by Kaitlin Jackson
About 85 parish volunteers, clergy, and Catholic Charities’ Appeal leadership team and staff attended a volunteer training workshop on Feb. 9 to help kick off the 2019 Appeal in support of Catholic Charities in Erie County.
The event was held at Catholic Charities’ Montante Administrative Center in Buffalo 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 Erie 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 Erie County can continue to turn to Catholic Charities for help.”
During the workshop, a Hero of Hope Partner Award was presented to SNUG Violence Prevention Imitative for its efforts in preventing gun violence and gang activity in Buffalo. Pastor James Giles, SNUG administrator and Catholic Charities Board of Trustees member, accepted the award on behalf of SNUG.
Jeffrey Conrad, Workforce and Education Services director for Catholic Charities, said, “SNUG Buffalo is a great asset to our community that helps prevent young adults from engaging in activities that will be detrimental to their future. I am thankful for our partnership. With the close proximity of our offices, SNUG has been a great resource and has helped identify candidates for our program. Our community is richer for their work.”
In addition, Jamie Bin-huguley shared how Catholic Charities’ Workforce and Education services are benefiting him as he undergoes high school equivalency preparation.
Catholic Charities provided assistance which impacted more than 152,000 individuals, Catholics and non-Catholics alike during the past year, including more than 107,600 individuals in Erie County. Donors from Erie County contributed $7 million to the 2018 Appeal.
Saturday’s workshop was one of two dates offered for the training provided to Erie County volunteers; the second will be held Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 5:30 p.m. in Orchard Park.
A wide range of services are provided in Erie County, including family and parent education and resources, older adult services, food pantries, counseling and comprehensive behavioral health services, immigration and refugee assistance, the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) nutrition program, and workforce and education services.
Catholic Charities operates out of 32 offices in Erie County, with locations in the City of Buffalo, Amherst, Cheektowaga, Getzville, Hamburg, Kenmore, and Lackawanna.
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.