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Catholic Charities celebrates success in 2019 Person of the Year recognition


Memphis, TN – Jan. 8, 2019 – Catholic Charities of West Tennessee (CCWTN) will kick off the New Year by celebrating the success of one of our customers who has gone on to contribute a great deal to the community, in our first annual Person of the Year Award, at 9 a.m. Jan. 10, 2019. In collaboration with the office of Mayor Jim Strickland, this award recognizes a CCWTN client who has moved beyond self-sufficiency to give back to the community through professional or volunteer efforts.

The first annual CCWTN Person of the Year award will honor Marcallina James, who became homeless through a series of unfortunate circumstances but turned that situation around with the support of Catholic Charities to quickly secure housing and employment. The program recognizing Ms. James will be held at the Catholic Charities offices, 1325 Jefferson Ave., Memphis, TN, 38104.

“Catholic Charities does so much for those who need it most in our city, and we’re happy to participate in this great honor for Ms. James,” said Mayor Strickland. “It’s so great to see success stories like Ms. James where she not only found employment, but is giving back one of her most precious assets—her time.”

When Ms. James moved to Memphis from Minnesota, she had housing arranged and was ready to embark on a career and new life in the city. But within one week of arriving in Memphis, she learned that the housing situation had changed, and she suddenly found herself without a roof over her head.


“I was convinced that I needed to just get in my car and drive the 13 hours back to Minnesota, yet I had no home there either anymore,” she said. James reached out to the Veterans’ Housing program at Catholic Charities. Because she had served during the Gulf War and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy, she believed she would be eligible for services.

Within days of connecting with Catholic Charities, James secured an apartment in Midtown. Catholic Charities provided a move-in kit and a visit to our Food Pantry as part of the moving plan. Once she was settled into her apartment in August, James was able to secure a position as the Veterans and Military Services Coordinator at the University of Memphis, where she has worked since Sept. 11.

“It’s a bit frightening to be in a city where you have no family and no support system. But from the moment I met Catholic Charities, I knew that they cared about veterans. I feel incredibly blessed and can’t believe I could have started my journey here in Memphis without the help of Catholic Charities,” she said.

In addition to her work at the university, Ms. James volunteers with Alpha Omega Veterans Services, Inc. and cityCURRENT.

Dick Hackett, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, said, “We are grateful that our Housing Ministry is there for people like Marcallina, when they hit a rough spot in life, and we salute her for her resilience and tenacity, which have led her to become such a wonderful contributor to both the community of Memphis and the military community she serves in her professional life.”


The Housing Ministry of Catholic Charities helps homeless individuals find permanent, stable housing. In FY 2018, Catholic Charities served 373 households in need through this ministry.

For more information about the Catholic Charities Person of the Year, please contact Leigh Ann Roman at or (901) 722-4733.

About Catholic Charities of West Tennessee

Catholic Charities of West Tennessee is the social services arm of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis. It is one of the largest nonprofit, multi-social service providers in the Mid-South with special emphasis in the areas of homelessness, children’s programming, immigration services, veteran’s services and emergency services. For more information please visit the agency web site at and visit us on Facebook.

Mission statement: Following the teachings of Jesus Christ, we provide help to those in need and bring them hope by supporting them on the path from poverty to self-sufficiency.

Jan 18, 2019

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