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Editorial: Catholic Charities needs our help

Catholic Charities needs Western New York’s support and so far it is falling short.

The nonprofit has raised more than $7 million of its $11 million goal for the 2018 Appeal. Appeals Week began March 17 and ended Sunday. Fundraising is scheduled to end June 30. There is still time to help relatives, friends, neighbors and strangers. Catholic Charities has been around since 1923. Its assistance is inclusive, regardless of race, gender, demographics, socioeconomics and religion.

Nearly 153,000 people were helped last year alone through 70 programs and services across 61 sites in the eight counties of Western New York. Add to that numerous ministries through the Bishop’s Fund for Faith.

Catholic Charities is a significant community resource. The organization provides life’s basic necessities to those in need, along with counseling and job training. The organization helps mothers feed their babies, helps 16 to 21-year-olds get general equivalency diplomas and helps the elderly stay in their own homes.

In speaking about emergency basic assistance – food, clothing and shelter directly through Catholic Charities or by linking people with additional resources – CEO Dennis C. Walczyk noted that Catholic Charities’ Central Intake in downtown Buffalo assisted 10,000 people last year.

Those who sought help did not have to worry about running out of medication and families did not have to worry about being evicted from their homes or going hungry.

Recent revelations about priest sexual abuse may be putting a damper on this year’s appeal. Bishop Richard J. Malone has apologized and the diocese released a list with the names of 42 priests who were “removed from ministry, retired or left ministry,” following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, according to officials.

The church has promised amends, setting up a separate fund for restitution for victims. The bishop has made clear that none of the donations to Catholic Charities or past donations to the “Upon this Rock” campaign will be used for this purpose.

The diocese does not provide money to support Catholic Charities. Generous donations to the appeal from individuals, corporations and foundations represent a significant, critical part of the organization’s funding. In addition, for every $1 donated, Catholic Charities is able to leverage $3 from such other funding sources as foundation grants, and federal, state and local government contracts for which the nonprofit operates human service programs.

Catholic Charities earns the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator for transparency and sound fiscal management. It is a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity and receives the highest ratings from the Council on Accreditation for quality service.

The public has an interest in supporting these good works. Call 218-1400, or go to ccwny.org or accounts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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