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Sr. Mary McCarrick, OSF, former Catholic Charities diocesan director; Hero of Hope recipient Cindi McEachon, Peaceprints of WNY executive director; and Jeffrey Conrad, director of Catholic Charities Workforce and Development

About 40 parish volunteers, clergy, and Catholic Charities’ staff attended a volunteer training workshop on Jan. 29 to help kick off Appeal 2020 for Catholic Charities in Erie County.

The event was held at St. Leo the Great Church in Amherst in preparation for the annual campaign, which carries a goal of $10 million. The patron saint for Appeal 2020 is Saint Joseph. Working under the theme “Think of Me,” 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’ 51 programs and services across dozens of sites in Western New York, along with a number of programs and ministries through the Fund for the Faith.

“Funding is vital not only for Catholic Charities to continue its robust mission of serving those most in need in Western New York, but for the Fund for the Faith to provide its important ministries for parishioners in our diocese,” said Rick Cronin, chair of Appeal 2020. “This marks our 96th Appeal, and we know that we couldn’t have come this far without prayers, dedicated volunteers and generous donors. As we begin our climb to $10 million, we will once again rely on this combination, and will remain committed to ensuring that Catholic Charities is a beacon of hope for those in need in Erie County.”

During the workshop, a video message from the Most Reverend Edward Scharfenberger, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo was shared expressing his thanks and admiration for all that the Appeal volunteers are doing to make this year’s campaign a success.

A Hero of Hope Partner Award was also presented to Cindi McEachon, executive director, Peaceprints of WNY, who was selected for her leadership and collaborative efforts.

“Peaceprints of Western New York is the standard for reentry housing in our region and they continue to lead the conversation and offer innovative ways to serve those connected to the criminal justice system,” said Jeffrey Conrad, director of Catholic Charities Workforce and Education. “Catholic Charities is fortunate to call Peaceprints of WNY a partner through the CORE Program and we thank them in helping make our community a more inclusive place to live.”

Catholic Charities’ CORE (Creating Opportunities and Restoring Equity) Program is aimed toward assisting those who have been involved in the criminal justice system by offering temporary transitional employment to qualified candidates, along with job coaching and career development. It
is part of Project Blue in collaboration with Peaceprints of Western New York and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.

Catholic Charities provided assistance which impacted more than 160,000 individuals, Catholics and non-Catholics alike during the past year, including 108,774 individuals in Erie County. Donors from Erie County contributed $5,942,286 to the 2019 Appeal.

Wednesday’s workshop was one of two dates offered for training provided to Erie County volunteers; the second will be held Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 5:30 p.m. in Lackawanna.

Catholic Charities provides a wide range of services in Erie County. These services include: basic assistance and food pantries; counseling; Domestic Violence Program for Men; preventive services; Our Kids Parent Education and Awareness Program; chemical dependency outpatient services; workforce and education services; care coordination services; immigration and refugee assistance; school based services; and the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) nutrition program.

The Fund for the Faith has supported the spiritual needs of WNY Catholics since 1937 through Campus Ministry, Hospital and Nursing Home Ministry, Deaf Ministry, and Youth and Young Adult Ministry, among a number of other ministries.

Appeal Sunday will take place April 5 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 $10 million goal until the conclusion of Appeal 2020 on June 30.

To make a donation to Appeal 2020 or for more information contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to  Join us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.