The Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg recently awarded poverty relief grants to two Connellsville Area agencies that help people in need.

Alternatives.YES, Connellsville, received $5,000 for its Earn While You Learn program that provides education in pregnancy, parenting and nutrition as well as other life skills and counseling to at-risk parents. It helps parents in need obtain diapers, formula and baby food for infants and young children.

“We all know someone who is facing an unexpected pregnancy and feels stuck and overwhelmed. One of the most powerful things we can do to help them choose life is to be a support to them and help them in their journey,’’ said Andrea Pritts, executive director. “This grant will help us provide basic support and help to women and families when they need it most. Alternatives Yes is a very small, independent agency, and our funds are limited. It means the world to us that we have the support of Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Greensburg in carrying out our mission.”

Connellsville Area Community Ministries, was awarded $5,000 for its Support for Success program to help people seeking to better their lives.

Rita Smith, executive director, said, “This grant will providing funding to help people overcome some of the barriers faced when seeking employment. We will use this grant to provide financial assistance for security clearances, birth certificates, state identification, transportation, or proper attire. These are often upfront expenses to job seekers, that may make employment out of reach for someone who has been out of work or just finished their training/education. We are thankful to Catholic Charities for the support.”

In addition, St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Paul Parish, Greensburg, was given $5,000 for its Utility Super Fund that helps qualifying people in Armstrong, Fayette, Indiana and Westmoreland counties, pay their water, sewage, natural gas and electric bills.

Altogether, the diocese awarded grants totaling $37,500 to eight organizations, including Christian Layman Corps, Feeding the Spirit, Tri-City Meals on Wheels, all in Greensburg; Union Mission, Latrobe; and St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. James the Greater Conference, Apollo.

“These grants support a wide variety of programs that help the homeless, families in need, the hungry and families with very limited resources who are having a child,” Monsignor Raymond E. Riffle, managing director, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg, said in a release. “These are just a few examples of how the Catholic Church helps people in our communities.”

The program is supported by an annual diocesan collection. Grant applications are accepted throughout the year. Awards are made after a January review of applications received by Nov. 2. For more information, visit

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