BUFFALO, N.Y., January 10, 2014 - The Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, today announced a $10.8 million goal for the 2014 Appeal in support of Catholic Charities of Buffalo. Bishop Malone made the announcement at the Catholic Charities Kenmore-Tonawanda office, the recently renovated facility on Delaware Ave. in Kenmore. The Ken-Ton office provides a variety of family and youth services, as well as victim and school-based services.
The 90th annual campaign launched with a $100,000 increase over last year's $10.7 million goal, which the organization achieved. Bishop Malone named St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) the patron of the 2014 Appeal.
Working under the theme "Heart at work," more than 750 Appeal volunteers will begin reaching out to individuals and businesses in the Western New York (WNY) community to encourage their support of the 70 myriad programs offered by Catholic Charities - the most comprehensive human services provider serving the region's eight counties.
"This year's theme articulates how Catholic Charities works hard every day to help families and people who have nowhere else to turn," said Bishop Malone. "The need for our services is great, but so are the hundreds of skilled professionals who are 'heart at work' serving our neighbors in Jesus' name. Great also are the hearts of our donors, whose generous gifts help us provide the vital services that make a measurable impact on people of all ages."
Dollars raised through the 2014 Appeal will help fund Catholic Charities'
programs across 61 sites in Western New York Appeal Week 2014 will take place
April 6 through April 13 to celebrate the support of Western New Yorkers who
have made a contribution to the Appeal, and encourage those who have not
already donated to do so.
Although Appeal Week marks the strongest push for donations, volunteers will be working to achieve the final goal throughout the coming months, and if necessary, until the conclusion of Catholic Charities' fiscal year on June 30.
The many services benefiting from the Appeal include behavioral health services, food pantries, basic relief services, counseling for individuals, children and families, and the refugee assistance program.
The Catholic Charities' Kenmore-Tonawanda site, which was renovated and expanded in 2011, offers family and youth services, including assessment, counseling for individuals and families, and referral and assistance with such basic needs as food, prescriptions and utilities. It is a provider of WIC, a federal assistance nutrition program providing food and participant-centered nutrition education for eligible pregnant women, infants and children under 5 years old. It also offers domestic violence victim services, including counseling, advocacy and opportunities for empowerment and self-determination, and school-based services like the School Intervention Service in the City of Tonawanda Schools and the In-School Social Work program in Catholic elementary schools.
In addition, the site is a satellite office of Catholic Charities Monsignor Carr Clinic, providing children and adults access to comprehensive psychiatric assessment and treatment.
Dennis Walczyk, Catholic Charities chief executive officer, described the Ken-Ton site as one of the agency's most multi-faceted clinics.
"When Catholic Charities purchased this building from the Sabatino family in late 2010, our vision was to co-locate a number of services for improved access and a better experience for our clients, Walczyk said. "We achieved our goal when we dedicated this office in June 2011, and this site still ranks among our most integrated and diverse for its service offerings."
Walczyk and Bishop Malone, who begins his second Appeal as bishop of Buffalo, were joined by Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, diocesan director of Catholic Charities. Sister Mary shared examples of how Catholic Charities' programs impact the people they serve and underlined the importance of donations of any size.
One story Sister Mary told was of the daughter of an 82-year-old mother whose outlook transformed after she began attending A Gathering Place, Catholic Charities social adult day program.
Sr. Mary said the woman's daughter told her recently that mom was "a changed woman...being part of a group of people who are fun, and love her as much as she loves them."
Sister Mary added, "I hope you will take the opportunity to give - or to give back - to show love as Jesus would, so that we can serve our neighbors in need. A gift of any size will show that love, so join the tens of thousands of people, corporations and foundations across Western New York that support this annual Appeal."
Sister Mary also introduced Michael and Maureen Pratt as chair couple of the 2014 Appeal.
The Pratts highlighted some of the goals for the 2014 Appeal. They said they expect the corporate gifts division to grow and possibly reach $1 million in donations again this year. The Pratts also pointed out the average gift at the parish level continues to increase and is now the highest in Appeal history.
"Despite donor loss driven by demographics, we strive to maintain our base at nearly 60,000 - an astounding number," said Michael Pratt. "This year, we'll continue to reach out to the younger generation of existing and potential donors, spreading our message and building awareness of Catholic Charities' mission and its important role in the community."
"Each year, our leadership team and volunteers face a great challenge in meeting such an ambitious goal in one of the poorest cities in the U.S.," said Maureen Pratt. "Yet, without fail, Western New Yorkers always come through."
Both the Pratts and Sister Mary applauded the hard work and dedication of the hundreds of Appeal volunteers, thanking them for their efforts in making Catholic Charities the "heart" of the local community committed to serving more than 130,000 people each year.
Joining Michael and Maureen Pratt on the Appeal Leadership Team are Jake and Katie Schneider, Vice Chairs and Leadership Gift Chairs; Rick Cronin, Parish Chair; Mary Elizabeth (Beth) Mattimore, Community Chair; and Corporate Chairs Kathy Lawley Best and William Lawley, Jr.
Reflecting on the importance of donations to the annual Appeal, Bishop Malone recalled the life of St. Pio and the teachings of Pope Francis.
"I am proud to be in a position to lead such a generous diocese," said Bishop Malone. "Much like Pope Francis today, this year's patron saint, St. Pio, espoused a detachment from self and worldly possessions, elevating the healing mission of the Church. While I am profoundly grateful for your past support, I am reminded of the words of Pope Francis, who said, 'to love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete...it means seeing in every person the face of the Lord to be served...and to serve...concretely.' As such, I humbly ask for your continued support and financial assistance as we embark on Appeal 2014."
For 90 years, Catholic Charities has been making a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity in Western New York. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assess its clients for other needs to ensure long-term success. It is the most comprehensive human service provider serving Western New York. For the fifth consecutive year, Catholic Charities has attained the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management. Catholic Charities also receives highest ratings for quality of service provided and financial health/accountability as rated by the Council on Accreditation and Charity Navigator.
More information on Appeal 2014 will be available later this month. To make a donation, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to ccwny.org. You can also check out Catholic Charities on Facebook at facebook.com/ccbuffalo and on Twitter at twitter.com/ccbuffalo.