Aided by its first-ever Bowl-A-Thon, the Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal is making a final effort to reach its goal of $50,000 with one month to go.
Although the holiday season has passed, it’s not too late to donate to the 42nd-annual appeal. Donations may be made through Feb. 29 for the 2011-12 campaign, which supports the emergency funds of Catholic Charities agencies all year long.
As of Jan. 27, approximately $42,387 — or 84.4 percent of the set goal — had been collected.
Donna Stubbings, appeal coordinator and circulation manager for the Catholic Courier and El Mensajero Católico newspapers, acknowledged that the gloomy economy has weighed on potential donors, but expressed hope for a late rush of donations large and small.
"Things are tough everywhere, and people are doing what they can. We do sometimes get a surge toward the end," she said.
A new initiative that could provide considerable momentum is the Bowl-A-Thon. That event will take place Saturday, Feb. 11, at L&M Lanes, 873 Merchants Road, Rochester. Bowlers of all ages may participate in either of two three-game rounds, from 3 to 6 p.m. or 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Teams and individuals may register by calling 585-529-9530, ext. 1510, or e-mailing Tamara Tirado at firstname.lastname@example.org. Walk-ups also are welcomed, provided lane openings still exist. Further details may be found at http://bit.ly/yO2BDR.
The Bowl-A-Thon is one of two fresh initiatives that are providing support for the Christmas Appeal. On Dec. 8, 2011, the first-ever "Roc the Day" — a one-day, communitywide fundraising event to benefit nonprofit organizations — raised $887 for the appeal.
"Led by Donna and Tamara, we have tried some new things this year in hopes of bringing some new donors and achieving a goal that has been elusive each year since the recession began," said Karen Franz, general manager/editor of the newspapers. "We’ve met with some modest success thus far, and hope that the Bowl-A-Thon will help us generate some interest in the appeal among a broader audience."
Christmas Appeal proceeds are forwarded to emergency funds of Catholic Charities offices and other affiliated diocesan agencies. The money provides relief throughout the 12-county Diocese of Rochester for people in short-term financial crises who are not eligible or have not yet qualified for other assistance in meeting their basic needs.
Stubbings said one attractive aspect of the Christmas Appeal for donors is its conversion of virtually all funds into aid for recipients. She emphasized that the money is badly needed, often being utilized "to keep heat on in a house, to give kids a Christmas they wouldn’t have any other way, for medicine — just things most of us would take for granted."
EDITOR’S NOTE: To donate to the Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal, mail checks to Catholic Courier, PO Box 24379, Rochester, NY 14624. Checks should be made payable to the Christmas Appeal.