Catholic Charities launches Appeal 2021 with a message of hope
Catholic Charities launched Appeal 2021 with the simple theme of “Hope.”
“For 97 years, Catholic Charities has been supporting the community with basic and crucial needs, providing a beacon of hope to our neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet and those who are facing challenges with their health and well-being,” said Deacon Steve Schumer, president at CEO of Catholic Charities of Buffalo, at a Jan. 19 press conference held at the Russell J. Salvatore Food Pantry and Outreach in Lackawanna.
This year’s goal is $10 million, the same as last year’s goal.
Bishop Michael W. Fisher, who was installed as Buffalo’s 15th bishop just four days ago, made one of his first public appearances in the diocese at the press conference to help kick off the appeal.
“Jesus was pretty clear about the prerequisites for discipleship – ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ This is how we define who we are and what we are about. The ministries of Catholic Charities quite literally demonstrate what our faith inspires and makes possible,” he said.
Bishop Fisher worked closely with Catholic Charities during his time as auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C. He said the ministry was close to his heart.
“For me, it is where the rubber meets the road,” he said. “The faith work carried out each and every day by varied ministries that serve so many needs is the very manifestation of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about – feeding the hungry, the corporal works of mercy, giving shelter and protection, comforting the afflicted, caring for the sick and the aged.”
The annual appeal helps fund 57 programs and services across 80 locations in Western New York. More than 149,000 individuals, children, and families received help from Catholic Charities in 2020. These included basic emergency assistance such as food pantries, educational and vocational advancement services, family safety and stabilization services, immigration and refugee assistance, mental health and substance use treatment, and youth and family support services.
Over the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an increase in need for food pantries and mental health assistance.
“During the darkest days of the ongoing pandemic, Catholic Charities has provided hope for so many – families who are seeking assistance at a food pantry for the first time, individuals in need of mental health counseling, seniors looking to connect with others during an isolating time, and so many more,” said Rick Cronin, chairperson for Appeal 2021. “Catholic Charities has never been needed more by so many.”
One South Buffalo resident who experienced job loss as a result of the pandemic last year, had no choice but to turn to one of Catholic Charities’ food pantries recently for some supplemental assistance.
“I never expected to have to use a food pantry,” said Mike. “The groceries are a bright spot. It helps me to keep money in my pocket to pay bills.”
Donors can designate their appeal gift three ways: give to the appeal, which benefits both Catholic Charities and the Fund for the Faith; give to Catholic Charities only; or give to the Fund for the Faith only.
“With your continued support, the work of Catholic Charities and the Fund for the Faith is addressing real needs of real people each and every day –person to person, providing comfort and healing. This is the work that is so needed, and which should inspire renewed zeal for manifesting the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is who we are as Catholic Christians and simply put – it’s just what we do,” the bishop said, adding that he is looking forward to seeing more of Catholic Charities good works in action.
The patron saint of Appeal 2021 is St. Ignatius of Loyola. Appeal volunteer workshops and events are now underway virtually throughout the region.
To donate to Appeal 2021, visit ccwny.org/donation or call 716-218-1400. To find help through Catholic Charities, call the Helpline at 716-218-1419.
Rick Cronin, Catholic Charities appeal chair for 2021, announces this year’s goal of $10 million, as Cathlic charities CEO Deacon Steve Schumer looks on. The Jan. 19 announcement took place at the Russell J. Salvatore Food Pantry & Outreach. Photo by Patrick J. Buechi