Weekly Feature

2017-03-16 / Local News

2017 Catholic Charities appeal seeks $11 million

by ALAN RIZZO
Reporter

For the 93rd year of its appeal fundraising drive, Catholic Charities of Buffalo hopes to raise $11 million for its services, which provide comprehensive support for 152,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens in Western New York’s eight counties.

Sister Mary McCarrick, Catholic Charities diocesan director, said it’s important for non-Catholics to join in supporting Catholic Charities through the appeal because the organization’s services benefit people across the region, regardless of religious affiliation, ethnicity, background or other designations.

“We serve everybody,” she said. “Most of our clients are not Catholics, but 87 percent of our donors are Catholic, so we’d like to change that balance.”

Rose Caldwell, director of communications and public relations, said Catholic Charities hopes people will do that throughout the appeal season, but especially during Appeal Week, from Sunday, April 2, through Sunday, April 9, which historically coincides with the surge in giving during Lent.

“Traditionally, the focus was ending on Palm Sunday, but in this day and age, we really can’t conclude the appeal on Palm Sunday, so we take it through the end of the fiscal year,” she said. “But this still is a push for the volunteers in the parishes, and the pastors are speaking about the appeal, and they’re really encouraging donations on those two Sundays.”

While proceeds from the appeal will go to support all of the services that Catholic Charities provides, two of note this year are the chemical dependency treatment program and the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Partnership.

According to Maura Beres, clinical supervisor for the chemical dependency treatment program, supporting chemical dependency treatment is of increasing importance because of the ongoing opioid epidemic in WNY and the nation, and now is a critical time to focus on fighting opiate abuse.

“Despite what we keep doing treatment wise, it seems to be growing, and people continue to die,” she said. “It’s important to let the public know and try to work on the stigmatization of people being able to access treatment.”

She said it’s also important because the program now provides continuing care, allowing recovering addicts who complete Catholic Charities’ program to continue getting addiction medication and monthly counseling through the program.

The appeal will also help the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Partnership, a program that provides relief to caregivers of those suffering from dementia.

Ann Marie Doetterl, regional director of Alzheimer’s caregiver services for Catholic Charities, explained that the partnership, funded by a state grant, is in part a response by the state and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the growing incidence and cost of Alzheimer’s disease, which she said will bankrupt the country by 2020 if the situation is not addressed.

“What we need to do is care for those who are doing the unpaid caring at home,” she said. “If we can give them a little support and services, then they can continue to care for their loved one, rather than putting them in care situations that cost the government and the counties all kinds of money.”

She said that support includes things like GPS locators for dementia patients, providing peace of mind, and the opportunity for caregivers to go on vacation for three to four days while their loved ones stay in a care facility.

The 2017 appeal, which started in mid-January and runs through Friday, June 30, has collected just over $2.8 million to date.

At its conclusion, it will put an average of 87 cents of each dollar donated toward services that Catholic Charities offers in 70 programs in 61 locations throughout WNY.

To donate, visit the appeal’s donation page on the Catholic Charities website at www.ccwny.org/donation, or call 218-1400.

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