‘Hearts aglow’ for Pontiac

Alum parent invites school community to Oakland County Catholics fundraiser to benefit low-income Pontiac residents; Notre Dame Prep jazz band to perform.

Nearly 38% of the residents of Pontiac live below the poverty line. For the mother of one Notre Dame family, that is simply unacceptable.

"With the meager budgets these people survive on, it takes just one unplanned mishap to send their families into a financial nose-dive," said Laura Pangori, whose four children graduated from Notre Dame, the most recent in 2018. "Large, extra expenses put these people at serious risk for life-threatening problems such as homelessness and hunger."

Pangori is a volunteer with the Catholic Community Response Team (CCRT), an organization that dedicates itself solely to that local, low-income population on behalf of the Pontiac Area Vicariate. She's also chair of CCRT's “Hearts Aglow” 15-Year Anniversary Celebration to be held at The Lafayette Grande Banquet Facility in Pontiac on April 11. It's one of the nonprofit's fundraisers and the proceeds are used to help with eviction issues, security deposits, food, toiletries, clothes, heat/electric shut offs, school uniforms, bikes, furniture, IDs, and the Bridges Out of Poverty program.

"Our mission is simple," she said. "We provide direct support and referral services to Pontiac residents for unmet emergency basic-living needs. Registered as a 501c3 organization, CCRT was formed 15 years ago by the 10 parishes that comprise the Pontiac Vicariate of the Detroit Archdiocese. It also receives support from a variety of other Oakland County Catholic parishes and partners with Ladies of Charity of St. Vincent dePaul to supply these critical items for our clients. And we work with St. Vincent dePaul to arrange for energy assistance when clients qualify."

Pangori is extending an invitation to the April 11 dinner to the entire NDPMA community. 

"We will celebrate our accomplishments, thank all our supporters and ask for future support so necessary within the Pontiac community," said Pangori, whose husband, Steve, is chair of Notre Dame's Board of Trustees. "The 200+ expected guests who purchase tickets will include private and business donors as well as staff and parishioners from churches in the area that support CCRT." 

The event will be in the Lafayette Grande's “Crystal Ballroom” starting at 6 p.m. with music performed by the Notre Dame Preparatory School Jazz Band. According to Pangori, the celebration continues until 9 p.m. with fellowship, basket raffles, buffet dinner, drinks (beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee and tea), delicious dessert and a short presentation that includes the organization's newly filmed YouTube video. 

Joe Martin, NDPMA's band director, was more than happy to bring his jazz band to the event.

"The NDP Jazz Band loves to support hometown organizations like CCRT," he said. "We look forward to performing for all of the people who support our community." 

"A very fun evening for all," Pangori promised. "I also want to thank the Notre Dame community for supporting us 10 years ago when we hosted our Hearts Aglow 10-Year Anniversary celebration in the NDPMA Cafetorium. Most of all, we pray that we will continue to receive your support in the years to come."

Tickets, now available, can be purchased by individuals or groups. . .

Individual: Admission one (general seating): $50
Group: Table of six (reserved table): $300 (must be one check)
Group: Table of eight (reserved table) Please contact CCRT for availability: $400 (must be one check)

Payable to: Catholic Community Response Team (CCRT); memo line: Hearts Aglow

Mail to: Laura Pangori, 8106 Rosebud Lane, Clarkston, MI 48348

NOTE: Valet parking is free with your ticket.

For further information about CCRT, Pangori said to follow it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CCRTPontiac or its Weebly website page at https://ccresponseteam.weebly.com/ 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Laura Pangori at 248-505-9280 or lpangori@comcast.net.

More on the Catholic Community Response Team (CCRT):
CCRT's mission is to provide a Christian, compassionate response to those in need primarily within, but not limited to, the City of Pontiac; to provide intake services and assessments based on client needs to build relationships in order to overcome small hurdles which hinder self-sustainability; to coordinate efforts with other community agencies and providers to make the best use of available resources and to provide appropriate referrals to broaden the scope of CCRT's response.

CCRT volunteers work on the construction of a handicap access ramp at a home in Pontiac.

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org.

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.
About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org