Cumberland, a small, historic city in western Maryland’s Allegany County, is not without its challenges. Like other former manufacturing-based cities, times are tough for many of its residents.
Through its outreach center, St. Anthony Place, Our Lady of the Mountains Parish is doing its part to help those in need. Assisting families with food and cleaning supplies, St. Anthony Place offers assistance with rent and utilities costs too.
Parishioners of Our Lady of the Mountains, John and Roslyn Balch, have always held a special place in their hearts for St. Anthony Place. For years, they had made annual contributions.
Recently, they augmented their support by establishing The Balch Family Endowment Fund for St. Anthony Place in the Catholic Community Foundation.
On their goals in establishing the fund, Mr. Balch, who serves as President for the Foundation and knows well its many advantages, said, “We felt it was something we needed to do. Our lives have been blessed with the successful business we have in this community. This was our way of giving back through the Church.”
The endowment is a greatly welcomed asset to the parish community. Reverend Gregory Chervenak, Pastor of Our Lady of the Mountains, said, “St. Anthony Place serves anyone in need and treats everyone with love and respect. Having an endowment benefitting St. Anthony Place is very important. Our parishioners are very generous in giving, but the need is constantly growing.”
Indeed, the need is great. Ed Jones, Business Manager for the parish said, “A lot of folks depend on what St. Anthony Place offers. We see many families with small children. So, as they struggle with their finances, I think it’s important for them to understand, they’re not alone in the world.”
St. Anthony Place embodies Our Lady of the Mountains’ social outreach ministry. Teresa Files, who assists Father Chervenak and who has been part of the Our Lady of the Mountains parish family for nearly three decades, said, “This certainly falls into our mission for missionary discipleship. We reach out to the most needy.”
It gives the Balches great satisfaction to know they will be helping Cumberland’s underserved in perpetuity. Mr. Balch said, “This endowment will live far beyond our years. It will always be there to help sustain the needs of the community.”