Out of the ashes comes a new partnership for Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) and the Ziegenfelder Company.
The Ziegenfelder Company, a Wheeling plant known for making Budget Saver Twin and Monster Pops, experienced a horrifying fire on Jan. 31 of this year, which also caused an extraordinary chain reaction.
Two concerned community leaders, John Moses with Youth Services System and Rabbi Joshua Leif of Temple Shalom, immediately sprang into action. Realizing the potential for job displacement, they began reaching out to the generous members of our community.
“Our faith demands that we put our values into action. Just as Ziegenfelder’s offers a hand-up to those who are recovering from addiction or striving to return from incarceration after repaying their debt to society, so, too, we at Temple Shalom wanted to offer a hand up to those in need recovering after unexpected challenges,” said Rabbi Lief.
Support immediately began to pour into Temple Shalom. With concern that children of employees may be impacted, John Moses secured grants from the J.B. Chambers Foundation, Schenk Charitable Trust and an anonymous source. Because Ziegenfelder has prepared for such crisis, no one was displaced, and everyone kept working. The Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley was contacted to advise how to honor donor wishes and brought Catholic Charities to the table, as they would be the best choice to help develop a solid program with long term goals.
A partnership between Catholic Charities and the Ziegenfelder Company was formed, with the aim to provide emergency basic needs support and ongoing holistic case management services to employees as individualized needs arise. The program will be overseen and administered by CCWA case managers.
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“We are deeply honored that when we invited others to join us in this effort, the response was overwhelming,” said Rabbi Lief. “From our friends and neighbors to churches from across the community, and generous people from across the country. ‘Care for the stranger’ our Torah demands, ‘for you were strangers in the Land of Egypt.’ We’ll never know the needs of another unless we ask, and we’ll never know how much help we could offer to another unless we try.”
CCWVa considers it a privilege to serve our neighbors across the state through a continuum of programs aimed to help people not only gain initial stability, but to ultimately pursue opportunities to improve their overall well-being and achieve a higher quality of life.
“Catholic Charities is about three words, ‘people helping people,’ that is what we are here to do,” said Beth Zarate, CEO of Catholic Charities West Virginia. “Some of the Ziegenfelder employees are an at-risk workforce, and we are here to facilitate their needs, not only in the short term with such things as a utility bill or rent. But we will work with them on an individual basis and help them work out a plan, a life plan that will help them grow and move forward,” said Beth Zarate.