Mothers who reside at Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities farm worker housing community recently participated in the All Faiths Food Bank Cooking Matters Class that was held once a week for six weeks.

Catholic Charities programs make a difference

Naples | Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Venice Inc. is well-known for providing services and programs which make a real difference in the lives of individuals and families who may be less fortunate than others.

It was for this reason that the Youth Counseling Program of Catholic Charities in Collier County was awarded a $180,000 grant from the Naples Children and Education Foundation (NCEF). Founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, NCEF supports effective, disciplined charitable programs that significantly improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County.

At Catholic Charities, counseling is provided to children and adolescents, ages 3 to 17, to help resolve issues such as anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, adjustment issues and reaction to traumatic events. Counseling is provided in English and Spanish, and education is offered to the parents as part of each session. For more information about the Youth Counseling Program of Catholic Charities, please call 239-455-2655.

Meanwhile in Arcadia, once a week for six weeks, mothers gathered for a cooking class. While this is not unique, the group from Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities farmworker housing community took part in a program designed to help them create more cost-friendly and nutritious meals. The All Faiths Food Bank Cooking Matters Class brought in 18 mothers who took advantage of the opportunity to learn. Each week, they received ingredients to prepare the same meal at home.

According to Jenna Jones, Nutrition Director for All Faiths Food Bank, the focus of the class is on how to cook healthy and affordable meals, along with food and knife safety, and grocery store shopping skills. The participants also received a crockpot, as well as a cookbook with all of the recipes they learned.

This program is one of many offered to the families at Casa San Juan Bosco, including an after-school program for children, English-language instruction, Bible study, and dance and craft classes. Opened in 2013, the community now has 97 single-family homes with approximately 300 children. There is a playground and soccer field. At the rear of the property is a community garden. Built in two phases, the community was specifically built by Catholic Charities to provide quality, affordable housing for farmworkers in DeSoto County. Additional phases are in the planning stage and will include housing for needy seniors.

For more information about Casa San Juan Bosco, call 863-884-2123. For more information about Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc., visit www.