Christmas Appeal nears $50,000 goal - Catholic Courier

Christmas Appeal nears $50,000 goal

Buoyed by the emergence of 120 new donors, the 38h-annual Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal is on the verge of reaching its goal of $50,000.

As of Jan. 25, the appeal’s had garnered total donations of $49,349.50 — or 98.7 percent of the target amount, according to Donna Stubbings, appeal coordinator and circulation manager for the Catholic Courier/El Mensajero Cat√≥lico. Stubbings noted that donors have until Feb. 29 to contribute to this year’s appeal — enough time, she feels, for the goal to be met.

“I think that will put us over the top,” she said.

Stubbings said a total of 765 donors have responded to the 2007-08 appeal, contributing an average of nearly $65 each. She said contributions for the current appeal have ranged from $10 to $3,000, emphasizing that donations of all sizes are vital to its success.

Should the 2007-08 goal be reached, Stubbings said it would be the first time in recent memory that this has happened in back-to-back years. The 2006-07 appeal raised $51,401, or 111.7 percent of its goal of $46,000, marking a significant jump over the final 2005-06 total of $42,945. Stubbings observed that prior to 2006, relief efforts for such disasters as the Indian Ocean tsunamis and the New Orleans flooding had depressed fundraising efforts for the Christmas Appeal as well as other local agencies.

“We’re happy we’ve just about reached our goal again, and we’d like it to be a little more successful next year,” Stubbings said.

Christmas Appeal monies support the emergency funds of Catholic Charities offices and affiliated agencies throughout the Rochester Diocese. These resources assist individuals and families in short-term financial crises, addressing basic needs in such areas as food, clothing, transportation and housing that cannot be met through other means. Donations were garnered via requests mailed to past donors when the appeal began in late November 2007, as well as coupons that appeared in each Catholic Courier Weekly from Dec. 1-2, 2007, to Jan. 5-6, 2008, and the December editions of the Courier Monthly and El Mensajero.

Those issues contained feature articles about agencies, ministries, families and individuals that have benefitted from the Christmas Appeal. The articles profiled a man who had trouble holding down a job due to cerebral palsy and mental illness; the director of an inner-city ministry for the poor; a recently widowed woman who couldn’t afford medication related to a liver transplant; a retired U.S. Naval Reserve veteran who was struggling to afford food for his large family; a woman on a fixed income who cares for several grandchildren because her daughter is addicted to drugs and alcohol; a family who couldn’t afford a new sump pump after their basement flooded; and a single mother of two attempting to secure safer living conditions for her family.

“I was pleased to see the number of donations with coupons out of the paper from folks who had not donated previously,” said Karen M. Franz, general manager/editor of the Courier/El Mensajero. Meanwhile, Stubbings added that she saw “a lot more donations made in honor or memory of loved ones” this year.

Donations to the Christmas Appeal are welcomed all year long. Those received after Feb. 29 will be applied to the 2008-09 appeal. Checks may be made payable to “Christmas Appeal” and sent to the Catholic Courier, PO Box 24379, Rochester, NY 14624. Please include your name, address, city, state, ZIP code, telephone number, and whether the gift is in honor or in memory of someone.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated with reaction and new information on 2-4-08.

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