From the front of their building, Catholic Charities may not look open, or even occupied, but they have been back in the building for a few weeks, offering whatever services they can to their impoverished clientele.
Catholic Charities of Odessa was hit hard, literally, by the hail storm nearly a year ago. The hail punched through the roof of their building at 2500 Andrews Highway, soaking the ceiling, walls and floor of the building and spreading mold. Their thrift store at the front of the building was their most significant loss. Currently empty, with walls yet to be completely rebuilt and lights yet to be installed, Catholic Charities of Odessa Interim Director Faye Rodriguez said she hopes to have the shop up and running again by the end of July, as it brings in significant income.
“That affects all of our programs,” Rodriguez said about the thrift shop. “I’ve got to be able to start bringing income into the agency.”
Rodriguez was brought in as interim last March to help the nonprofit bounce back from the hail storm. She had previously served as executive director of Catholic Charities for more than 20 years before retiring.
“Little did I know I’d be back here,” she said. “But I love it here.”
Catholic Charities is a nonprofit providing needed services for their clients, including food, clothing, and housing and utility assistance.
“People say ‘I need some help where can I go?’” Rodriguez said. “And the first place they think of is Catholic Charities.”
But right now, Catholic Charities isn’t able to provide all of those services due to the renovations in their building being incomplete. They are providing some help with utilities and housing, helping people acquire bus passes and their learning center is open in one of the few rooms with circulating air. All of their other programs, including their food pantry, are shut down right now.
Aside from the thrift shop, Rodriguez said the pantry is her biggest priority right now, and hopes to have it up and running again within the next month.
“We need to have that pantry going,” she said. “People have been asking when is your pantry going back up.”
Following the pantry and the thrift shop, Rodriguez said work will be done to expand the learning center into a new part of the building. The learning center provides help with tutoring, English lessons, literacy, as well as computer classes and workforce training.
“We’re here to help people help themselves, but also give them the tools they need so they can live the life they want to live,” she said.
The renovations are being paid through insurance and donations, but Rodriguez said she isn’t sure yet how much insurance will cover.
Rodriguez said both donations and volunteers are desperately needed for Catholic Charities of Odessa. Those interested in either can go to their building at 2500 Andrews Highway, which is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or call them at 432-332-1387.