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Catholic Charities holds volunteer workshop in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

Press Release:

Nearly 60 parish and leadership volunteers, clergy and staff of Catholic Charities gathered today for a volunteer training workshop and luncheon to start the 2011 Appeal for Catholic Charities in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The event was held at Bohn’s Restaurant in Batavia in preparation for the Appeal, which carries a goal of $10.5 million this year.

The theme of the 87th annual campaign is again, “Whoever. Wherever. Whenever.” because Catholic Charities is always there, providing help for people of all faiths and walks of life when they need it most. Appeal Week 2011, celebrating those who already have donated and encouraging others to do so, will take place April 10-17, though the Appeal will continue through the end of the fiscal year (June 30).

At the luncheon, Bishop Kmiec remarked on the number of people assisted by Catholic Charities in the area and the importance of the Appeal to that assistance, especially in light of the continued challenges of the local economy.

“Last year, Catholic Charities helped just over 5,000 people in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties through its programs and services,” said Bishop Kmiec. “This far-reaching and vitally important support relies on the funds raised during the Appeal. We have already seen a loss of government funding for our programs and services at the federal, state and county levels, and expect more of the same in 2011.”

He added, “Despite the challenges we face, I am inspired by the incredible commitment of the Appeal leadership team, our volunteers in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties and our many supporters. I have found in our diocese a marvelous and extraordinary spirit of giving and service to others.”

The Bishop also talked about this year’s goal and Appeal patron.

“Our goal this year is $10.5 million, the same as last year,” he said. “Even though we fell a little short in 2010, I have confidence that we will meet or exceed this year’s goal and bring our Appeal to a successful conclusion.”

“The 2011 Appeal is under the patronage of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, a woman of our own era who gave herself to the needs of the poor, sick and disadvantaged because she so clearly saw in them the image of God. Like Blessed Teresa, we ask God for the strength and courage to reach out to the people of Western New York again this year, praying that they will continue to act as a community of hope to all in need in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties and throughout the diocese.”

Bishop Kmiec was joined by Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, Catholic Charities diocesan director; Greg Maher, chair of the 2011 Appeal; members of the Appeal leadership team; and community volunteers, clergy and lay leaders from 13 parishes in the three counties.

Sister Mary McCarrick thanked the volunteers for their dedicated efforts.

“I am so grateful for all of your hard work each year that enables Catholic Charities to carry out our mission of help and hope to people here in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties and across the Diocese. Your efforts make all the difference in keeping the Appeal and its importance at the forefront of the minds of your friends and fellow parishioners – thank you!”

Appeal Chair Greg Maher praised the immense generosity of Western New Yorkers through the last few years of tough economic conditions. He also stressed the importance of both individual and corporate donations to the Appeal, citing that one in 10 Western New Yorkers receives assistance from Catholic Charities.

“Last year charitable donations nationwide were down 10 percent. At Catholic Charities of Buffalo we missed the 2009 mark by only one-half of one percent,” said Maher. “As another show of support by the community of good neighbors, corporate donations last year actually increased by more than two percent.”

“This year we again appeal to both individuals and our strong corporate base to continue their support of Catholic Charities and help spread the word about what Catholic Charities offers nearly 160,000 Western New Yorkers each year,” he continued.

Other members of the leadership team include David Nasca, vice chair; Stephen Ulrich, parish and large gifts chair, and Anthony Delmonte, corporate gifts chair.

In Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, Catholic Charities provides these services through its Batavia, Albion, Warsaw and Arcade offices: Domestic Violence Offenders Program, Home Visitation Program, Interfaith Caregivers of Eastern Wyoming County, Our Kids: Parent Education Groups and Preventive Services.

The Batavia office is located at 25 Liberty St., Suite 7; the Albion office at 243 South Main St.; the Warsaw office at 4 West Buffalo St., and the Arcade office is at 417 West Main St.

The Home Visitation Program is a recent addition to the Department of Clinical and Aging Services, offering weekly visits to homebound Genesee County seniors 60 years of age and older to provide socialization, companionship and assistance. There is no fee for the service, which can include non-medical assistance, light housekeeping, errands and crafts. For more information about the Home Visitation Program, call the Batavia office at 585-343-0614.

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 2011 Appeal is under the patronage of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. For more information on the 2011 Appeal or to make a donation, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to

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