Needy people in Immokalee eat at the Catholic Charities Casa Maria Soup Kitchen of Guadalupe Social Services in Immokalee. (COURTESY)

‘Providing Help, Creating Hope, Serving All’

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 18th annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal, which continues through January. This year’s ambitious goal is to raise $565,000. 

The Christmas Appeal is the largest annual fundraiser for the social service organization which operates by the motto: “Providing Help, Creating Hope, Serving All.” The appeal is critical for the continuing operations of the 37 different programs available in more than 32 locations throughout the 10-county Diocese. These programs annually support some 90,000 individuals and families in ways both large and small.

For example, the Christmas Appeal will support a survivor of human trafficking on a journey back to a normal life. One example is that of a woman who finally escaped her traffickers after enduring abuse and perpetual fear. She received vital services from Catholic Charities such as intensive case-management, service coordination, assistance with housing, advocacy and liaison with law enforcement and immigration agencies. 

Often Catholic Charities clients are in a panic because they do not know where to go for relief. The urgency of their situation requires immediate attention. Catholic Charities dispenses critical mental health counseling to people suffering from anxiety, stress, trauma or depression. One man was frantic and upset when he was laid off from his job and sought counseling. After several weeks of therapy sessions, he felt more in control of his emotions and actions enabling him to be there for his family. 

Catholic Charities consistently has received the top four-star rating from Charity Navigator. Supporters can trust and have confidence in the sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency as reflected in that 92 cents of every dollar donated will go directly to clients.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane noted that the 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. Please remember that every number represents a child, family or individual who relied on the support of Catholic Charities to get through a crisis. Catholic Charities does a wonderful job in providing programs that not only help in a crisis but assist in improving daily the lives of those they reach.”

“You do not have to know firsthand what it feels like to be in a dire circumstance to understand the importance of responding to individuals in need,” said Catholic Charities CEO Philomena Pereira. “A gift to our Christmas Appeal can give those facing difficulties the love and courage to heal. Please consider a contribution this year so we can continue administering quality programs.”

Bishop Dewane said Pope Francis often reminds the faithful that they 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,” Bishop 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.”

Catholic Charities helps people in crisis to overcome their hardships and live a healthy life. A contribution to the 18th Annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal will give those in distress the means to move beyond their struggles and enrich our communities. 

Your gift can offer a weary homeless family transitional housing and resources to become independent or give a lonely and isolated senior companionship and care. A contribution can also feed desperate individuals experiencing hunger and food insecurity as well as teach at-risk adolescents the skills to make good decisions. We are asking on their behalf for you to be as generous as you can.

“No matter the amount of your gift, when leveraged with others, it will make a meaningful difference for those who turn to us for aid,” Pereira added.

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