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Volunteer Ronald Niswanger, right, helped load Megan Pierce’s car with Christmas gift boxes for families in need of assistance from the Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King Dec. 21. The group canceled its 2020 fundraising event and instead asked people to contribute what they could, raising $112,000.
Volunteer Ronald Niswanger, right, helped load Megan Pierce’s car with Christmas gift boxes for families in need of assistance from the Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King Dec. 21. The group canceled its 2020 fundraising event and instead asked people to contribute what they could, raising $112,000.
Photo Credit: Photo by Sid Hastings

Cancelled event sets record for Rural Parish Workers

Supporters donated $112,000, surpassing last year’s total

The Friends of the Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King raised a record $112,000 to assist people in need in rural Washington County, despite canceling its annual fundraiser.

The annual fashion show and luncheon normally attracts 500 people. The people on the mailing list were informed that the show was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns and asked to make a contribution anyway.

“People answered the call, and were so generous. People are still giving,” said Christine Desloge, co-chair of the event with Jane Baalmaan and Cindi Mentel, all parishioners of St. Clement of Rome in Des Peres.

Natalie Villmer, president and directress of Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King, checked the group’s landline phone during the their distribution of Christmas gift boxes for families in need of assistance during the pandemic.
Photo Credits: Photo by Sid Hastings
Desloge said initially the co-chairs had no idea what to do to help the outreach Last year’s event raised $93,000.

The Friends of the Rural Parish Workers were established in 1967 to to support the rural ministry’s service to people who are poor. The Rural Parish Workers began in St. Charles 78 years ago and moved to Washington County 71 years ago.

“I call it a non-fashion show,” Natalie Villmer, a member of the Rural Parish Workers, said with a chuckle. “We were amazed at the results. It will certainly help us with our work here.”

The need in the community is steady, Villmer said. People especially need help paying their electric bills. “One gal this morning said she’s so grateful to receive help for her mother. It’s always a problem in the wintertime.”

Funds from the Friends organization “will go a long way,” Villmer said. “We should be able to answer a lot of requests with all they collected.”

On Dec. 21, volunteers with the Rural Parish Workers distributed Christmas gifts to people in need. The median annual income in Washington County is $37,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which is below the national median of $49,000.

The Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King are lay Catholic women who make religious vows. They live as a family engaged in apostolic action for the development of Christian homes and the strengthening of parish life. They are motivated by dedication to God through vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

They serve about 2,500 people a year, providing food, clothing, shelter and utility assistance and religious, educational, cultural, recreational and social events. They also assist with transportation to church, health providers and community activities. They help with the archdiocese’s mobile Rural Parish Clinic, which delivers health care and social services in the area.

What sets The Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King apart from other agencies is their ability to offer a spiritual component, giving people a sense of hope through prayer and learning more about God. The Rural Parish Workers receive a grant from the Annual Catholic Appeal.


>> How to help

To assist the Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King in their ministry:

• Visit www.rpwck.org/fashionshow

• Send a check to Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King, 15540 Cannon Mines Road, Cadet, MO 63630

For information, visit rpwck.org or email [email protected]

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