Annual appeal aids families - Catholic Courier

Annual appeal aids families

Every year the Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal allows Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes to help dozens of Finger Lakes-area families who might otherwise fall through the cracks, according to Ellen Wayne, executive director of CCFL.

“This support from readers really does help us get families over financial crises that really are significant to their family circumstances,” she said.

The annual appeal, which is now in its 44th year, raises money for Catholic Charities agencies and parish-supported ministries that help people facing financial emergencies and other crises.

Last year Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes staff members used a portion of its share of Christmas Appeal funds to help a single mother who worked at a minimum-wage job and received minimal government benefits. She was living paycheck to paycheck but making ends meet until an unexpected $400 bill for vehicle repairs left her unable to afford her rent that month. When Catholic Charities staff learned of her plight, they stepped in and used Christmas Appeal funds to help the woman and her daughter, Wayne said.

“We were able to pay a portion of her rent so she would not fall behind and potentially face eviction,” she explained.

Christmas Appeal funds also helped keep a local family of five from being evicted, she added. This family did not receive any type of government assistance and the father had been able to support his wife and three children until a problem with an automatic payment out of their bank account caused an overdraft fee. This had a disastrous domino effect, as several checks the family had previously written out of the account bounced and incurred their own fees.

“The clients rectified the situation, but the bank would only reverse part of the fees. The family lives on a tight budget and this situation left them short on funds,” Wayne said.

Although the father worked extra hours at his job, the family still wasn’t able to come up with enough money to cover their rent that month. That’s when they approached Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes.

“We were able to pay a portion of the rent so the family would not fall behind and they could try to get back on track with their budget and not fall behind on other expenses,” Wayne said.

The agency also used Christmas Appeal funds to help a family of six heat its home, she added. Both the parents in that family worked, but the father’s business started failing around the same time the mother was laid off from her job, she said.

“Financial resources for the family were limited. They had an application for public assistance and health insurance pending, but that approval would take some time,” Wayne said.

The Home Energy Assistance Program had not yet started for the year, and the family could not afford to pay for a minimal amount of propane to be delivered to their home. Using proceeds from the Christmas Appeal, a staff member from Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes’ Emergency Assistance arranged and paid for a fuel delivery so the family would be able to heat its home, she said.


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Editor’s Note: To contribute to the Christmas Appeal, download and print the donation form to mail a donation.

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