Thursday, December 14th, 2017

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Malachi House, “Pearl in the City 30th Anniversary Gala”

In his opening remarks to nearly 400 guests, at its 30th Anniversary Gala, Malachi House Board Chair Joe Granzier asked guests to think of a relative who had passed away, the loving support that person received, and then to imagine someone in a similar situation, but dying on the street, alone. “Malachi House cares for these people,” he said. “They have a family to hold their hand; to offer comfort and care.” He encouraged co-founder Catherine “Kaki” O’Neill to be proud of her work, creating a welcoming place where no one dies alone.

In addition to Ms. O’Neill, the event honored Paul Clark, PNC regional president and gala chair, and 25-year volunteer, Terry Gibbons. Co-emcees were St. Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle, and his daughter, Maureen, seen on WKYC. The event – cocktails, sit-down dinner, presentations, and silent auction – was held in the atrium of the Cleveland Museum of Art, a stunning venue, with the great arc of skylight above.

Malachi House was created by Fr. Paul Hritz and Ms. O’Neill when they and other parishioners of St. Malachi’s realized that terminally ill people were literally dying on the steps of their church, under bridges and on the streets with no care or aid. Today, executive director Judy Ghazoul Hilow says over 100 volunteers help daily, answering phones, assisting in the kitchen, cleaning rooms, offering art and music therapy, and sitting vigil with residents.

“We are so grateful to these volunteers, she says, “from those who keep the house filled with supplies, to the gardeners who transformed our grounds on West 28th into to a gorgeous landscape.”

Malachi House, the only resource of its kind in Ohio, receives no government financial support. It raises all its money through corporate and private donations. The organization supports 15 residents at a time, with a large waiting list. Last year, 128 residents were served without cost, regardless of gender, race, religion or national origin.

Pearl in the City, named after the traditional 30th anniversary gift, raised over $400,000 for Malachi House, “a loving home for life’s last journey.”

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY RITA KUEBER

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