Catholic Charities of Buffalo officials today updated the community on the progress of the 2018 Appeal. With two months remaining, the 94th annual Appeal has reached nearly $8.9 million in cash and pledges, or just shy of 81 percent of this year's goal. Volunteers and campaign leadership must raise an additional $2.1 million between now and June 30 in order to reach this year's $11 million goal.
Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, diocesan director of Catholic Charities, said the organization is encouraged by the fact the Appeal has raised $1.84 million since the last report on March 27 following the conclusion of Appeal Week 2018 in parishes throughout the eight-county Diocese of Buffalo.
"We are grateful for the progress we have seen over the past month, coupled with an influx of in-kind and volunteer support following Al Roker's recent segment on the Today Show honoring one of our Ladies of Charity volunteers. That said, we are also concerned that we continue to trend well below recent years when we also struggled to reach our final goal," Sister Mary said. "We take solace knowing the community understands the vital role we have in being there for so many who turn to Catholic Charities for assistance, and we pray our many long-time donors and hopefully a new generation of supporters will rally on our behalf over the next two months."
To help put these numbers in perspective, Sister Mary said the Appeal should be closer to 90 percent or greater at this point in the process, adding the last time the Appeal failed to reach its goal was in 2009, when the Appeal was at 88 percent of its final goal at this stage of the campaign.
Funds raised during the Appeal will help support the 70 programs and services provided by Catholic Charities at 61 sites throughout Western New York, along with a number of ministries that are part of the Bishop's Fund for the Faith.
"If we don't reach our goal, we will need to take a serious look at these services to people in need," Sister Mary explained. "For example, it costs about $50,000 to fund one food pantry and we currently operate eight pantries; six in Erie County, and one each in Cattaraugus and Allegany County," Sister Mary pointed out.
"We also provide a wide array of counseling services - an especially critical benefit to our many clients who may not have insurance or can't afford to pay for it - and turn to Catholic Charities for assistance. Just one counseling session costs about $100," Sister Mary added.
Robert M. Bennett, Chancellor Emeritus of the New York State Board of Regents and general chair of this year's Appeal, said he hopes donors have been reassured their donations will support programs, services and ministries and never fund any settlements to victims of past abuse by priests. "The Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, has made it very clear the recently announced Independent Reconciliation & Compensation Fund will be paid from insurance, self-insurance liability, investment fund reserves and the sale of property - and not the Appeal or the Fund for the Faith," Bennett said.
The theme of this year's Appeal, which began in January, is "Love your Neighbor" and the patron saint is St. Clare of Assisi.
Catholic Charities is the most comprehensive human service provider in the region, serving people of all ages, races, faiths and walks of life. It has helped individuals and families in need since its founding in 1923. That need is varied and widespread - from emergency assistance to mental health counseling and treatment, and from specialized services for older adults to help with job training and education.
Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assesses clients for other needs to ensure long-term success.
To donate to the 2018 Appeal or for more information, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to ccwny.org. You can also join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.