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Guest Editorial by Deacon Steve Schumer
Over the past several months, the Western New York community has been reeling with losses and tragedies, each one reminding us how fragile life is. But in spite of, or because of, these adversities, signs of hope, strength and unity have continued to emerge rather quickly.
Consider the recent blizzard where we saw countless acts of selflessness and heroism by first responders, volunteers and just everyday folks who stepped up and helped – and even saved – their neighbors.
At Catholic Charities, we thrive on the hope we see every day. In a mother who escaped a violent situation for her and her children. In a young man who started a new life in America after fleeing Afghanistan. We see hope in people of all ages and of all faiths – from the support our foster grandparents give, to teens spreading awareness about the importance of good mental health. Hope is everywhere. It is at the root of what we do.
During and after these overwhelming events that have shaken our community, Catholic Charities has been here as a beacon of hope. Our counseling services, food pantries, and basic needs and housing assistance offer crucial support. We are here for the most vulnerable among us and for anyone in need. We are here for the community. We are here for you.
In fact, Catholic Charities has been a beacon of HOPE here for 100 years. In October 1923, Catholic Charities was born out of the Diocese of Buffalo from a collection of institutions serving the very young to the elderly. During its first year, Catholic Charities served about 12,500 people. Last year, Catholic Charities’ programs and services supported more than 134,000 individuals, families and children.
We are inspired by our centennial year, and recently launched this year’s annual Appeal, with a goal of $9.5 million. Support of the Appeal will help ensure critical programs and services administered by Catholic Charities and many diocesan ministries through the “Fund for the Faith” – so needed in our community – will continue to be available. The Appeal is always needed. Some years, like this one, it is particularly meaningful.
The annual Appeal has been an integral part of Catholic Charities’ century-long history. In the 98 years of the Appeal, close to half a billion dollars has been raised. That figure alone illustrates how vital the annual Appeal is.
When you donate, you play an essential role not only in the growth and success of Catholic Charities, but in the Western New York community at large. Your gift provides more than just a meal for a family, or the stability of a home for someone in need. It provides hope.
Donations to Appeal 2023 can be made at ccwny.org/donate through June 30. Thank you for your continued support.
Deacon Steve Schumer is president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Buffalo.