Catholic Charities and Catholic Health System officials and staff, as well as partners and supporters, gathered this morning for an open house and reception to celebrate the recently completed renovations to expand its Women, Infants and Children (WIC) office inside the Seton Professional Building at Sisters of Charity Hospital, 2121 Main St., Suite 14, Buffalo.
The expansion nearly doubles the original size of the site, which has operated out of the Seton Professional Building since July 2009. The Catholic Health System provided funding, planning and design support for the renovations.
WIC is a federal nutrition program which provides food, participant-centered nutrition education and referrals for eligible pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of 5. Catholic Charities WIC program serves approximately 24,500 participants each month, operating out of eight permanent sites and six temporary sites in Erie and Niagara counties.
New areas added include a room where breastfeeding peer counselors can privately counsel moms, a lab room and conference room. Approximately 2,000 WIC participants are assisted at the Seton Building site, primarily focusing on residents of ZIP Codes 14208, 14214, 14215 and 14216.
Catholic Charities officials acknowledged the project's collaborative partner and the importance of WIC and this site's ability to serve children and families in the surrounding community.
"As two Catholic-sponsored health and human service agencies we have long enjoyed the efforts in properly preparing young, growing families and meeting their needs," said Tish Brady, Catholic Charities chief operating officer. "Our relationship with the Sisters of Charity Hospital Labor and Delivery Department gives our families a strong start to healthy babies, moms and meeting critical nutrition needs."
Aimee Gomlak, vice president of Women's Services for Catholic Health System, spoke to the project meeting the larger demand of participants and improved quality of service.
"We saw the increased need to expand this space, and experienced a seamless collaboration with the staff here at WIC," said Gomlak. "Close to 150 women come through these doors every day, and having the support of WIC makes it possible to serve moms and meet the needs of their growing families."
Judette Dahleiden, Catholic Charities WIC director, recognized the work done by Catholic Health System and the impact the new site will have on services.
"The support from Catholic Health System's facilities and maintenance staff, and leadership, has been critical to the success of this project, and we thank them for diligence," said Dahleiden. "This larger space offers a bigger waiting area, a private counseling area for breastfeeding moms and a conference room. Overall, it will enable us to better serve more infants, young children and families and provide the best nutritional start to life possible."
Before Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, and Rev. Pearl Outlaw, chaplain at Sisters of Charity Hospital joined in offering the blessing, Bishop Malone praised the work of the WIC program.
"The service of food and nutrition offered here to infants, children and mothers-to-be is essential and life-giving," said Bishop Malone. "It certainly is part of the important mission of Catholic Charities to help those in need, and an integral part of Christians' response to the call we hear in the Gospel of Matthew to feed our neighbors when they are hungry."
Other speakers at the event included Aimee Gomlak, vice president of Women's Services for Catholic Health System, and Sister Mary McCarrick, Catholic Charities diocesan director.
Staff members representing the programs were also available at the site to give visitors tours.
Catholic Charities has been the sole provider of WIC in Erie County since July 2009, following the transition of services from the Erie County Department of Health. In Niagara County, Catholic Charities has administered the program since 1985.
To learn more about WIC or any other services Catholic Charities offers, please call (716) 856-4494 or visit our website, ccwny.org.
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.