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New Catholic Charities center offers help in time of need

Casa Corazon aims to reach into the heart of the hungry and the dispossessed.

Catholic Charities today opens the new 22,000-square foot, three-story center that is designed to provide education to nearly 100 children and provide services to more than 2,000 adults.

“We don’t discriminate or reject on religion,” volunteer Beth Chavez said. “We help people based on need, not creed.”

The new campus will consolidate services Catholic Charities previously offered at two sites: an older building at the current site on Bridge SW and a leased building on Candelaria. The old building will be demolished now that the new one is completed.

Catholic Charities also owns a building in Santa Fe and leases another in Rio Rancho for its immigration law and housing programs.

Federal and state grants, as well as the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and private donations, funds the operating expenses, Chavez said. The Archdiocese and individual donors paid for the new building.

“I don’t think New Mexico has recovered (from the Recession) as well as other states have,” said Thelma Domenici, chair of the HeartART project formed to embellish the space. Domenici and Chavez helped raise $90,000 to buy art from local artists to decorate the walls, floors and meditation garden.

As both state and federal funding declines, global economic and social injustice continue to drive record numbers of refugees and immigrants to New Mexico. According to Catholic Charities’ website, 18.1 percent of the state’s children live in poverty.

The consolidated campus will serve more than 12,500 people annually.

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