BUFFALO - The Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, today announced a $10.8 million goal for the 2014 Appeal in support of Catholic Charities of Buffalo. Bishop Malone made the announcement at the Catholic Charities Kenmore-Tonawanda office, the recently renovated facility on Delaware Ave. in Kenmore.
The 90th annual campaign launched with a $100,000 increase over last year's goal, which the organization achieved. Bishop Malone named St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) the patron of the 2014 Appeal.
Working under the theme "Heart at work," more than 750 Appeal volunteers will begin reaching out to individuals and businesses in the Western New York (WNY) community to encourage their support of 70 different programs offered by Catholic Charities in eight counties in Western New York.
Michael and Maureen Pratt, chairpersons of this year’s Catholic Charities Appeal, speak at this year’s launch of the campaign as Bishop Malone listens.
"This year's theme articulates how Catholic Charities works hard every day to help families and people who have nowhere else to turn," said Bishop Malone. "The need for our services is great, but so are the hundreds of skilled professionals who are 'heart at work' serving our neighbors in Jesus' name. Great also are the hearts of our donors, whose generous gifts help us provide the vital services that make a measurable impact on people of all ages."
Appeal Week 2014, April 6 through April 13, will celebrate the support of those who have contributed and encourage those who have not to make a donation. Volunteers will be working to achieve the final goal throughout the coming months, and if necessary, until the conclusion of Catholic Charities' fiscal year on June 30.
Services benefiting from the Appeal include behavioral health services, food pantries, basic relief services, counseling for individuals, children and families and the refugee assistance program.
Dennis Walczyk Catholic Charities chief executive officer and Bishop Malone, were joined by Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, diocesan director of Catholic Charities. She shared examples of how Catholic Charities' programs impact the people they serve.
One example was about an 82-year-old woman whose outlook transformed after she began attending A Gathering Place, Catholic Charities social adult day program.
Sr. Mary said the woman's daughter told her recently that mom was "a changed womanbeing part of a group of people who are fun, and love her as much as she loves them."
Sister Mary also introduced Michael and Maureen Pratt as chair couple of the 2014 Appeal. The couple expects the corporate gifts division to grow and possibly reach $1 million in donations again this year. The Pratts also pointed out the average gift at the parish level continues to increase and is now the highest in Appeal history.
"Despite donor loss driven by demographics, we strive to maintain our base at nearly 60,000 an astounding number," said Michael Pratt. "This year, we'll continue to reach out to the younger generation of existing and potential donors, spreading our message and building awareness of Catholic Charities' mission and its important role in the community."
Both the Pratts and Sister Mary applauded the hard work of the hundreds of Appeal volunteers.
Bishop Malone recalled the life of St. Pio and the teachings of Pope Francis.
"I am proud to be in a position to lead such a generous diocese," said Bishop Malone. "Much like Pope Francis today, this year's patron saint, St. Pio, espoused a detachment from self and worldly possessions, elevating the healing mission of the Church. While I am profoundly grateful for your past support, I am reminded of the words of Pope Francis, who said, 'to love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concreteit means seeing in every person the face of the Lord to be servedand to serveconcretely.' As such, I humbly ask for your continued support and financial assistance as we embark on Appeal 2014."
For the fifth consecutive year, Catholic Charities has attained the highest-possible rating from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management. Catholic Charities also receives highest ratings for quality of service provided and financial health/accountability as rated by the Council on Accreditation and Charity Navigator.
More information on Appeal 2014 will be available later this month. To make a donation, contact Catholic Charities at 218-1400 or go to ccwny.org. You can also check out Catholic Charities on Facebook at facebook.com/ccbuffalo and on Twitter at twitter.com/ccbuffalo.