Christmas Appeal is a ‘lifeline’ for people in need - Catholic Courier
A man carries a cardboard box.

Volunteers bring donations to St. Alphonsus Food Pantry in Auburn in 2019 that were used to create food bags distributed at Thanksgiving. (Courier file photo)

Christmas Appeal is a ‘lifeline’ for people in need

As another holiday season approaches, the staffs of the Catholic Courier and the diocesan agencies of Catholic Charities hope people will think of their neighbors in need and make a donation toward the annual Christmas Appeal.

Now in its 53rd year, the campaign is sponsored by the Catholic Courier, which handles appeal publicity, donor solicitation and gift processing on a pro bono basis. The appeal will run through the end of February 2023, aiming for a goal of $45,000 for the emergency funds of Catholic Charities agencies and affiliated ministries throughout the Diocese of Rochester.

After a very successful 2020-21 campaign that garnered total donations of $51,270, last year’s campaign raised $45,306.

The Christmas Appeal again will participate in ROC the Day — the United Way’s annual one-day fundraising event for Rochester-area nonprofit organizations. ROC the Day garnered nearly $1,020 for the appeal in 2021, and this year’s event is scheduled for Nov. 29.

Marcus Ebenhoe, director of advocacy and parish social ministry for Rochester’s Catholic Charities Family & Community Services, said that even though the world is slowly emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the community need remains high as a new Christmas Appeal begins.

“Many people are still turning to local food pantries,” he noted.

Ebenhoe said funds from the Christmas Appeal are typically used for food-related needs from Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to Hunger Relief Grants that enable Rochester-area ministries to respond to people’s immediate food needs.

However, funds from the Christmas Appeal have also been used to cover utility bills, security deposits, rent and mortgage payments to head off homelessness; urgent home repairs; transportation to jobs: prescriptions; and other expenses for individuals and families who are either awaiting or ineligible for other types of assistance.

Ebenhoe noted that Bethany House, a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality in Rochester, recently reached out for funds to help those they serve with such transportation needs as bus passes or gift cards for fuel.

“The Christmas Appeal is extremely important,” he said, adding that the campaign is a “holiday life line.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Prior donors to the Christmas Appeal will receive solicitation letters and donation envelopes around Thanksgiving. Checks payable to “Christmas Appeal” also may be sent to the Catholic Courier, PO Box 24379, Rochester, NY 14624. Please include your name, address, city, state, ZIP code and telephone number, and indicate whether the gift is being made in honor or memory of someone. To print out a donation coupon, please visit

Tags: Catholic Charities
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