Staff Writer Amy Kotlarz just wrote a piece about smarter ways to donate this holiday season.
That got me thinking about the Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal, which I’ve helped promote for the past 11 years. Proceeds from the appeal — which has a $50,000 goal — are distributed to the emergency funds of Catholic Charities offices throughout the diocese. The funds are then distributed to people facing short-term financial crises.
Every year it has been my pleasure to promote the appeal with the help of Bobbi McGarrity, senior case manager with Catholic Family Center’s Community Resource Services in Rochester. She really hits home to me how important Christmas Appeal funds are. Many of Catholic Charities’ funding streams are restricted, Bobbi has told me, which means money can only be distributed under very specific circumstances. Many times people seeking help do not qualify for assistance from these funding streams.
That’s where the Christmas Appeal comes in.
If, for example, a parent loses his or her job and is facing eviction, Bobbi can give the family rent money to get them by until unemployment benefits kick in. Sometimes a person just needs money for a bus pass to get to a job interview. Or help buying expensive, special formula for an ill infant. Or new beds for children whose family lost all they own in a fire.
It’s these little things — these little, potentially life-changing things — that the Christmas Appeal aims to help people with. Things that can make or break people and change the course of their lives forever.
So when you’re thinking about ways to give during the holidays, consider the Christmas Appeal and how many little donations can help a lot of people. I’m sure folks throughout the diocese will be very glad you did.