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Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming County Volunteers Gather to Kick Off 2010 Appeal for Catholic Charities

By Kevin Manne

About 70 parish workers, clergy and volunteers from Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties took part in a luncheon and volunteer training workshop Saturday at Bohn’s Restaurant & Lounge in Batavia. The annual event was held in preparation for the 2010 Appeal for Catholic Charities, which carries a goal of $10.5 million.

Fund-raising events and activities for the annual campaign are already under way. One week in particular – Appeal Week which will take place March 21 through March 28 – is vital to the overall campaign as parishes across Western New York will celebrate those parishioners who have already donated, and encourage those who have not yet donated to consider what they can do. The theme for Appeal 2010 is “Whoever. Whenever. Wherever.” capturing the very essence of the organization’s mission - to serve anyone in need throughout our eight-county region, empowering individuals, children and families to achieve and maintain meaningful, healthy and productive lives.

Catholic Charities serves tens of thousands of people across the eight counties of Western New York each year. Catholic Charities helped more than 3,200 people from Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming counties alone in 2009; through such programs as emergency assistance and advocacy, Our Kids: Parent Education and Awareness Program, Domestic Violence Program for Men, the School Intervention Service program in LeRoy schools, and ProjecTruth.

Bishop Kmiec recognized that the Appeal goal of $10.5 million is an aggressive one, but he reminded attendees at today’s workshop how essential this year’s Appeal is to the Western New Yorkers in need, who depend on Catholic Charities each day.

“Our goal is 10.5 million dollars, down slightly from a year ago, reflecting the challenges we face raising funds in the current Western New York economy while also taking into consideration the ongoing, and great necessity for the programs and services we offer,” he said.

Offices in Batavia, Warsaw, Albion and Arcade provide individual, couples and family counseling, as well as assessment, evaluation, assistance or referral to Catholic Charities or other community programs as appropriate.

The agency also offers other specialized programs in the area, including Our Kids: Parenting Education and Awareness Program for separated, divorced or never married couples experiencing conflict raising their children, and a Domestic Violence Offenders Program, a court-mandated program that holds offenders accountable and works for change to end domestic violence.

Those in attendance heard from a counseling client* who shared her story about how she found herself at Catholic Charities in Batavia after fleeing a domestic violence situation at home.

“I had tried in the past to reach out for help – and when I didn’t find it, I felt trapped,” she said. “So I left home, and found myself living in a safe home that helped me meet my immediate needs. From there, I was referred to Catholic Charities. My counselor Tammy helped me to get back into my career and into a situation at home that is healthy for me and for my children. Catholic Charities is my lifeline for support.”

Also in attendance at the event were Sister Mary McCarrick, interim diocesan director of Catholic Charities; 2010 Appeal Chair Michael “Mick” Whipple; members of the Appeal leadership team; Paul Battaglia, CPA, member of Catholic Charities Board of Trustees, who served as emcee for the luncheon., as well as community volunteers, clergy and lay leaders from the 19 parishes in Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming counties.

Sister McCarrick said, “Catholic Charities is always there for whoever is in need of help …infants, children, the evicted adult and single parent, low-income families; wherever help is needed –– we are in every city in Western New York, and whenever help is needed – in a troubled marriage, with parenting skills or in a basic needs crisis.”

Appeal Chair Mick Whipple recognized and thanked the volunteers in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties who have once again pledged their time and commitment to the Appeal.

He went on to tout the efficiency of Catholic Charities and how each donation will help.

“Catholic Charities is an excellent steward of donations – fund-raising costs are very low, at about seven percent, administrative costs are just 11 percent,” said Whipple. “Share the story you heard today – the success story – with people you come across so they know that when they donate to this organization, change happens.”

Catholic Charities is the most comprehensive direct human service provider serving all eight counties of Western New York, with 70 programs and 61 locations. Founded in 1923, Catholic Charities also provides, without regard to religious affiliation, comprehensive counseling services for children and families, anti-domestic violence programming and emergency services, among other social and mental health services.

The goal for the 2010 Appeal is $10.5 million and is under the patronage of Saint Damien.

For more information on the 2010 Appeal or to make a donation, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to

*Client wished to remain anonymous.

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