The Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, provided his second report on the progress of the annual Catholic Charities of Buffalo Appeal today, revealing $8,546,086.80 has been raised to date, as Catholic Charities officials marked the close of Appeal Week 2015.
Today's total represents 78.4 percent of the final goal, which is trending slightly behind last year at this time when 82.3 percent of goal was reached. Funds raised for Appeal 2015 support Catholic Charities' 70 programs and services offered across 61 sites throughout the eight-county region, and the Bishop's Fund for the Faith, which supports related ministries of the Diocese of Buffalo. The annual campaign runs through June 30 and carries a goal of $10.9 million.
During Appeal Week, which ran from March 22-29, parish volunteers and pastors across Western New York led a concerted effort to gather donations, and participated in fundraising activities in order to bring the Appeal closer to its final goal.
Bishop Malone thanked the hundreds of parish, corporate and community division volunteers, and pastors who were back in action, helping to raise funds that will allow Catholic Charities to continue to impact the lives of more than 142,000 Western New Yorkers; Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
In addition, Bishop Malone shared his appreciation towards all the donors thus far. "Your charitable gifts are an indication you are willing to help us find the good within our community, and also an expression of your willingness to look even more closely - and help find God within each and every one of us."
Jake and Katie Schneider, 2015 Appeal chairs, thanked all those involved for their generosity.
Jake said, "We are very grateful for all of the support and donations from individuals, corporations, schools and parish organizations. Although we are slightly behind where we were last year, we are confident that we will all find good within ourselves to help us reach our $10.9 million goal."
Jake highlighted some creative and impressive fundraisers among some young people in the diocese including "Bowling for Hope," basket raffles, and pie throwing on Pi Day by youth ministry groups, grade schools and religious education groups. He introduced four students from Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish in North Tonwawanda's 10th grade Confirmation class which held a fish fry this year and netted $472.
Kathy Kokanovich, faith formation coordinator for the parish, and students John Bluff, Melissa DiVirgilio, Michael Jeswald and Madeline Miller, were recognized for their efforts.
Finally, Jake presented the fundraising results of St. Francis High School students to the Bishop - a check for $6,500 from their annual homeroom competition.
Extending thanks to St. Francis High School's Brother Nicholas Romeo and students Scott Kendall and Jacob Dobrick, who coordinated the Lenten fundraiser, Jake said, "St. Francis High School's gift in 2013 was $4,500. Two years later they have increased that by 69 percent or $2,000. Thank you!"
Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, diocesan director of Catholic Charities, encouraged people who have not yet donated to step forward and help the organization reach its goal.
"We are so grateful for our current progress and the thousands of gifts this number represents," said Sister Mary. "As we all know we cannot stop here. We need to keep up our pace and we need to hear from others who have not yet taken the time to respond to the need this year through a contribution or a pledge. Every pledge and donation of any size is appreciated."
The theme for the 2015 Appeal is "Find Good Within" and the patron saint of the 91stannual Appeal is St. Francis of Assisi.
As the most comprehensive human service provider in Western New York, Catholic Charities makes a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity. 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.
Catholic Charities is an excellent steward of the contributions it receives. For five years, Catholic Charities attained the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for transparency and sound fiscal management. Catholic Charities also receives the highest ratings from the Council on Accreditation for quality service.
To make a donation or learn more about Appeal 2015, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to www.ccwny.org. You can also check out Catholic Charities on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccbuffalo and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ccbuffalo.