The spirit of giving was alive and well in the Southern Tier this past Advent and Christmas season, thanks to numerous Catholic-based initiatives supporting charitable causes.
Among the Tier-area efforts were:
In Schuyler County, the Schuyler Catholic Community cluster took part in “Boxes of Joy,” a ministry of Cross Catholic Outreach providing gifts for children in other countries; a giving-tree effort at St. Mary of the Lake Church in Watkins Glen benefited residents of area nursing facilities as well as ARC; a family adoption project took place at St. Benedict in Odessa; and Catholic Charities conducted a “Gifts of Hope” initiative through which families received useful gifts for their homes.
At Tioga County parishes, youth-group and faith-formation families from Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick packed and shipped 80 gift boxes through the Boxes of Joy initiative; giving trees at St. Margaret Mary Church in Apalachin and St. Patrick in Owego provided gifts, supplies and clothing for Tioga County Rural Ministry; and St. John the Evangelist in Newark Valley featured an Adopt-A-Family project to benefit area families.
In Chemung County, gifts and meals were provided for hundreds of area families and individuals through giving-tree and Christmas-basket projects involving all of Elmira’s parishes (Christ the Redeemer, Blessed Sacrament and St. Mary Southside) as well as St. Mary Our Mother in Horseheads. In addition, Catholic Charities’ “Gifts of Hope” effort provided clothing and household items for people in need.
Among parishes in Steuben County, Ss. Isidore and Maria Torribia donated toward food baskets in Campbell and children’s gifts through the Bradford Food Pantry while also collecting 400 cans of fruit for a food-basket program in Addison; St. John Vianney in Hammondsport/Bath took part in a giving-tree initiative as well as the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Project, which provides gifts and supplies for children around the world; Holy Family Catholic Community conducted a giving-tree effort; and the youths of All Saints in Corning/Painted Post held a Christmas Candlelight Project that supplied clothing and shoes for local teens.
In Livingston County, the cluster of St. Agnes, Avon/St. Paul of the Cross, Honeoye Falls/St. Rose, Lima, provided 106 boxes for Operation Christmas Child and also did a giving-tree project; the cluster of St. Mary, Honeoye/St. Matthew, Livonia, featured giving trees; members of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish sang carols at nursing facilities, mailed holiday cards and letters to the homebound, and had giving trees as well; and Catholic Charities of Livingston County partnered with area businesses to provide toys for underprivileged families.
In Tompkins County, giving-tree initiatives took place at St. Catherine of Siena and Immaculate Conception in Ithaca, St. Anthony in Groton and Holy Cross in Dryden; Immaculate Conception sent 170 Boxes of Joy to children in impoverished countries and also collected baby items for Birthright; St. Anthony collected food items to provide Christmas dinner for a local family; children from St. Catherine donated items to local charities for an Advent project; and students and staff from the Catholic campus ministries at Ithaca College and Cornell University assisted with a toy project for Tioga County Rural Ministry, and also visited a local nursing home for caroling.