Share this story


‘We Are the Hands and Feet of Jesus’

Closing Thoughts From a Devoted Giver

Katie Baxter is the incoming CEO of Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties

She’s only been on the job since Oct. 3, but she’s already tackling some of the biggest problems facing her community. Homelessness. Mental health. Poverty.

The list seems endless but, then again, so is Katie Baxter’s energy.

“It's always a challenge,” she says. “And we do hear from people in our area that things are difficult. Inflation is high and everyone's kind of watching their own budgets. But when people know what Catholic Charities does and what we're about, they want to help. They really do!”

This Christmas season, the opportunities to help are plentiful.

“One of the initiatives that we do every year is not only Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, but also an Angel Tree where we provide gifts for 1,200 children,” Katie says. “And on Christmas Day, we have a delicious hot dinner. And we give bath towels, socks, and personal needs for adults. For children, it's toys.”

The work Katie does isn’t limited to the Christmas season.

“Currently, one of the big initiatives my predecessor Vicky Schultz, who is retiring in December, has started is Tiny Homes, which supports veterans who would otherwise be homeless,” Katie says. “Our heroes get access to small homes and a supportive environment that helps them develop job skills, address their finances, and their mental and emotional health issues - with affordable rent costs.”

Catholic Charities supports many people across Genesee and Shiawassee counties with:

  • North End and Center for Hope Soup Kitchens
  • Center for Hope Warming Center
  • Center for Hope Community Closet
  • Community Closet and Food Pantry, Owosso
  • One Stop Housing and Outreach Assistance
  • Food giveaways throughout the year
  • St. Christopher Medical Transport Program
  • Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Counseling
  • Substance Use Prevention and Education
  • Foster care and adoption
  • Offender Success re-entry program
  • Work Ready Room

“Catholic Charities does many wonderful things. One program many do not know about is St. Christopher's Medical Transportation Program, a free service for medically fragile children,” Katie says. “Children sometimes need to travel far distances throughout Michigan to essential medical appointments and we help make that possible.”

With so many diverse services available—and more on the horizon—it’s the simplest ones that bring the most joy to Katie.

“The Center for Hope Warming Center opens on Dec. 1, and receives its blessing from our priest and deacon the very next day,” Katie says. “I have heard people tell me that the warming center was their last stop. They had no other place to go, and it saved their lives. Because of the warming center, they were able to get a hot meal and a place to stay and keep safe and warm in the sometimes brutally cold Michigan winters.”

As Katie leads her organization into the holiday season, her prayer is a simple one.

“I seek peace and generosity for Catholic Charities and the good work we do,” she says. “I ask that God bless our beautiful mission, doing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, with perseverance and endurance. I pray for our staff, our board, our volunteers, and the people we serve.

“I pray we continue to serve with joy, and that we spread Christ’s hope, love and peace to all people, regardless of their faith tradition. Ultimately that is our goal—we're the hands and feet of Jesus.”