COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Every day Midlands agency Clean of Heart gives Columbia's homeless a place to shower and walk out of the door with fresh clothes.
One woman there also makes it her mission to make sure every person who walks in feels loved.
That's why Cathy Hood-Pittenger was nominated by those who know her to be our latest Community Builder in partnership with Mungo Homes.
Hood-Pittenger helped open the doors of Clean of Heart ministries in the Capital City back in March or 2011.
"There was nowhere in downtown Columbia to launder, there isn't even a downtown laundromat," said Hood-Pittenger.
Since 2011, the ministry of Catholic Charities has served more than 800 homeless individuals. "We're just here to take some of the obstacles out of their way so they can move forward on their journey," said Hood-Pittenger. "We just want them to know that they don't walk alone."
Those who know Cathy, who serves as a client advocate, say she shares that love and acceptance for every person she meets
"She's just an incredibly awesome person," said Leisa Lipscomb, regional coordinator of Catholic Charities. "Her dedication, just a genuine dedication and commitment to these folks is unlike anything I've ever seen."
Which is why Lipscomb nominated Cathy as a Community Builder, and we got to surprise her with the news. Matt Mungo with Mungo Homes approached Cathy with a hard hat in hand and said, "Cathy, I'm Matt Mungo, and I just want to say in honor of everything you do to make our community a better place that you have been awarded the Community Builder award."
True to form, Cathy graciously accepted her hard hat, but gave all the credit to her faith and her volunteers. "They're the heart and soul of this place if you ask me," said Hood-Pittenger.
Meanwhile the volunteers would happily turn the attention right back to Cathy.
"She's an angel to a lot of people," said Claire Wagner, a Clean of Heart Ministries volunteer. "She gives her heart and her soul…and she treats everybody like they were her best friend."
As a Community Builder Cathy received a $1,000 donation from the Michael J. Mungo foundation. She says it will assist in Clean of Heart's upcoming move. The agency is having to relocate from Laurel Street to Pickens Street.