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FALL 2016


We invite you to take a few minutes to learn more about the work of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. If you have any questions, reply and let us know. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your colleagues, friends and family.  

Gift of Hope 

The 15th Annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal is underway and needs your support! The Christmas Appeal takes place now through January 2017. This year's goal is to raise $550,000.
The Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal is our largest annual fundraiser and critical to operating our social service organization. Your gifts provide funding for the
many Catholic Charities programs and services available throughout Southwest Florida. Your generosity enables us to serve those seeking help all year long.

You can have a more meaningful Christmas this year by lifting up those who are suffering and bringing them joy!

VIP Visit
Fort Myers Councilwoman Theresa Watkins-Brown (center) spent the afternoon with the After-School Reading Program at AFCAAM of Catholic Charities. 

Fort Myers--City Councilwoman Theresa Watkins-Brown took a tour of AFCAAM of Catholic Charities to learn more about the After-School Reading Program and the Youth Mentoring Programs. 

The city representative put on her teacher hat and read a story to the elementary students in the After-School Reading Program. Councilwoman Watkins-Brown also meet with the youth mentoring program staff to understand more about the important contribution it makes to provide prevention and character building for at-risk middle and high school students in the community.

The day following the meeting, Councilwoman Watkins-Brown recapped her visit in an email  saying, "I had a great time yesterday. P lease give your staff my thanks for their hard work and dedication to your program and  service you give to the City of Fort Myers. They were all great and I can see why you are so  successful in reaching our kids."

For more information about AFCAAM of Catholic Charities, please call 239-461-0233.

Councilwoman Watkins-Brown (left to right) meets with Catholic Charities Youth Mentoring staff Veronica Barber and Manny Diaz.
Show of Shows

Venice--The Atlantic City Boys (above) performed at the 9th Annual Sugar Bowl Show of Shows to a sold-out crowd at the Venice Performing Arts Center. The fundraiser was co-chaired by Dick Maier (left. below) seen in the photo with his wife Jean and Dennis Strittmatter (right, below) seen in the photo with his wife Dotty. The event was hosted by Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. and the local Knights of Columbus councils and benefits the Sugar Bowl Fund. Since 2007, 350 families with 725 children in a financial crisis have been helped by the fund. A total of $185,884 has been distributed to families who are at risk of becoming homeless. Thank you for attending the show!

Publix Charities 
Catholic Charities staff Mary Shaughnessy (left to right) Allegra Belliard, and Rita Perez with Brian West of Publix.

Collier County--Catholic Charities received two grants from Publix Super Market Charities for programs and services in Naples and Immokalee. 

The Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities in Naples received $20,000 from Publix to support the Weekend Power Pack Food Program that feeds needy elementary students, the Choice Food Pantry, and cooking and food demonstration education classes for clients of the food pantry. 

In Immokalee, Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities was awarded $26,500 from Publix. The grant will be used to purchase a vehicle to distribute food to the rural and outlying areas of the city which are under-served due to the long distance from the Catholic Charities center.

"We are just so grateful to Publix to support these food programs that provide the basic necessities to so many in need in our communities," said Catholic Charities District Director Mary Shaughnessy.

For more information about Catholic Charities in Collier County, please call 239-455-2655.

Staff and volunteers of Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities accept a check from Brian West (right) of Publx. 
Halloween Fun

Boca Grande--Halloween was not scary at the Boca Grande Child Care Center of Catholic Charities this year! The children ages one- to five-years-old enjoyed a day full of fun and games along with sweet treats to celebrate the holiday. The preschoolers also paraded around the center to show off their costumes to the neighborhood.

Donated Sweatshirts

Fort Myers-- San Carlos St. Francis Xavier Knights of Columbus Council 2596 members Lou Nadreau (left to right), Jose Padilla, and Catherine Garcia stopped by Catholic Charities in Fort Myers today to deliver 31 hoodie sweatshirts to District Director Charles Anderson. The clothing will be given to students in the Positive Youth Development Program of Catholic Charities. Thank you for your generosity!
Autumn  Celebration

Arcadia--Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities farm worker housing community held a 2nd Annual Fall Festival with more than 125 parents and children in attendance. All were in costume to celebrate Halloween!

Community partners such as Wells Fargo, the DeSoto County Health Department, HIPPY, Family Services Center a nd the Literacy Council were present to offer informatio n. 

Residents performed with traditional Latino, Hawaiian, and country western dance routines. A costume contest was held for the children with Mickey Mouse, a mermaid and a lion receiving the top honors, along with games and prizes, a trunk or treat, and hot dogs. 

"It was a good time had by all," said Catholic Charities Director Andy Herigodt.

For more information about Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities, please call 863-494-1068.

Philanthropy Day
Tim and Bianca McConaghy (left to right) with Catholic Charities staff Marisa Zorger, Joyce Scott, Nikki Cole and Peter Routsis-Arroyo. 

Sarasota--The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Southwest Florida Chapter celebrated National Philanthropy Day by honoring volunteers throughout the community.

The volunteers were recognized at a luncheon held at Michael's On East. Bianca McConaghy of Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities was one of the honorees. She has been a volunteer since 2013 at the residential program for homeless mothers and their children. Bianca offers her service in the on-site day care center. 

"Bianca demonstrates outstanding character and is deserving of this honor," said Catholic Charities Volunteer Coordinator Marisa Zorger. "Bianca accomplishes far more than the typical day to day reading, playing, rocking, and feeding of the children. Her maternal nature helps the children feel cared for and safe. We are humbled to know her and proud to honor her."

Since 1987, Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities has helped over 500 mothers and their children work toward attaining self-sufficiency. For more information about volunteering at the program, call Marisa at 941-355-4680.
Bella Vita Contribution

Venice--Residents at Bella Vita Senior Living donated and sold items to raise money for programs and services of Catholic Charities. Resident Council Treasurer Paul Zielinski (left) and Resident Council President Jerry Smith (right) presented Catholic Charities CEO Peter Routsis-Arroyo with a check for $500. "It is our pleasure to make the donation on behalf of all the residents at Bella Vita," said Smith.
Shoes and Scarves

Lake Placid--There will be many women in the rural areas of Florida that will be wearing fashionable shoes and scarves thanks to Diana Kelly Buchanan of Sarasota. She donated $120,000 worth of items from her company to Catholic Charities to distribute in Clewiston, Morehaven, LaBelle, Wauchula, Lake Placid, Arcadia, Immokalee, Nocatee and Bonita Springs. Father Victor Caviedes (above) of St. James Parish in Lake Placid was thrilled to receive boxes of the shoes and scarves to distribute to women in need in the community.
Comcast Foundation
Students of the AFCAAM of Catholic Charities
Youth Mentoring Programs.

Fort Myers--The Comcast Foundation provided a gift of almost $800 to the Youth Mentoring Programs of AFCAAM of Catholic Charities. 

The contribution will be used to purchase materials for the teens participating in the program to encourage them to pursue higher education. This will be in the form of games and exercises that will become part of the group mentoring meetings. Additional plans for the funding are to take the students on field trips to college campuses for an introductory tour and lunch. Thank you Comcast Foundation!

For more information about AFCAAM of Catholic Charities, please call 239-461-0233.