The Unlikely Donor

May 29, 2020

Cathleen Morita is a giver. When a cousin recently passed and left her some money, she said, “The Lord put it on my heart to give it to a friend who had fallen on hard times.” So she did. And five days later, Cathleen (Cat) lost her job. When the friend asked her if she wanted the money back, she replied, “No. God knew this was going to happen.”

But before you think too highly of Cat, she’ll tell you, “It’s not like I make a ton of money or have given lots of money.” It’s just that when God nudges her to give financially to someone, she does her best to do it. “The way he reaches me is that he shows me their need, which is always greater than my want. Look, we all have different gifts. Mine’s giving to those he puts on my heart.”

And that’s how Cat wound up donating money to The Salvation Army. While unemployed. In the middle of a pandemic.

Cat was still “between opportunities at the moment,” as she described it, when COVID-19 started taking its toll on her neighborhood. On the whole country.

Despite being unemployed, she said, “I can pay my bills. I can afford food. It’s amazing how God has kept me afloat.” So when she saw people on the news who couldn’t pay their bills and single moms trying to make ends meet, she knew, “That’s who the Lord put on my heart.”

“If I was a nurse, I’d serve that way,” she said. “Everyone wants to help during this crisis.” So when her stimulus check arrived from the government, Cat knew it wasn’t hers to keep. She gave it to her church, she said, “because I always tithe to the church first and knew they could reach those in dire need.”

Then her first unemployment check arrived in the mail, and it was considerably more than she had anticipated. She double checked the amount with a contact who works for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, who told her there was no error.

As Cat contemplated where to donate this extra money, she thought of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS). She had volunteered with EDS off and on for years, and had recently helped make sandwiches for first responders to the COVID-19 crisis at their warehouse not far from where she lives in Elk Grove Village.

When Cat talked with an Army staff member at our EDS warehouse, she told him, “I know you work in neighborhoods in need, and I know you’re in a position to give to a person crying out to God for help.” When he told her about the Army’s rent and utility assistance for those who have lost work due to the coronavirus – assistance that keeps these families from losing their homes – she knew it was the right fit. She also mentioned that she appreciates that The Salvation Army represents the Lord and helps people in his name.  

If Cat’s unemployment checks remain higher than her needs, she plans to keep donating to The Salvation Army. “It’s not like I’m doing anything great. This isn’t money I’ve earned,” she said. “I’m just being a funnel. It’s amazing the Lord uses all of us as his hands and feet.”

Learn about all the ways The Salvation Army is responding to the coronavirus – as well as how you can help – at salarmychicago.org/coronavirus


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For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.


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