Appeal Sunday, a decades-long Palm Sunday tradition, would have played out in parishes across the Diocese of Buffalo this weekend. Volunteers would greet Mass attendees at the church vestibule or ensure they were encouraged by their Pastor to put their envelopes in the basket as it was passed. Although none of that will happen because of the coronavirus pandemic, Catholic Charities of Buffalo today provided its first update on Appeal 2020.
To date, $3,759,332.70 has been raised, which represents nearly 38% of this year’s $10 million goal. While the amount raised to date lags a bit behind figures from the 2019 Appeal, leaders are expressing much gratitude.
“While we all would appreciate nothing more than to join together for Palm Sunday Mass and greet our Appeal volunteers afterward at our office as we normally do, that is not the reality we have today,” said Rick Cronin, chair of Appeal 2020, “The reality of Catholic Charities today is to continue to help the people of Western New York in the most essential ways possible, and at the same time express our deep gratitude to those who have already contributed to the Appeal.”
Deacon Steve Schumer, Catholic Charities president and CEO, said, “Your gifts have taken on new meaning as we continue to see an increase in demand for vital community services during this unprecedented time. Our strength is our mission and we remain clearly focused and motivated on those who may have bigger worries than we do. We are all in this together for the good of our community both now and into the future.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Catholic Charities is operating every service it safely can, including basic emergency assistance, and counseling, mental health and substance abuse services. Staff also continues to check in with clients of services that cannot operate at this time. In addition, FeedMore WNY has designated eight of Catholic Charities’ food pantries as emergency food distribution locations to provide relief to anyone in need, regardless of their area of residence. In the past three weeks alone, Catholic Charities has served more than 9,400 individuals and families in need and provided nearly $9,000 in direct basic assistance.
The annual Appeal helps fund 51 programs and services administered by Catholic Charities across dozens of sites in the eight counties of Western New York, along with a number of ministries that benefit all parishes through the Fund for the Faith. Programs and services provided by Catholic Charities benefited more than 160,000 people in 2019.
The theme of Appeal 2020 is Think of Me and the Appeal is under the patronage of Saint Joseph.
In-person donations cannot be accepted at this time, but can be made online at ccwny.org/donation or mailed to 741 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14209, Attn: Appeal Department. Appeal 2020 runs through June 30.