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Contributions lagging in Catholic Charities' 2017 appeal

Catholic Charities of Buffalo has raised $7.9 million, but is a little behind schedule in its annual fundraising appeal, officials said Tuesday.

The organization on Tuesday said it has raised 72 percent of its $11 million goal.

About 80 percent of the goal is typically raised by the end of a big Lenten push in parishes called Appeal Week, which concluded Sunday, said Sister Mary McCarrick, diocesan director of Catholic Charities. The drive continues through June 30.

Contributions may be lagging because of an ongoing $100 million capital campaign in the Buffalo diocese known as Upon This Rock, McCarrick said.

"The same generous people are being asked to contribute to both," she said. "That seems to be dragging us down this year."

Catholic Charities assisted more than 152,000 people last year through 70 programs and services offered at 61 sites in Western New York's eight counties, officials said in a news release. The organization provides counseling for addiction, chemical dependency, families and married couples. It also runs seven pantries in three counties providing food, clothing and other basic human needs.

Catholic Charities is taking the lead this year on a new program in seven WNY counties that provides respites and other support to caregivers of people with dementia, McCarrick said. The organization has also expanded its workforce development program and GED classes outside of Erie County to Niagara County.

"The majority of people we serve are not Catholics," she said. "We serve people of every race, creed and persuasion."

Catholic Charities surpassed its fundraising goal last year for the sixth consecutive year, taking in a little more than $11.1 million.

To donate to Catholic Charities or for more information, call (716) 218-1400 or visit ccwny.org.

Meanwhile, the diocese announced that Estelle Anderson has been named one of five finalists nationally for the 2017 Catholic Charities USA Volunteer of the Year Award.

Anderson, 95, volunteers with the Ladies of Charity, which provides clothing, household goods, school supplies and Christmas toys for children. The winner will be announced at Catholic Charities' annual convention this year in Texas.

"We're very proud," said McCarrick. "It's been 10 years since we had anyone who was a finalist."

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