Volunteers assists clients of the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities in Naples as they select items from the "Choice" Food Pantry in early July.

Christmas Appeal seeks needed funds

Venice | Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. is best known as a highly rated social service agency that assists thousands of people in the community each year. But Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice is so much more. Behind the many statistics are the real people who are helped each year.

“The voices of our clients tell the most genuine story of how your gift to the annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal helped them bring about real change in their lives” Catholic Charities CEO Philomena Pereira said in a letter for the appeal. “Catholic Charities works with individuals and families, who face the challenges of poverty and instability, to reach the goal of self-sufficiency.”

The Christmas Appeal is the largest fundraiser for Catholic Charities and is vital for operating the social service organization. Each donation will help real individuals and families who are assisted through any one of the 37 different programs available in more than 30 locations throughout the Diocese. The appeal’s goal is $565,000.

Jose, a client at the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities in Naples, is very grateful for Catholic Charities. During a recent visit he was greeted by a wonderful caseworker with the most compassionate smile.

“I started crying when she asked me if I was OK and I saw that her eyes also got watery,” Jose said. “I felt that I was in the right place to get help. I told her that I was homeless and had recently lost my job, car and home. As she helped me with things to eat from the food pantry, she asked me questions about my situation and looked for other ways to help. The emotional support I received … I have not received in a long time. From a slice of pizza for lunch, to restaurant coupons, a week stay at a hotel, and a bicycle, I do not have the words to describe the generosity, love and care that Catholic Charities gave to me. Thank you so much.”

A gift to the Christmas Appeal answers the prayers of clients. Caring for those who are less fortunate not only requires the necessities of food, clothing and shelter, but an array of professional programs and services to meet all their needs. Contributions of any amount are welcome and will help provide beneficial opportunities for deserving individuals and families. Each year, Catholic Charities provides assistance to more than 42,000 individuals and families.

“Please remember that every number represents a child, family or individual who relied on the support of Catholic Charities to get through a crisis,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said. “Your gift to this year’s Christmas Appeal will allow Catholic Charities to continue the important work of helping the most vulnerable in our community. To all who have sustained the worthwhile work that has allowed Catholic Charities to serve those in need, I am deeply grateful.”

Sue is a client of Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities in Venice which provides a transitional housing program for mothers with young children. Sue noted that Our Mother’s House has been the greatest gift that a single mother could ask for.

“This place is truly a blessing from God,” Sue continued. “Not only did they give me and my baby a place to live, but they provided the education I needed to become independent. Words cannot express the gratitude that I have for the opportunity to grow as a woman and a mother. The parenting classes have given me the skills to be a better mom to my son. The financial classes have given me the skills that I need to budget and sustain goals. This has been one of the best experiences in my life. I do not know where we would be without this program. God put this program in our path at the best time. The staff was very supportive and motivated me in all the right ways to fight for a successful life.”

Catholic Charities is often the voice for those who have no voice, Pereira said. “We continue to be good stewards of your contributions, with sound fiscal management and a commitment to accountability and transparency. We always put the needs of our clients first.”

Catholic Charities has received the top four-star rating 16 times from Charity Navigator. A total of 94 cents of every dollar donated to Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. goes directly to services for people in need. Catholic Charities serves and empowers all regardless of race, nationality or creed.

Contributions can be made by visiting www.catholiccharitiesdov.org. Visitors can send a donation in memory of a loved one or in honor of a family member or friend. Catholic Charities will send a Christmas card telling the special person of your generous gift. Donations by mail can be sent to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc., 5824 Bee Ridge Road, PMB #409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065. For more information, call 941-488-5581.

ADVERTISEMENT