BUFFALO, N.Y., Jan. 22, 2011 – ( release ) Nearly 75 parish and leadership volunteers, clergy and staff of Catholic Charities gathered today for a volunteer training workshop and luncheon to start the 2011 Appeal for Catholic Charities in western Niagara County. The event was held at Antonio’s Restaurant in Niagara Falls in preparation for the 2011 Appeal, which carries a goal of $10.5 million.
An evening workshop and reception will be held separately again this year for parish Appeal volunteers in the eastern part of the county on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at the Tuscarora Inn in Lockport.
The theme of the 87th annual campaign is again, “Whoever. Wherever. Whenever.” because Catholic Charities is always there, providing help for people of all faiths and walks of life when they need it most. Appeal Week 2011, celebrating those who already have donated and encouraging others to follow that lead, will take place April 10-17, though the Appeal will continue through the end of the fiscal year (June 30).
At the luncheon in Niagara Falls, Bishop Kmiec remarked on the number of people assisted by Catholic Charities in the area and the importance of the Appeal to that assistance, especially in light of the continued challenges of the local economy.
“Last year, Catholic Charities helped 10,824 people in western Niagara County through its programs and services,” said Bishop Kmiec. “This far-reaching and vitally important support relies on the funds raised during the Appeal. We have already seen a loss of government funding for our programs and services at the federal, state and county levels, and expect more of the same in 2011.”
He added, “Despite the challenges we face, I am inspired by the incredible commitment of the Appeal leadership team, our Niagara County volunteers and our many supporters. I have found in our diocese a marvelous and extraordinary spirit of giving and service to others.”
The Bishop also talked about this year’s goal and Appeal patron.
“Our goal this year is $10.5 million, the same as last year,” he said. “Even though we fell a little short in 2010, I have confidence that we will meet or exceed this year’s goal and bring our Appeal to a successful conclusion.”
“The 2011 Appeal is under the patronage of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, a woman of our own era who gave herself to the needs of the poor, sick and disadvantaged because she so clearly saw in them the image of God. Like Blessed Teresa, we ask God for the strength and courage to reach out to the people of Western New York again this year, praying that they will continue to act as a community of hope to all in need in both Niagara County and throughout the diocese.”
Bishop Kmiec was joined by Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, Catholic Charities diocesan director; Dennis Walczyk, Catholic Charities chief executive officer; Greg Maher, chair of the 2011 Appeal; members of the Appeal leadership team; and community volunteers, clergy and lay leaders from 10 parishes in Western Niagara county.
In addition, Julie Walters, who with her daughter participated in the Multisystemic Therapy program, shared her story with volunteers.
Julie, a single mom, and her daughter experienced a troubled relationship for several years until she learned about Catholic Charities’ Multisystemic Therapy program in which therapists support the family in the home and are available around the clock.
Julie said, “Jackie (my therapist) was like a lifeline to me. She was the support system I never had. While many of the suggestions she made were common sense, her support gave me the nerve to implement them. And to my amazement, things slowly began to improve.”
“The truth is, life isn’t perfect in our house, but it is one thousand percent better than before I met Jackie,” she added. “And for that, I am truly grateful.”
Sister Mary McCarrick thanked the volunteers and their dedicated efforts. “I am so grateful for all the hard work you do each year to enable Catholic Charities to carry out our mission of help and hope to people here in Niagara County and across the Diocese. Your efforts make all the difference in keeping the Appeal and its importance at the forefront of the minds of your friends and fellow parishioners – thank you!”
Appeal Chair Greg Maher praised the immense generosity of Western New Yorkers through the last few years of tough economic conditions. He also stressed the importance of both individual and corporate donations to the Appeal, citing that one in 10 Western New Yorkers receives assistance from Catholic Charities.
“Last year charitable donations nationwide were down 10 percent. At Catholic Charities of Buffalo we missed the 2009 mark by only one-half of one percent,” said Maher. “As another show of the community of good neighbors, corporate donations last year actually increased by more than two percent.”
“This year we again appeal to both individuals and our strong corporate base to continue their support of the Catholic Charities and help spread the word about what Catholic Charities offers nearly 160,000 Western New Yorkers each year,” he continued.
Other members of the leadership team include David Nasca, vice chair, Stephen Ulrich, parish and large gifts chair and Anthony Delmonte, corporate gifts chair.
In western Niagara County, Catholic Charities provides these services at the following offices: Basic assistance, counseling for individuals, couples and families, Our Kids: Parent Education Awareness Program, Child Permanency Mediation, Domestic Violence Program for Men, Kinship Caregiver Program at 265 Third St., Niagara Falls; Monsignor Carr Institute Children’s Mental Health Clinics, 620 Tronolone Place, Niagara Falls and 1465 Payne Ave., North Tonawanda; and the WIC (Women, Infant and Children nutrition program), 237 Fourth St., Niagara Falls and 1208 Oliver St. in St. Peter’s Church, North Tonawanda.
Catholic Charities is the most comprehensive direct human service provider serving all eight counties of Western New York, with 70 programs and 61 locations. Founded in 1923, Catholic Charities also provides, without regard to religious affiliation, comprehensive counseling services for children and families, anti-domestic violence programming and emergency services, among other social and mental health services.
The 2011 Appeal is under the patronage of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. For more information on the 2011 Appeal or to make a donation, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to www.ccwny.org.