by Nancy Steves
Chautauqua County Appeal Workshop featured from left, client speaker Tiffany Erhard, center, volunteers from seven parishes, and Catholic Charities CEO Dennis Walczyk with 2019 Hero of Hope recipient, Kathy Hopkins of Agri-business child Development and Bishop Richard J. Malone.
About 40 parish volunteers, clergy, and Catholic Charities’ Appeal leadership team and staff attended a volunteer training workshop Thursday evening to help kick off the 2019 Appeal in support of Catholic Charities in Chautauqua County.
The event held at Northern Chautauqua Catholic School was hosted by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk in preparation for the annual campaign, which carries a goal of $11 million. The patron saint for the 2019 Appeal is Saint Faustina. Working under the theme “Help your neighbor find hope,” Appeal volunteers from Chautauqua County will begin reaching out to individuals and businesses in the community to encourage their support of the Appeal, which helps fund Catholic Charities’ 70 programs and services across 61 sites in Western New York, along with a number of programs and ministries through the Fund for the Faith.
“Funding is critically important in Catholic Charities’ efforts to continue providing programs and services to our most vulnerable neighbors across Western New York,” said John and Ruthanne Daly, 2019 Appeal general chairs. “Achieving this year’s goal takes a significant amount of hard work and commitment by our parish volunteers, but with our collective strength and support we can ensure that the communities of Chautauqua County can continue to turn to Catholic Charities for help.”
During the workshop, a Hero of Hope Partner Award was presented to Kathy Hopkins, director of Agri-business Child Development (ABCD) in Fredonia. The ABCD, a non-profit that provides early childhood education and social services to farm workers and other eligible families, was selected for its dedication in enriching the lives of some of the community’s youngest members.
Maria Perez-Cruz, Chautauqua County director for Catholic Charities, said, “I think their contribution to the community, especially to our Spanish-speaking neighbors, is a tremendous asset. We are grateful for their commitment to the children and families in our region, and Catholic Charities is proud to work with them in a collaborative capacity offering mental health consultation to the Center.”
In addition, client Tiffany Erhard shared how the counseling she receives through Catholic Charities’ Family and Community Services Department has greatly improved her life and relationship with her husband by helping her manage her stress, thereby decreasing the amount of anxiety and frequency of panic attacks.
Catholic Charities provided assistance which impacted more than 152,000 individuals, Catholics and non-Catholics alike during the past year, including nearly 14,000 individuals in Chautauqua County. Donors from Chautauqua County contributed $301,249 to the 2018 Appeal.
Catholic Charities provides a range of services in Dunkirk at 425 Main St. and in Jamestown at 560 West 3rd St., Westgate Plaza, Suite 15. These services include basic assistance; counseling for individuals, couples and families; Domestic Violence Offenders program; and Our Kids: Parent Education and Awareness Program, and Southern Chautauqua County Outreach. Catholic Charities is also the provider of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) federal nutrition program in Chautauqua County, and operates out of five sites including 326 Central Ave., Dunkirk; 200 Harrison St., Jamestown; 58 South Portage St., Westfield; 35 Park Place, Silver Creek; and 113 Church St., Sherman.
This year’s Appeal Week will take place April 7-14 throughout the eight counties of Western New York to celebrate the support of those who have made contributions to the Appeal, and to encourage those who have not already donated to do so. Volunteers will continue to work to achieve the final goal until the conclusion of the 2019 Appeal on June 30.