About 60 parish volunteers, clergy, and Catholic Charities’ Appeal leadership team and staff attended a volunteer training workshop on Feb. 20 to help kick off the 2019 Appeal in support of Catholic Charities in Erie County. The event was held at Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Orchard Park in preparation for the annual campaign, which carries a goal of $11 million.
The patron saint for the 2019 Appeal is Saint Faustina. Working under the theme “Help your neighbor find hope,” Appeal volunteers from Erie County will begin reaching out to individuals and businesses in the community to encourage their support of the Appeal, which helps fund Catholic Charities’ 70 programs and services across 61 sites in Western New York, along with a number of programs and ministries through the Fund for the Faith.
“Funding is critically important in Catholic Charities’ efforts to continue providing programs and services to our most vulnerable neighbors across Western New York,” said John and Ruthanne Daly, 2019 Appeal general chairs. “Achieving this year’s goal takes a significant amount of hard work and commitment by our parish volunteers, but with our collective strength and support, we can ensure that the communities of Erie County can continue to turn to Catholic Charities for help.”
During the workshop, a Hero of Hope Partner Award was presented to Sam’s Club for its generosity in providing significant in-kind support to Catholic Charities in the form of food donations to our eight pantries in Erie, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. Nancy Michalski, Sam’s Club Membership/Marketing Team Lead and Community Involvement Coordinator, accepted the award on behalf of Sam’s Club.
Eileen Nowak, Catholic Charities Parish Outreach and Advocacy Department director, said, “The extraordinary receipt of more than 500,000 pounds of food product since late 2016 from Sam’s Club through its Retail Partnership Program has filled thousands of clients’ refrigerators and cupboards. We are very grateful for this partnership, which was started through the efforts of the Food Bank of WNY, and for the people at Sam’s Club who work daily to make it happen.”
“To the delight of our clients, they have experienced products that are not typically available in our food pantries – specialty meats, fresh produce, salads, sweets and such a variety of foods, as well as donated gifts,” Nowak added.
In addition, Jared Conner shared how Catholic Charities has made an impact on his life. Conner first came to Catholic Charities as a volunteer to help in the food pantries and at Ladies of Charity, but later became a temporary seasonal employee in the Parish Outreach and Advocacy Department before ultimately joining Catholic Charities as a full-time member of its Maintenance staff.
Catholic Charities provided assistance which impacted more than 152,000 individuals, Catholics and non-Catholics alike during the past year, including more than 107,600 individuals in Erie County. Donors from Erie County contributed $7 million to the 2018 Appeal.
A wide range of services are provided in Erie County, including basic emergency assistance, care coordination services, counseling and comprehensive behavioral health services including chemical dependency treatment, domestic violence and survivor services, family and parent education and preventive programs, older adult services, food pantries, immigration and refugee assistance, school based services, the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) nutrition program, and workforce and education services.
Catholic Charities operates out of 32 offices in Erie County, with locations in the City of Buffalo, Amherst, Cheektowaga, Getzville, Hamburg, Kenmore, and Lackawanna.
This year’s Appeal Week will take place April 7–14 throughout the eight counties of Western New York to celebrate the support of those who have made contributions to the Appeal, and to encourage those who have not already donated to do so. Volunteers will continue to work to achieve the final goal until the conclusion of the 2019 Appeal on June 30.