The Social Concerns Ministry at St. Joseph is here to confidentially help our parishioners with issues of dailiy living as well as enlist helpful resources. Through our social ministry programs we also reach out to help people worldwide, nationally, statewide, and locally in our community. Each level can receive donations of money and/or materials, volunteer-hours, meals, personal attention and a human touch, or simply phone calls and an arm of compassion. Much of this outreach is through programs in which religious education students, youth ministry, parishioner organizations and volunteers come forward to give of their time and talent to tackle an issue of “mission work”.

Through the eyes of faith, the starving child,
the believer in jail,
and the woman without clean water or
health care are not issues, but
Jesus in disguise.

The Starfish Story

One day an old man was walking along the beach in the early morning and noticed the tide had washed thousands of starfish up on the shore. Up ahead in the distance he spotted a boy who appeared to be gathering up the starfish and one by one tossing them back into the ocean.

He approached the boy and asked him why he was spending so much energy doing what seemed to be a waste of time.

The boy replied, “If these starfish are left out here like this they will bake in the sun, and by this afternoon they will all be dead.”

The old man gazed out as far as he could see and responded, “But, there must be hundreds of miles of beach and thousands of starfish. You can’t possibly rescue all of them. What difference is throwing a few back going to make anyway?”

The boy then held up the starfish he had in his hand, threw it into the ocean and replied,

“It made a difference to that one.”

Adapted from “The Star Thrower” By: Loren Eisele

You must be the change you wish to see in the world
— Gandhi

Supported Programs

From our weekend parish basket collection a small tithe is given to the Social Concerns Ministry each month to support the following programs, donate goods or help individuals and families.

Where our money has gone to help those situations-of-need in the past:

  • Programs for IHN (The Interfaith Hospitality Network)

  • Food/goods for the homeless hosting week

  • Necessary items for the Flynn Center

  • Diapers/wipes for the babies of IHN

  • Rent and car repair for the transitional homeless program

  • Payment for books and tuition needs for mothers trying to move on

  • Raritan Valley Chapter of Habitat for Humanity

  • NJ Food Banks

  • Somerset Home for Displaced Youth

  • Newark Clean Air Fund for Summer Camps for City Youth

  • Resource Center for Women

  • Elijah’s Kitchen

  • Rescue Mission of Trenton

  • Jail Chaplaincy

  • SHIP Meals

  • Operation Shoebox

  • Pregnancy Aid Center

  • ARC and Special Needs Summer Dances

  • Christian Appalachian Project

  • Sunshine Club for the Parish

  • Emergency Meals Program for the Parish

  • Christmas Gift Giving Drive

  • Thanksgiving Baskets

  • Mission Work in China

  • Guatemala Mission Program

  • The Alternative Gift Fair

  • Confidential Individual Needs such as:

    • Rent, mortgage, or utility payments

    • Medical and dental needs

    • Food

    • Car issues

    • Clothing

On-Going Local Programs

Respect Life
Provides education, information and activities supporting the full spectrum of life.
Homeless Housing
Working with 17 churches in the county, we provide overnight services through the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) of Somerset County. Meals and overnight accomodations are provided periodically throughout the year.
Religious Education Service Projects
Ideas and programs provided for all students and their families to become involved in social ministry service.
Social Justice Teaching
Provide guidance and curriculum towards the teaching of Catholic social justice.

Caregiver Ministry
To coordinate supportive services for the elderly in our parish.
Emergency Meals
Whether facing a birth, death, hospital stay, or crisis, our meal makers will provide nutritious meals to help you and your family through a trying time. Contact Lee Parasole  
Sunshine Club
For those who are homebound, this group sends out monthly holiday and birthday cards to bring cheer. To place someone on the list, please call Lois Jerzewski
Food Bank/Pregnancy Aid Center Collection and Delivery
Each week in the coat room of the church food and diapers are collected. Bring in one can or box of nonperishable food when you come to mass each week. Food is delivered weekly to one of 4 area food banks and the Pregnancy Aid Center.
All parishioners are invited to participate in any project or ministry work. Check the bulletin for ongoing programs or call the Social Concerns office for specific information. New idea, interests, and questions are always welcome!