Living the Gospel: Couple planning gala are true-life guardian angels

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It’s been two decades since Jeff and Megan Gordon first got involved with Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton.

They felt called by their Christian faith to help people in need, so they ‘adopted’ a family in need each holiday season and attended the Guardian Angel Dinner Dance every year. Megan volunteered in various programs, the family donated money, and their eldest children, Jack and Maddie, interned with Catholic Charities in 2014 and volunteered in the food pantry. In 2015, Catholic Charities honored Jeff and Megan as a Mercer Light of Hope at the Guardian Angel Dinner Dance in recognition of their longtime dedication and support.

A personal tie

For most of that time, the traumas and crises that Catholic Charities help people recover from seemed like intangible things the Gordons felt fortunate to have eluded.

But when the opioid crisis exploded, the Gordons gained painful, personal experience. A doctor had prescribed powerful opioid painkillers to Jeff’s father for severe arthritis. Before long, he developed an addiction to them – and in 2017, the family lost him to the crisis.

The tragedy deepened the family’s appreciation of the work Catholic Charities does to help vulnerable people in their community, especially those struggling with mental health or addiction.

“The opioid crisis touched our family in a personal way, so we understand and appreciate the mission of Catholic Charities, especially in this area,” Jeff said.

Helping someone stand

This year, the Gordons took their support of Catholic Charities further, chairing the committee that plans the Guardian Angel Dinner Dance, the agency’s signature annual fundraiser. Now in its 30th year, the gala – set for this Saturday – typically draws about 350 attendees and is expected to raise over $300,000 to support Catholic Charities’ programs.

“Faith without works is dead. This is a way for us to live out the Gospel,” Megan said, explaining the couple’s commitment to Catholic Charities. ”We love the social justice work Catholic Charities does in giving dignity and hope to people. And we love that they serve everyone.”

Jeff agreed: “It’s just right to help someone stand when they’re falling over, and set them on a path to independence.”

The couple has three children, Jack, who’s 24, Maddie, 23, and Jeffrey, 20 (pictured, left). As parents to kids in the demographic hardest hit by the opioid crisis, they especially support Catholic Charities’ efforts to help people recover from addiction in a state where more than 1,400 died by overdose the first half of this year.

Share the wealth

The family first got involved with Catholic Charities through Jeff’s job. He’s a real estate appraisal litigation attorney at Archer & Greiner, where partner and longtime Catholic Charities supporter and then-Board of Trustees member Frances McElhill got them involved. Megan is a registered nurse who is currently a homemaker. The family also has been involved in Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) activities, the Center for FaithJustice, and the Rev. Monsignor Vince Gartland’s capital fundraising committee at St. Ann’s Church.

Jeff and Megan met in 1986 as students at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh (pictured, right). The family lived in Ewing for 19 years before moving last year to New Hope in Bucks County. They attend St. George Roman Catholic Church in Titusville.

The couple called on people of conscience to support Catholic Charities.

“There’s so much wealth in the world,” Jeff said. “It’s meant to be shared, not hoarded or used on our individual vanities.”

Support the fundraiser

Tickets are still available to attend the 30th Annual Guardian Angel Dinner Dance this Saturday. To support Catholic Charities by buying tickets or otherwise donating, click here.

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For more information: Dana DiFilippo, Catholic Charities communications, ddifilippo@cctrenton.org or (609) 394-5181, ext. 1153.

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