The Catholic Multicultural Center
Environmental stewardship is a core value of the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) in Madison, Wisconsin. The center installed solar panels in October 2014 to reduce pollution through clean energy and to save money on electricity. In fact, they have saved so much money that they have been able to redirect funds from electricity bills to other worthy causes. According to Andy Russell, director of the CMC, the money saved through the solar panels amounts to 10,000 meals per year through their daily meal program for the hungry. By the end of 2015, CMC will double their number of solar panels, as well as install LED lights and an energy demand controller.
Educational bilingual programs offered at the Catholic Multicultural Center allow families to explore environmental topics and improve public health. To address local water pollution concerns, CMC community members planned, designed, and installed a rain garden to catch run-off water on CMC’s property, which helps to keep a popular fishing creek clean. An artist who transforms garbage into works of art led a recycling project where community members picked up discarded plastic water bottles, filled them with colored water, and decorated a local park next to a boathouse. Bike Night, hosted by the CMC, encourages bicycle riding as a lifestyle choice beneficial for health and the environment.
Another CMC initiative is Culinary Creations Catering (CCC). This program gives returning citizens and other vulnerable people an opportunity to engage in meaningful work and earn a livable wage. Culinary Creations Catering participates in the center’s care for creation movement by using fresh, local produce from the CMC’s parish garden partnership. In addition to catering, CCC staff maintain the garden and learn how to can and make preserves from the garden produce.
Andy Russell states that the support of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has allowed Culinary Creation Catering to reach the next level, build more catering relationships, and provide more job opportunities.