On Jan. 6, Catholic Charities of Buffalo announced the goal, patron and motto of Appeal 2016. The most comprehensive human service provider in Western New York is seeking $11 million to meet their ambitious plans for the upcoming year. This is an increase of $100,000 from last year's goal.
St. Nicholas, the fourth-century bishop used as the model for Santa Claus, will serve as the inspiring patron saint of the campaign. Nicholas came from a wealthy family. After his parents died, he used his inheritance to assist the needy, sick and suffering.
The motto for the 92nd Appeal is "Find good within."
Msgr. David S. Slubecky, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Buffalo, stood in for Bishop Richard J. Malone who was unable to attend.
"I wish I could report that the need for our services has diminished, but unfortunately that's not the case," Msgr. Slubecky said. "Last year alone we provided assistance to nearly 132,000 individuals, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and we anticipate a similar or increased volume in the coming year."
Appeal Week will take place the week leading up to Palm Sunday, March 20. Although Appeal Week marks the strongest push for parish donations, volunteers will work to achieve their goal by the conclusion of the organizations fiscal year on June 30.
"We continue to face the same challenges that have been present for many years, such as an aging donor base and an increased need for services in one of America's poorest cities. Those challenges, however, won't keep us from meeting out goal," said Nicholas Tzetzo, who, with his wife Nicole, will be co-chairs for this year's appeal.
"A gift to Catholic Charities is a gift to our neighbors, members of our human family seeking a hand up. As we move through this year's campaign, take notice that our neighbors need us in whatever capacity we can give. Give what you can. It will come back to you in so many ways," added Nicole Tzetzo.
Other volunteer leadership team members include Gerard and Barbara Mazurkiewicz, vice chairs; Kellie Ulrich, community division chair; John and Suzanne Berger, corporate chairs; and Rick Cronin, parish chair.
The appeal kick-off took place at the soon-to-open Catholic Charities Health care center, located in the former Nativity Church at 10 Herkimer St. on the West Side of Buffalo. The center will serve as a multidisciplinary health clinic and community resource center as part of Catholic Charities Immigration and Refugee Assistance Program. A medical clinic, dental clinic and English as a second language program will be used for the 600 refugees assisted each year, as well as other residents of the neighborhood.
To demonstrate their thankfulness for the help Catholic Charities has given them, over a dozen ESL students joined to sing the Woody Guthrie classic, "This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land."