Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities was the recipient of three generous donations recently. The St. Agnes Knights of Columbus in Naples (photo) presented the program with a contribution of $2,000. The Niners Ladies Golf Association at Heritage Bay in Naples also gifted a check for $1,000. And, the Foundation for the Care of the Migrant Poor of the Diocese of Venice granted $15,000 to Guadalupe Social Services. (COURTESY))

Catholic Charities benefits from generous donors

Venice  |  The programs of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. make a huge impact on the community and some of the regional efforts target specific areas of need.

Catholic Charities is so well regard that a number of donations have been directed to programs throughout the region helping people of all ages.

For example, U.S. Sugar donated food to three Catholic Charities locations for needy families to enjoy on Easter. The company delivered approximately 480 pounds of fresh meat, 230 pounds of green beans and 470 pounds of sweet corn to the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities in Naples, the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen at Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities in Immokalee, and the Elizabeth Kay Galeana Center of Catholic Charities in Fort Myers.

In Fort Myers, the AFCAAM of Catholic Charities after-school reading program and youth mentoring programs organized by AFCAAM of Catholic Charities were fortunate to have many supporters that help the center. Several AFCAAM Angels have provided assistance to the programs that serve at-risk students in the community. The Creech family donated $19,600 to refurbish the AFCAAM computer lab. Throughout the school year, both the elementary students in the after-school reading program and the middle and high school students in the youth mentoring program use the computer lab. In addition, representatives from the local FOX News television station and the Scripps Howard Foundation visited the after-school reading program and donated 100 books to the elementary students.

The Order of Malta collected personal care items and filled 22 backpacks for the clients of the Catholic Charities Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program. The group provides the backpacks for the program both in the spring and fall. The program has a long-standing commitment to the plight of those trafficked in Southwest Florida by providing intensive case management and mental health counseling to all individuals who are the victims of the crime as they attempt to integrate into society after being rescued. The program provides and coordinates an expansive array of services for survivors, spanning from basic human needs to legal representation. 

Guadalupe Social Services in Immokalee was also the beneficiary of three generous donations recently. The St. Agnes Parish Knights of Columbus in Naples presented the program with a contribution of $2,000 and the Niners Ladies Golf Association at Heritage Bay in Naples also gifted $1,000.

The Foundation for the Care of the Migrant Poor of the Diocese of Venice also granted $15,000 to Guadalupe Social Services. The foundation thanked the program for the great work they do for the poor of the Diocese. The Catholic Charities office has served the rural community of Immokalee for more than 35 years. The program aims to alleviate the suffering in Immokalee with compassion, integrity and empathy. By empowering people through assistance provided to them, the main goals are to ensure human dignity and enhance the quality of life with basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, and household items, along with stability and education.

Volunteers and friends of Bethesda House of Catholic Charities spent an evening sipping wine and shopping for clothes to benefit the program. Scout and Molly’s, a local boutique with designer brands for women, hosted the event providing the guests with beverages and snacks while they looked for merchandise to their liking. The store gave back 10% of the sales to Bethesda House. The program is a drop-in community center that provides compassionate support services for people living with HIV/AIDS. Services focus on dietary and nutritional needs and other support services such as a clothing closet, laundry and shower facilities, along with support groups, individual and family counseling, case management, transportation assistance, job referral and linking to medical services.  

The League Club of Naples awarded the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities a 2019 grant for $10,000 from their Community Trust Fund to help fund the Community Outreach Program. League Club President Charlene Barnette presented a check to Catholic Charities Program Director Allegra Belliard. “The Family Outreach Program will distribute food and baby items to under-served neighborhoods in Naples,” Belliard explained. “These are low-income families that do not have access to our services. We will deliver these items every month to hundreds of needy individuals. Our goal is to ensure that no one goes hungry because of their inability to purchase food or come to our food pantry.”

Each of these donations from private sources shows of strong confidence in Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. and stems from the long-standing ability of the program to help more than 42,000 families and individuals each year with a variety of services which are designed, not only help to in a time of crisis, but to offer hope for a brighter future. 

Charity Navigator, a leading evaluator of non-profits, consistently rates Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. among its top-rated organizations, giving its highest rating for sound fiscal management a total of 16 times. Catholic Charities is also regularly reaccredited by the Council on Accreditation. The Council gives Catholic Charities top marks and noted the social service organization is a provider which meets high performance standards and has a commitment to stakeholders to deliver the best quality services.

In addition, a total of 93 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.

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