Like most recipients of awards for serving others, Patricia Zumbro is mystified by why she or her family should be honored, or singled out, simply for doing what comes naturally.“That’s how I grew up, and that’s how my husband grew up, and that’s how our kids have grown up — service is a lifestyle,” said the parishioner of St. Louis de Montfort Church, Santa Maria, whose family was honored June 3 at the fifth annual Partnership in Service Awards Celebration, sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Santa Barbara Region.“And,” smiled the former community college teacher, “service is something we hope we can do for a long time to come. But to be honored for it? It’s pretty overwhelming.”The Partnership in Service Awards Celebration, held at the Santa Ynez Marriott in Buellton, this year recognized individuals in nine parishes throughout Santa Barbara County. Honorees included people who visit those who are homebound, read to folks who cannot see, and distribute food to families in need. Others visit prisoners long forgotten by the outside world, drive seniors to medical appointments and help care for their pets. And that doesn’t begin to address the breadth of service in their own parish communities, from performing liturgical ministry to beautifying their parish gardens.Some honorees have served on Catholic Charities’ boards “to help families get through this most difficult economic downturn,” said Frank Bognar, Catholic Charities regional director for Santa Barbara County. The unemployment rate is very high throughout the county — in particular the north county (Lompoc, Santa Maria and rural areas). “In some cases, folks have been out of work for years and are feeling beaten down,” Bognar noted. “People in parishes and Catholic Charities are doing everything in our power to help families get through this difficult time.”And yet, he added, “as harsh as this downturn has been, the generous response from the Christian community — both Catholic and non-Catholic Churches — from individuals and parishes has been at levels I had never before seen.”For example, over the past four years Catholic Charities has conducted a “Silent Angel” campaign, involving benefactors who wish to remain anonymous and have committed to match dollar for dollar all individual money raised by Catholic Charities from Oct 1 to the end of the year. “What that has meant is that for the past four years we’ve been able to double the impact of the services we can normally provide because of the dollar-for-dollar match,” said Bognar. Catholic Charities will hold this campaign again from this October through the end of the year, with every dollar raised matched to double the impact.“This is one of the stories of the loaves and fishes of our day,” he declared.Partnership in Service volunteers included:—Bill and Rosalie Marquez, St. Mary of the Assumption, Santa Maria.—Trent Benedetti, Jerry and Mary Jane Kipper, and the Zumbro family, St. Louis de Montfort, Santa Maria.—Elisa Macias, Salvador Gonzalez and Salvador Velasco, St. John Neumann, Santa Maria.—Joe and Kathy Airey, Mission Santa Ines, Solvang.—Altar Society, Holy Cross, Santa Barbara.—Ron and Theresa Dietz, San Roque, Santa Barbara.—Erika Aldaz, Our Lady of Sorrows, Santa Barbara.—Delfina Pezez and Carmen Diosdado, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Barbara.—Dr. Rafael and Jessie Victoria, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Montecito.Also honored this year were groups which helped to repaint and repair Catholic Charities’ Santa Maria office. Santa Barbara Region Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry made the presentation at the dinner to the honorees. Father Jack Stoeger, director of the Cardinal Manning House of Prayer for Priests, was the keynote speaker.Catholic Charities in Santa Barbara County operates from community sites in Carpinteria, Lompoc, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, and operates mobile food distribution sites in less-populated and/or more remote areas including Guadalupe, Isla Vista, New Cuyama and Sisquoc. Family involvementSince moving to Santa Maria from Orange County 18 years ago, the Zumbros — father Tim (who works in business development for a chemical company), mother Patricia and children Camille (20), Alexander (18) and Emma (14) — have worked the parish festival, assisted in collecting and assembling food and gift baskets for St. Louis de Montfort’s Christmas and Thanksgiving drives for the underserved, and helped out in the parish food pantry that serves the hungry. Camille, Alexander and Emma have also helped train altar servers, and this summer Camille — on break from her studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo — has become involved serving in the parish’s junior high ministry.“Our kids have been home-schooled,” explained Patricia, “and so the parish offers them, and our whole family, the chance to be involved with the whole community in a very special and loving way through service. It’s an opportunity for us to really practice what the Bible tells us about loving one another.“And,” she added with a chuckle, “the kids have never complained about ‘having to do’ any of it. In fact, they are the ones who very often have led us into doing more.”To contact Catholic Charities in the Santa Barbara Region, call (805) 684-7045.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0713/sbpartners/{/gallery}