To help raise funds and community awareness about the many great things that the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) does and the many people it helps, LaMovida Radio 1480 AM will host a Radiothon on Dec. 13.
“Last year was our first annual event and I felt like it went really well,” says CMC Director Andrew Russell in an interview with The Madison Times. “For our first one, our goal was 10,000 and we raised just over $11,000 — so we were really happy about that. This year, our goal is $15,000…. that's a big jump. But we are confident that we can do it. People are already expressing more of an interest than last year. I think it helps that this is the second year. We have big hopes.”
Located on Beld St. on Madison's south side, the CMC provides an empowering social ministry to meet the needs of the whole person, works to foster multicultural unity, and works to cultivate collaboration among the local Catholic Church, other faith-based organizations, and community entities. The organization serves a very diverse clientele of Black, white, Latino, Hmong, and most recently Bhutanese refugees.
“Every little bit makes a big difference,” Russell says. “Some of my favorite gifts are from some of the guests who come here and didn't have a job and then they found a job and they give us three dollars. The first time that happened, I just wanted to say, “No, you keep it.' But it meant so much for them to give it. Those are my favorite moments.”
The CMC was founded under the name Blessed Martin House to help meet people’s basic needs, provide educational opportunities, and fill spiritual needs for those interested. Centro Guadalupe began working closely with St. Martin House in the 1970s, and now the two are one organization: the Catholic Multicultural Center.
Serving primarily the south side Madison community since 1946, the Catholic Multicultural Center has been an important part of Madison for decades. The Center, now under the leadership of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, offers many services to the south side including a free meal program, food pantry, health program, numerous educational classes, and shower and laundry facilities.
The money raised at the Radiothon, Russell says, will go to the food pantry, English as a second language (ESL) classes, and for computer upgrades in the computer room. “Our computer lab is very out of date and very slow to where it is getting hard for people to use them,” Russell says. “We need an upgrade because we use it for so many things. We give people free access to computers and they use them to find jobs and resumes. It's a very important thing to have.”
Most of the food that they have in the food pantry they purchased from the Second Harvest Food Bank, Russell says. “Money raised at the Radiothon will help a lot with that. Part of our pantry is personal care items which can be very costly, but it's something that people will stop buying first if they lose a job,” Russell says. “[Things like] toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, razors, etc. Then it's hard to find a job and it's hard to stay healthy if you can't wash your hands or brush your teeth.”
The CMC is planning on building more partnerships over the next couple of years. “I'm excited about our catering program. It's something that we want to expand,” Russell says. “We have a culinary training program, a 5-week class, where they get ServSafe training and certified. They learn to work in a commercial kitchen. We currently have a partnership with REAP [Research, Education, Action and Policy on Food] and the Madison Metropolitan School District where we provide healthy snacks to some of the public schools and that gives us the opportunity to give the students some training.”
Although CMC does appeals throughout the year, the Radiothon will be the major fundraisier. The Radiothon runs from noon until 6 p.m. It will once again be a very social event with entertainment and food.
“There will be lots of interviews throughout the day of people who receive services here and people who volunteer here… There will be different community members who will talk about the importance of the Catholic Multicultural Center. Fitchburg Mayor Shawn [Pfaff] will stop by to talk about why it's important for people to give here. We serve people throughout Dane County and including Fitchburg.”
The money raised at the Radiothon will go toward the CMC general fund and will help them to continue to do many of the great programs that they do.
“We would love to hit that $15,000 goal,” Russell says. “But I hope we can also raise a lot of awareness about what we do and let people know about all of the great things going on here. Awareness has been something that's been really big for us over the last few years. The Spanish-speaking population mostly does know that we exist but beyond that many people don't. With the Radiothon, what was really cool last year — and what I'm looking forward to this year — is just the energy. People are so excited to tell their stories on why this place is great or to say ‘thank you.’ It's just stuff you wouldn't ordinarily hear very often.”
For more information on the Catholic Multicultural Center programs or to get involved in the Radiothon, contact Andy Russell at 556-2344 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in volunteering? Contact volunteer coordinator Laura Green at email@example.com