Indivduals and families eat a hot meal at the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen of Catholic Charities at Guadalupe Social Services in Immokalee. (COURTESY)

Make a real difference!

VENICE  |  Where else can you help feed a hungry family, sponsor a child at summer camp, comfort a person with HIV/AIDS, or house a homeless mother and her child? This summer Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc. offers donors the opportunity to give directly to the causes they care about through the annual “Summertime and the Giving is Easy” Campaign.

The Campaign gets back to the basics by reminding the generous faithful about key areas where Catholic Charities assists people throughout the 10-county Diocese of Venice region. In the real world many people live without adequate food, shelter, education and support. Catholic Charities offers people in need in Southwest Florida with help that brings about real change in their lives.

Each year Catholic Charities serves more than 40,000 individuals and families through 35 programs. This is regardless of race, nationality or creed. In the most recent fiscal year where statistics are available (2017-2018), that number ballooned to 138,238 because of the impacts of Hurricane Irma. The lingering effects of the storm continue to put a strain on the resources of Catholic Charities throughout the region. A total of 93 cents of each dollar donated to Catholic Charities goes directly to programs and services which ranks the charity among the top in the country.

Philomena Pereira, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. says all donations, either great or small, will enable Catholic Charities to continue to help those most vulnerable in southwest Florida. 

“We often take for granted the necessities that are basic rights” Pereira said. “The annual Catholic Charities ‘Summertime and the Giving is Easy Campaign’ reminds us that many people in our communities of Southwest Florida do not have the essentials required to live a healthy life. Please consider a donation for those who lack food, shelter, education and support. You can make a real difference!”

The programs of Catholic Charities feed hungry individuals, families, veterans and seniors through several food pantries and nutritional programs. A donation of $2,500 provides hot meals for a week at the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen in Immokalee where more than 100 needy individuals and families are provided essential nutrition. Contributions of $250 help sustain five families utilizing a food pantry for a week at locations in Immokalee, Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota and Bradenton.

Outreach efforts offer comfort to victims, aid to lonely elders and relief to people who are struggling. Donations of $1,500 can assist a victim of human trafficking for a month, or $250 can help an individual with professional crisis counseling for four session.

With your support, Catholic Charities can continue to equip people who are without a home with a safe place to live along with guidance to achieve self-sufficiency. A contribution of $10,000 helps maintain five transitional houses for homeless families, while $500 houses a struggling mother and baby for a week. 

To help those who need the education necessary for academic success, your support can help provide essential life skills for adults, academic support and mentoring for students and quality early learning for preschoolers. Make a difference with a contribution of $2,000 to provide after-school tutoring for a student for a year, or $300 to offer enrichment activities for farmworker families for a week.

Summertime and the Giving is Easy is a chance to brighten the future for your neighbors who come to Catholic Charities for help. For those who haven’t given to Catholic Charities in the past, your gift will make a positive impact on our less fortunate brothers and sisters in Christ.