Due to generosity large and small, the 37th annual Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal exceeded its $46,000 goal.
Through donations from 712 donors, the 2006-07 appeal raised $51,401, which was 111.7 percent of its original goal. The appeal, which helps raise money for the emergency funds of Catholic Charities agencies and their affiliates within the 12-county diocese, raised $42,945 last year.
Although fewer donors gave to the appeal this year, those who did contribute in many cases gave larger sums, noted Karen Franz, general manager and editor of the Catholic Courier. She observed that national and international relief efforts in the two previous years had hurt fundraising efforts for local agencies.
“While we were very happy that people gave to (Hurricane) Katrina relief and tsunami relief, the local situations that give rise to the kinds of needs served by the Christmas Appeal did not change,” she said. “That’s why we are glad to see that donations are up this year.”
Donna Stubbings, the Courier‘s circulation manager who also serves as the appeal’s coordinator, said one of the donations that touched her most was $10 from a Monroe County Jail inmate, who sent it in honor of Bishop Matthew H. Clark’s visit to the facility on Christmas Day. The bishop celebrated Mass there and gave inmates a message of peace and forgiveness.
“Bishop Clark confirmed this man while he was there,” Stubbings said.
The appeal also received several notable large donations, including a $5,000 and a $3,500 donation, Stubbings said. But all donations were equally welcome, she added, no matter their size.
“Each year, somebody will send in $2, and I’ve always thought that this was probably really hard for them,” Stubbings said.
Bobbi McGarrity, a senior case manager with Catholic Family Center’s Community Resource Services in Rochester, said Catholic Charities uses the money year-round to help people in emergency situations meet such immediate needs as buying groceries, prescription drugs or clothing. It also is used to purchase perishable food for the low-income families who participate in Community Resource Services’ Christmas program. During the intake process at Community Resource Services, in which applicants’ needs are assessed, case managers distribute appeal funds in the form of vouchers for needed items, she said.
“Over the past several months, we’ve seen different populations,” McGarrity said. “We are seeing more people from the suburbs from downsizing. I can’t say how many times I’ve heard someone say they’ve never had to ask for help before.”
This year’s appeal began Thanksgiving weekend and ended Jan. 31. Donations received after that date will be applied to next year’s appeal. Make checks payable to “Christmas Appeal” and send to Catholic Courier, P.O. Box 24379, Rochester, NY 14624. Include your name, address, city, state, ZIP code, telephone number, and whether the gift is in honor or in memory of someone.