St. Thomas More: A Parish in Action for the Poor

Posted March 15, 2023

“The manner in which we treat the environment influences our treatment of the poor, and vice versa.”

These words guide the Catholic Community of St. Thomas More, an engaged and vibrant parish in Chapel Hill, NC, USA, actively responding to The Cry of the Poor, one of the seven Laudato Si’ Goals.

Recognizing the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, the parishioners, volunteers, and staff of St. Thomas More are making significant achievements on their journey towards integral ecology.


The parishioners, volunteers, and staff of St. Thomas More are making significant achievements on their journey towards integral ecology.


CROP Hunger Walk

The Chapel Hill/Carrboro CROP Hunger Walk supports local hunger relief programs that fund start-up agricultural assistance and sustainable energy and clean water projects. Donations raised for the Walk also provide food and other emergency help to refugees, displaced persons, and victims of natural disasters.

St. Thomas More has participated in all 35 local annual CROP Walks. In 2022, the parish collected $9,000, almost 20% of the local total.

This annual, ecumenical event continues to strengthen both the parish and community commitments to ending hunger and poverty, serving as a strong reminder that hunger remains a critical issue in North Carolina, in the nation, and throughout the world.

Caring and Sharing Center

In 1980, Teresa Keller, Pastoral Associate at St Thomas More Parish, established the Caring and Sharing Center on the church campus. The Center provides gently used clothing and household items free of charge to the needy in the local community and surrounding counties. 

On average, the Caring and Sharing Center assists over 600 individuals and families every month. 

In addition to helping these clients, the Center has donated a significant amount of clothing to rescue missions and over 2,570 pounds of unusable clothing to a repurposing company to reduce the amount that would go into landfills.

Environmental Stewardship Committee 

Founded in 2008, the St Thomas More Environmental Stewardship Committee has a two-part mission: Encourage Christian environmental stewardship throughout the parish and school, and establish or improve environmental management practices in church and school buildings and on its grounds.

A small sample of the work of the Environmental Stewardship Committee includes:

  • Adding energy conservation and rainwater capture in the design of existing and new buildings, including the middle school, church, and parish center
  • Establishing recycling and composting programs in the parish and school
  • Promoting and helping to manage the first solar installation on the gym roof, with planning already underway for the second solar installation on the church and middle school roofs
  • Initiating a monthly reuse table to collect small items and remind people they can use less and reuse more

Parishes Ready to Come Alongside You

The launch of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform has provided St. Thomas More with opportunities for reflection, planning, and meaningful change throughout their local communities and beyond.

Please see the “Building Together” page of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform to connect with parishes around the world over common interests and challenges, and for further inspiration to become a parish in action for the poor like St. Thomas More.