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A Brief History of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Merciful H.E.L.P. Center

In 1988, under guidance of Monsignor John Duncan, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church established an outreach ministry to the poor. Monsignor Duncan made the decision to begin a committee that later took the name H.E.L.P. which is an acronym that stands for “He Extends His Love Perpetually.”

As a first step, Monsignor Duncan made the decision to tithe a percentage of the parish’s income to pay for a variety of emergency needs such as rent payments, electric bills, and other needs of the area’s poor. In addition, the committee helped poor residents of Hamilton County do light household repairs and a small food pantry was established.

Even though Hamilton County has blossomed into a significant suburban community, it may surprise some to know that there are pockets of poverty here. Subsequently, it has been the Merciful H.E.L.P. Center’s goal to discern and respond to the needs of the poor in Hamilton County regardless of race, creed or any other criteria. While clients are welcome to attend religious services at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, H.E.L.P. is a service committee that does not promote the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church.

To better manage the growing needs, Monsignor Duncan appointed Bill and Jayne Slaton to chair the Merciful H.E.L.P. Center in 1994. Through their volunteer leadership, services have blossomed and the Merciful H.E.L.P. Center is now a major safety net for Hamilton County’s poor residents who often do not qualify for assistance in larger outreach programs in Marion County.

Particularly in the past 5 years, the center and its work have grown significantly. H.E.L.P. now has 21 volunteer coordinators that chair subcommittees. They manage the services of over 850 volunteers.

In the spring of 2002, Our Lady of Mount Carmel purchased and renovated a house to the west of the parish plant that is now a convent for the parish’s religious sisters. The parish dedicated the old convent, known now as the Matthew 25 Center, for outreach to the poor. The building was remodeled and is now the Trinity Clinic (a clinic for the poor that began through our parish, but now functions as an independent not for profit corporation). The other half of the building is used for H.E.L.P. ministries.

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  space"Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me." Matthew 25:40space