charity, Florida Catholic

Sarasota Charity Ball celebrates 30 years

Sarasota  |  Every year the programs of Catholic Charities of Manatee and Sarasota counties assist thousands of individuals and families — from the newborn to the elderly and everyone in between — through a variety of services. Without those programs, many would go without the basic necessities of living a dignified life.

For the past 30 years, one key way to support and bring attention to the programs is through the Catholic Charities Ball, which was held Jan. 26 at The Westin in Sarasota. The evening of elegance and excitement marking its 30th anniversary included more than 300 generous supporters.

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., CEO Philomena Pereira thanked everyone for attending the Gala, stating that in its 30 years the annual event has made a positive impact on the lives of many is ways both large and small. Pereira said the mission of Catholic Charities is a proven one — providing help, creating hope and serving all.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who was unable to attend due to travel to World Youth Day in Panama, sent his greetings and a message of gratitude for the continued support of the programs of Catholic Charities. The Bishop added the proceeds from the event “make a difference in the lives of so many people.”

The ball directly benefits programs in Sarasota and Manatee counties, including Our Mother’s House in Venice, St. Martha’s Early Learning Center and Bethesda House in Sarasota, Catholic Charities Family Haven in North Port, senior housing and services, housing counseling and foreclosure prevention, financial assistance, professional counseling, refugee services, and immigration services.

The co-chairs of the Sarasota Charity Ball were Mary Kanealy-Barbetta, Julie Delaney and Jane Norton, and the honorary chair was Maria DeSanto. Father Robert Dziedziak, Pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota, delivered the invocation.

The evening included a cocktail hour and a silent auction for wine and jewelry. A live auction included trips and other items and concluded with the important Giving from the Heart appeal. A highlight was the opportunity for dancing with music by the Soul Sensations.