Light of Hope Fund/Helping Our Neighbors


10/02/2022 NVW: Arlene Bergam

Arlene Bergam knows that you need to stick with an idea and see it through to reap the benefits. She has stuck with Catholic Charities (Catholic Family & Child Service to Catholic Charities Serving Central Washington) for 17 years.

She joined the Board of Trustees in 2005 because she has a special love for women and children. Besides making baskets of items to auction off at fundraisers, she also became part of a team that collected baby clothes and blankets for families.

Soon they had more baby items than they knew what to do with, and Arlene came up with the idea of making baby bundles for new moms. These donations grew into a clothing closet where parents can "shop" for items for their children. The closet is now part of the Family Center at St. Joseph Parish in Kennewick.

"Arlene is the super woman kind of volunteer that always prefers to devote her time working on behalf of families behind the scenes. When you enter the Family Center, she makes you feel much like you're in a home away from home," says Syndee Sauceda Cavazos, PREPARES Program Manager.

PREPARES is an idea that Arlene has stuck with over the years. The baby bundles were one of the "seeds" that grew into the idea that became PREPARES.

"Arlene has dedicated her time, her prayers, and energy to creating the elements we now use in our PREPARES training program," says Syndee. "While she has given so much to struggling families, it is the wisdom that she has provided over the years that I treasure most."

Arlene and her husband, James, have been married for 36 years. They are a blended family, each bringing two kids into the marriage. Arlene says, keeping the family together and knowing each other is a priority.

For their family, that means eating together often, which is possible since they all live in the Tri-Cities area. Arlene loves to cook, and she loves to be adventurous with her cooking. So, to keep her family in communication and caring for one another, she cooks a lot of food.

Arlene is an active person. Besides her dedication to PREPARES, she also volunteers with 2nd Harvest. She is an active member at Bethel Church, and for the past six years, she has dedicated a part of her week to in-depth Bible study. She also enjoys playing tennis.

Arlene's special love for women and children has helped bring Catholic Charities' mission of bringing hope to life to families throughout Central Washington and beyond, as her passion has influenced others.


For more information about becoming a Catholic Charities volunteer, contact Becki Lambert at