of the Montgomery Catholic Social Services through effective communication, teamwork, and having a great attitude. I personally plan to continue to support MCSS in any way that I can and will be soon making another donation to the thrift store. I hope that others will choose to support them as well after learning a little more about their services.

Shermeka Hawthorne

Working on this project made me feel like I actually made a difference; as if I could actually see the difference.  I currently work with children and youth so it is not often that I get the chance to make an impact in the lives of the older population.  It made my heart smile knowing that I was part of a great team who did something that was of great worth to the care and safety of the clients at St. Mary’s Catholic Social Services.   As a social worker, I know how the elderly population is often forgotten about.  Going out with the workers to visit with the clients and installing the smoke alarms made me feel honored to just be in the presence of wise individuals.  On one of my days volunteering, one of the clients shared with us about her life and how she used to do hair.  I knew that we were probably the only company that she had probably all week.  Even though our visit only lasted 5 minutes, I walked away from that client’s home knowing her week was made because she had a moment to socialize and interact with someone else.  

We also delivered food as we installed the smoke detectors.  Seeing how excited the clients were to receive their monthly food was something special.  Some of the clients needed assistance unpacking the food bags while other just encouraged us to find a spot in the kitchen and sit them down.  One thing that was a commonality among each of them was that they took pride in what “little” they had.  They were always grateful to greet the staff and were even more grateful when the staff brought out us…the volunteers. 

This project reminded me of how hard the elderly have it.  Many of them are on a fixed income and it was explained to us that they consider things such as paper towels as luxury items.  That is definitely something to think about; I never imagined something seemingly so basic as paper towels as a luxury item. 

Call to Action

What can you do to make a difference?

As we’ve mentioned before there are many ministries that operate out of Catholic Social Services. However, from our time working with St. Margaret’s some needs began to stand out.

  • Consistent volunteers: while any and all volunteers are appreciated. Catholic Social Services is in need of volunteers that are willing to make a long term commitment. That are willing to show up on a weekly basis for a few hours and help make food deliveries or transport someone to a doctor appointment.
  • Christmas Goodie Bags: Volunteers and items are needed for the Christmas Goodie bags. These bags typically include small toiletries such as toothpaste, razor, lotion, etc. Volunteers are needed to stuff these bags as it draws closer to Christmas.
  • Box Fans: Many of the people they serve do not have air conditioning and simple box fans can be lifesaving.
Thrift Store: They need donations, customers, and volunteers. All donated items are not sold; people in need are given vouchers for the store and are allowed to pick out clothing and household items for themselves.

Torchbearer Class VIII Project Team 3 - Presentation 

Team 3 Project Presentation
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