Annual Christmas Appeal: A gift that keeps on giving

Venice  |  When instability, injustice or poverty exists, Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. is often the first to address concerns found in underserved communities. Catholic Charities strives to respond and be a part of the solution through collaboration and partnership within the community that is essential for the common good and brings dignity to people in need.

Now is the time to ensure that the needy in the Diocese of Venice get the help they require by supporting the 15th annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal, which continues through January. This year’s ambitious goal is to raise $550,000.

The Christmas Appeal is the largest annual fundraiser for the social service organization that operates by the motto: “Providing Help, Creating Hope, Serving All.” The appeal is critical for the continuing operations of the programs and services which are made available throughout Southwest Florida in each of the 10 counties of the Diocese of Venice. These programs annually support more than 40,000 individuals and families.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane said support of Catholic Charities by the faithful of Southwest Florida is inspiring and critical to ensure “our brothers and sisters in Christ continue to receive the help and support they need and deserve. Catholic Charities does a wonderful job in providing programs that not only help in crisis, but assist in improving daily the lives of those they reach.”

Bishop Dewane noted Pope Francis tells us that we must find the image and likeness of Christ in others and lend support to those in need. “These brothers and sisters, our neighbors, need our help. The Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal is a great opportunity for everyone to make a difference. May God bless you for seeing those in need, loving them and for your continued generosity.”

Catholic Charities CEO Peter Routsis-Arroyo added, “Your continued faith, loyalty and generosity will give us the resources to provide food, shelter, crisis intervention, and life-enriching social service programs. On behalf of our clients, we are inviting you to reach out with a charitable spirit.”

Catholic Charities is there for everyone — newborns to the elderly, homeless to the near homeless. The dedicated staff and volunteers work with individuals and families who face challenges of poverty and instability, to reach the goal of self-sufficiency with dignity. Ministering to the less fortunate not only requires the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter, but also an array of professional services to help rebuild lives. Catholic Charities staff is trained to provide cohesive assistance based on the total needs of the client. A gift to the Christmas Appeal will ensure that those who come to Catholic Charities can improve their lives and obtain a more desirable future.

A gift to the Christmas Appeal can do great things, as evidenced by personal cases. The Newhart family entered the Catholic Charities Family Haven emergency homeless shelter with nowhere else to turn. During their stay, they worked with a caseworker on a comprehensive, long-term plan to solve their housing and economic issues. The family moved to Catholic Charities transitional housing that allowed them to work and save money before moving into permanent housing.

Catholic Charities provided the payments for their first and last month’s rent, security deposit and utility bills. The family continues regular visits with their caseworker to acquire financial literacy and budget management skills. The Newhart family remains self-reliant. Catholic Charities will stand by them until they are on solid ground.

A gift to the Christmas Appeal will allow Catholic Charities to answer the call for help throughout the 10 counties of the Diocese of Venice in Southwest Florida. A donation will provide the resources to ensure someone is there to serve those who are vulnerable, and will go directly to support the 40 programs that assist more than 42,000 individuals and families each year. Please consider a contribution this year to enable Catholic Charities to carry on its mission and meet community problems with action. A total of 94 cents of every dollar donated will go directly to the needy.

Catholic Charities helps all in need regardless of race, nationality or creed. During the years of the Christmas Appeal, Catholic Charities has been a good steward of contributions. Charity Navigator, the largest independent evaluator of charities, awarded Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. the highest 4-star rating 14 times out of the last 16 years for sound fiscal management practices and a commitment to accountability and transparency.

Routsis-Arroyo added his profound thanks to everyone who continues to support Catholic Charities and in their confidence that the money donated goes directly to those who need it the most. Donations, no matter the amount, when leveraged with others, make a meaningful difference for those who turn to Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice for aid.

To visit any Catholic Charities locations or find answers to questions, contact Development Assistant Nikki Cole at 941-355-4680, ext. 301. To donate, visit; or write to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc., ATTN: Christmas Appeal, 5824 Bee Ridge Road, PMB 409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065.