BUFFALO, N.Y., Jan. 9, 2016 - About 50 parish and community volunteers, local clergy and lay leaders, and staff of Catholic Charities of Buffalo, gathered Saturday for a Tri-County volunteer training workshop and luncheon to help kick off the 2016 Appeal for Catholic Charities in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
The event was held at Bohn's Restaurant in Batavia in preparation for the 92nd annual campaign, which carries a goal of $11 million and officially began Jan. 6. The patron saint for the 2016 Appeal is St. Nicholas.
During the luncheon, two
individuals were honored with "Hero of Hope" awards.
Working under the theme "Find Good Within," Appeal volunteers from Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties will begin reaching out to individuals and businesses in the community to encourage their support of the 2016 Appeal, which helps fund Catholic Charities' 70 myriad programs and services across 61 sites in Western New York along with a number of ministries through the Bishop's Fund for the Faith.
Donors from the three counties contributed $564,556 to the 2015 Appeal.
Two important dates during the 2016 Appeal include First Report Sunday on March 13 and the culmination of Appeal Week on Palm Sunday, March 20. Although Appeal Week marks the strongest push for parish donations, volunteers will work to achieve the final goal until the conclusion of Catholic Charities' fiscal year on June 30 if necessary.
Among the speakers at the event were Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo; Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, Catholic Charities diocesan director; Dennis Walczyk, chief executive officer, Catholic Charities; and Dan Greene, Tri-County Catholic Charities district director.
Members of the Appeal leadership team presented information about the 2016 Appeal, including what has changed, how to run a successful parish campaign and ideas for gaining new donors while also retaining previous supporters.
In addition, William Privett, who has been a volunteer with the Catholic Charities Home Visitation program for nearly three years, and Herbert Neal, who received Catholic Charities counseling and emergency financial services to help get him and his two teenage sons back on track, received "Hero of Hope" awards.
Bishop Malone thanked the honorees and spoke about the 2016 campaign.
"It's hard to believe this is my fourth Appeal as Bishop of Buffalo," said Bishop Malone. "I wish I could report the need for our services has diminished during my time here, but unfortunately that's not the case. Last year we provided assistance to nearly 132,000 individuals, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, including 4,900 individuals in these three counties alone. We anticipate a similar or increased volume in the coming year.
"To continue providing vitally important care and support to all who need it, we have established an ambitious goal for Appeal 2016. This year's theme, 'Find Good Within,' reminds us to open our hearts and find the good - and also the God - within each of us, in order to help those who are without, or those who are in need of a helping hand at this particular time in their life."
Bishop Malone was joined by Sister Mary McCarrick, who shared an example of how Catholic Charities' programs impact the people they serve and underlined the importance of donations of any size.
"Catholic Charities is there for children, individuals and families in need. Such services include a program that not only re-houses families, but also works with them to establish a budget and uncover other solutions that will eventually result in permanent stability," said Sister Mary. "One of our former clients, Rodtrice, and her children experienced this program. She was homeless when she came to Catholic Charities Central Intake and she now has a place to live, she's working, going to school, financially stable and providing for her children."
Sister Mary also introduced Nick and Nicole Tzetzo, the 2016 Appeal chair couple.
Nick Tzetzo said, "The annual appeal has supported Catholic Charities for the past 91 years. As we enter into our 92nd Appeal, we continue to face the same challenges that have been present for many years, such as an aging donor base and an increased need for services in one of America's poorest cities. Those challenges, however, won't keep us from meeting our goal."
"A gift to Catholic Charities is a gift to our own neighbors, members of our human family seeking a hand up," said Nicole Tzetzo. "As we move through this year's campaign with this in mind, take notice that our neighbors need us in whatever capacity we can give. Give what you can. It will come back to you in so many ways."
Other members of this year's volunteer leadership team are Gerard and Barbara Mazurkiewicz, vice chairs; Kellie Ulrich, community division chair; John and Suzanne Berger, corporate chairs; and Rick Cronin, parish chair.
Stressing the importance of donations to the Appeal, Bishop Malone spoke about the example set by this year's patron saint.
"St. Nicholas was a fourth century bishop born in an ancient Greek town off the coast of Turkey," Bishop Malone explained. "His wealthy parents died in an epidemic while Nicholas was young. Taking to heart the words of Jesus in Luke 18:22 to 'sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor,' Nicholas used his inheritance to assist the needy, the sick and the suffering. He became known throughout the land for his generosity and concern for others. His reputation for gift-giving became the model for Santa Claus.
"As we launch the 2016 Appeal, may we reflect on the life of St. Nicholas and seek to manifest our concern for others by considering a gift to this year's campaign, in particular during this, the Holy Year of Mercy. The compassionate, healing and life-changing support provided by Catholic Charities is truly the manifestation of mercy in our Church and throughout our diocese."
In Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, Catholic Charities provides a variety of services, including: basic assistance, counseling for individuals, children and families, Domestic Violence Offenders program, Our Kids: Parent Education and Awareness program, preventive services for children at risk of placement outside the home, and the Home Visitation program in Genesee and Orleans counties, as well as the Friendly Phones program in Orleans County.
Catholic Charities' services in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties are provided at 25 Liberty St., Suite 7 in Batavia, (585) 343-0614; 3 South Main St. in Albion, (585) 589-7477; 4 W. Buffalo St. in Warsaw, (585) 786-3440; and 417 W. Main St. in Arcade, (585) 492-0407.
Catholic Charities has helped individuals and families in need since its founding in 1923. The need is varied and widespread including emergency assistance, counseling and mental health services, specialized services for families and the elderly, and job training and education.
As the most comprehensive human service provider serving 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. It receives the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for transparency and sound fiscal management.
Catholic Charities also receives highest ratings from the Council on Accreditation for quality service.
To make a donation or learn more about Appeal 2016, 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.
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