Social Justice Meeting – Wednesday, February 1, 2021   Minutes

Members attending: Sharon Payne, Marcus Liddell, Katie Wiegand, Diane Etzel-Wise, S. Maureen Hall, Albertine Kangni-Soukpe, S. Carole Eschen, Connie Anderson, Br. Louis Rodemann, Lauren Parker
Members unable to attend: Brent Lockee, Marcela de la Torre

Continuing & Old Business

  • Togo students – Marcus & Albertine
    • In the 2020-2021 school year tuition of $24,110 has been paid for 105 students. Parishioners contributed $14,645, Grant paid $9,465.
    • Discussion of how many students we can help for the 2021-2022 school year – we decided to keep the number at 105 students.
    • Discussion of applying for a grant to help students with housing and hunger insecurity – decided to look into this. Sr. Carole will check with Sisters of Loretto. They have a grant in this funding cycle, Carole will research and Connie will write grant.
    • Albertine shared information she learned from her trip to Togo. She gave detailed info about the living conditions in Togo and shared information about the banks in Togo.
    • 501c3 – Marcus in working on getting 501c3 designation for our Togo program. The NGO in Togo will need to complete papers before we can open an account. Marcus will contact Anne Carlson who has contact with a lawyer to assist with this activity. The purpose of setting up a 501c3 is to divest our income stream from the church and to decrease issues with sending money internationally.
    • Marcus will develop a Togo website.
    • There were challenges for recruiting donors due to Covid 19 and not being able to speak from the altar and chat with folks after mass.
    • Possible solutions to affordability include splitting the cost of one student’s tuition among 2-3 donors, especially for university students. Also, we could ask if donors would like to just give an amount, not actually sponsor a student.
  • Undocumented Immigrants – Connie
    • In February we received $5,000 from SCL Charity fund. Another grant was written today for $5,000. If we receive this grant it will be paid out between 7/1/21 and 6/30/22.
    • We had a discussion of an influx of immigrants seeking green cards due to the new administration.
    • Our grants have currently paid for all expenses related to helping undocumented immigrants. St. James parish has not had to pay for any of these expenses.
    • We have currently helped 55 immigrants.
  • Giving Tree – Katie & Marcus
    • Marcus reported a successful Giving Tree even with our pandemic situation.
    • 25 children from Bishop Sullivan received Christmas presents from parishioners.
    • $830 was collected for heating oil for the elderly in Anapra. Other monies are still coming in


  • Journey to New Life – Sharon
    • Collection for Journey – Previously we have collected blankets, sheets, pillows, towels, kitchen supplies and cleaning supplies for women as they leave the Journey house.
    • Sharon will reconnect with Sr. Rose to see if we can pursue this project now.
    • Bulletin Inserts – Katie
    • Research and write up names of restaurants and service shops close to St. James.
    • Info to be included in a future e-mail blast.


  • Connie – Write SCL Systemic Change Grant, write Loretto grant
  • Marcus – Help share Togo info, set up a website for Togo, 501c3
  • Sharon – Check with Sr. Rose & Ben about Journey donations, put in e-mail blast
  • Katie – Bulletin insert with names of restaurants & service shops in the area
  • Diane – Notetaker, send out minutes
  • Maureen – Get SCL Systemic Grant info to Connie
  • Albertine – Share info from Togo trip, banks in Togo, send a video to Social Justice members, send the table of students to Marcus
  • Carole – Look into grant opportunities for housing and hunger in Togo
  • Brent – Cost analysis of Togo tuition costs, estimate of 2021-2022 costs & share information with Albertine and Marcus
  • Marcela – VBS Bible School in Anapra, contact Sandy Katzler (816-806-9760) by March 15, get dates & timeline to get craft packets done, coordinate with Lauren
  • Louis – Check into grant opportunities or money streams with Christian Brothers
  • Lauren – Work with Marcela in making packets to send to Anapra for VBS


Next meeting: Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 6:30 – ZOOM meeting