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The Editorial Board: Stalled Catholic Charities Appeal needs community’s generosity in final weeks

The Editorial Board: Stalled Catholic Charities Appeal needs community’s generosity in final weeks

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Food pantry in Lackawanna (copy)

Eileen Nowak, left, department director of Parish Outreach and Advocacy for Catholic Charities of Buffalo, and Bill Larsen, pantry coordinator, shops an order for a needy client last December at the Catholic Charities of Buffalo Russell J. Salvatore Food Pantry in Lackawanna. Catholic Charities' 2021 Appeal is stalled and need help to meet its $10 million goal by the end of the month.

Catholic Charities is 80% toward its $10 million goal and pushing for the rest before the 2021 Appeal closes on June 30. It needs the entire community to help push it over the top.

The outlook had appeared brighter for a time, as the Appeal had been trending ahead of last year. That is, until recently when donations reached $8.4 million, the same as last year’s close. There is still time for supporters to help make a difference.

“Hope Day” helped. The 24-hour match challenge brought in $260,016 on May 14. Matching funds of $57,212 added to those donations, bringing HOPE Day’s total to $317,228.

Rick Cronin, who is leading Appeal 2021, described Hope Day as meant “to inspire first-time donors and those who already gave to go above and beyond to help those most in need, in addition to rallying Catholic Charities’ supporters.” But more is needed and there is still time to give.

The drive serves a need. It helps to fund 57 programs and services administered by Catholic Charities across Western New York.

Last year, Catholic Charities’ programs and services helped more than 149,000 individuals of all faiths, ages and ethnicities. This year, even as the pandemic recedes and the economy begins to recover, the need remains great.

The majority of those helped by Catholic Charities are not, in fact, Catholic. Clients come from diverse religious and economic backgrounds, seeking help through food pantries, mental health services and workforce and education programs. In fact, the organization finds itself servicing some who, after years of giving, suddenly find themselves needing help.

But there are those in the community who have not been badly harmed by the economic ravages of the pandemic. They have been able to work throughout this public health emergency, received stimulus checks and should consider sharing some of it with those in the community whose experience has been rougher.

We are, after all, still a community.

The sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church may deter some potential donors. They should know that Catholic Charities is not associated with that issue. Indeed, the organization ranks highly on Charity Navigator and is an accredited charity with the Better Business Bureau. It would be a shame if the suffering already caused by that scandal were spread to those whose suffering can be alleviated by the help of Catholic Charities.

To make a donation, or for more information, contact Catholic Charities at 716-218-1400 or go to Also, go to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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