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Members of the Catholic Charities team. (Submitted photo)
Members of the Catholic Charities team. (Submitted photo)

Catholic Charities launches 100th annual Appeal


Mon, Jan 29th 2024 12:10 pm

Guest Editorial by Deacon Steve Schumer

Last year, Catholic Charities of Buffalo celebrated 100 years of serving the Western New York community. This year also marks something equally special – our 100th annual Appeal. The backbone of stability for our organization, the annual Appeal has allowed us to continue our mission of providing “HOPE” for all seasons for the last century.

Almost half a billion dollars has been raised throughout the past 99 Appeals to help millions of people across eight counties, further demonstrating the impact that the annual Appeal has on our community. We are so very proud of – and yet humbled by – this legacy.

The very first Appeal in 1924 served about 12,500 people. Today, Catholic Charities supports more than 145,000 individuals and families of all ages and of all faiths, illustrating the continued need for these critical programs and services.

While we live in a dynamic and vibrant community, our community also experiences significant poverty and increasing needs for the most vulnerable among us. This is not just the homeless and underprivileged, but includes the working poor and even children. The need today is very real and Catholic Charities is, as it has been for the last century, here to meet the challenge.

The annual Appeal helps fund more than 50 programs and services administered by Catholic Charities along with several ministries through the “Fund for the Faith.” As the most comprehensive human services provider serving all of WNY, our services include basic emergency assistance for nearly 25,000 people; food and nutrition for nearly 100,000 individuals and families who might otherwise go hungry; behavioral health services for more than 8,000; education and workforce training to more than 1,000; safety and stabilization services for more than 4,000 people; support to more than 1,000 fleeing violence; oppression and poverty, in-school counseling services for more than 6,000 children; and support for more than 1,100 frail elderly. And these were over the past year alone.

Everything we do starts with “HOPE.” We know that the success of the Appeal has always depended on the continued generosity of those who are able to and who choose to give. We also know that this support directly translates into “HOPE” for those struggling with life’s challenges. We see it every day on the faces of too many of our neighbors. Thanks to ongoing support of the annual Appeal, “HOPE” can be restored when success doesn’t seem possible.

As you can see, when you donate, you play a vital role in helping your neighbors. Your gift is providing more than just a hot meal for a family, or counseling for someone who is troubled. It gives them “HOPE.”

Appeal 2024, with a need of $9.5 million, runs through June 30.

Deacon Steve Schumer is president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Buffalo.

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