Fall 2017 - In This Issue:
THANK YOU! In our time of need you responded to our call for help. Catholic Charities is so fortunate to have hundreds of supporters who provided donations and volunteer assistance during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Catholic Charities served over 80,000 people in the three weeks following the storm. That is twice as many people we typically serve in one year and we could not have done it without you!  Catholic Charities continues to aid families and individuals, especially the most vulnerable populations who are without insurance or employment and cannot replace what was destroyed during the disaster. Our long-term recovery efforts will carry on for two to three years.

Casa San Juan Bosco 

Arcadia--The students in the After School Program at Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities celebrated Halloween with their families.The farm worker housing development provides education and enrichment activities to both children and adults at the Casa San Juan Bosco Community Center. Catholic Charities efforts are supported by a group of volunteers who assist children with homework, and provide leadership for adult activities such as English as a second language and Zumba classes.Catholic Charities is proud to partner with a variety of community agencies in bringing educational experiences to the residents of Casa San Juan Bosco.
Catholic Charities in Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Sarasota--Catholic Charities was  excited to participate in the Age-Friendly Festival at the Sarasota Fairgrounds where thousands of people spent the day exploring how to live well. Catholic Charities showcased programs and services for children and adults that provide the opportunity to attain a healthy life.  Inspired by the Age-Friendly Sarasota initiative and presented by The Patterson Foundation , the Age-Friendly Festival was the first community celebration in the nation to focus on lifelong well-being while connecting people of all ages. Guests enjoyed experiences, entertainment, educational opportunities and exhibits highlighting age-friendly practices and principles that optimize community assets and enhance quality of life at every age.
Catholic Charities launches the annual Christmas Appeal during December 2017 and January 2018. Our goal is to raise $560,000 and your gifts are much appreciated!

The Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal is our largest fundraiser and critical to operating our social service organization. Your donation will benefit Catholic Charities programs and services available throughout Southwest Florida that assist individuals, families, and seniors all year long.  Thank you for your giving spirit! Your contribution will empower people in need with hope for a brighter future. 


Our Mother's House 

Venice--The Knights of Columbus Council 9924 of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish held a golf tournament to raise money for Pregnancy Solutions, SOLVE, and Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities. A total of $21,000 was raised by the Knights of Columbus for the three organizations that are often called "the circle of life".  Our Mother's House provides homeless mothers and their children transitional housing, education, and training. Catholic Charities appreciates the support of the Knights of Columbus!
St. Martha's Early Learning Center

Sarasota-- The children at St. Martha's Early Learning Center of Catholic Charities enjoyed a book party hosted by the Christ Child Society of Sarasota. The ladies of the society have partnered with the early learning center for several years by annually sponsoring field trips and arranging literacy activities. This year each child received their own copy of Curious George and created a harvest themed activity. We are grateful to the Christ Child Society for their generous donation of books and craft activities!
Countless organizations, schools, churches, civic groups and individuals have donated supplies to Catholic Charities for disaster relief efforts from the damage of Hurricane Irma. Parishioners of the Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine in Freehold, NJ delivered a truckload of supplies, a cash donation of $2,500, and an autographed banner (right) showing their support. Perfect Aire in Illinois sent a 53-foot tractor trailer full of 22 pallets of portable air conditioning units and dehumidifiers. Students at Bonita Springs High School (bottom left) showed up with two large pallets of much needed baby items including diapers. Courtesy of Countryside Transportation, the Tuscola Intermediate School District of Caro, MI provided a packed truck (bottom right) of food, clothing, baby items, pet food, and household items along with a United States flag gifted from the truck drivers.Catholic Charities is helping hurricane victims to rebuild their lives. Your generous donations of these items will go a long way in making this a successful disaster recovery operation!

Casa San Juan Bosco 

Arcadia--The Knights of Columbus Rafael Ortiz Council 12071 of St. Andrew Parish planted a memorial garden for long-time Catholic Charities board member Luis Olivares at the soccer field named in his honor in the Casa San Juan Bosco farm worker neighborhood. A tree was placed to signify his marriage to his wife, Ingrid Olivares, and three plants represented his three children. Luis was instrumental in the development of the Catholic Charities housing community and also was a supporter of the Catholic Charities fundraisers the Venetian Charity Ball and AFCAAM Charity Golf Classic.

Boca Grande Child Care 

Boca Grande--The Boca Grande Child Care Center of Catholic Charities partnered with Our Lady of Mercy Parish and the Boca Grande community to collect food, water, cleaning supplies and personal/baby care items for victims of Hurricane Irma. The school was grateful to help families who suffered damage and loss due to the storm. The collection gave the children the opportunity to learn about sharing and helping people in need. Since the storm was a little scary for the students, Firefighter Dean of the Boca Grande Fire Department provided storm safety lessons as a part of Fire Safety and Prevention Month in October. The students also took a walking field trip to the Public Safety Complex on Gasparilla Island to tour the Boca Grande Fire Department and the Boca Grande office of the Lee County Sheriff's Office. In October, the Boca Grand Child Care Center also learned about trick-or-treat safety and participated in many pumpkin related STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) activities!

Venice--The 2017 Sugar Bowl Show of Shows was a full house success at the Venice Performing Arts Center. Sponsored by Catholic Charities and the local Knights of Columbus Councils, the show featured Beatles tribute act the Nowhere Band. Covering the full spectrum of the Beatles' long and varied career, the Nowhere Band created an unparalleled reproduction of Beatles performances blending period costumes and authentic instruments.  Walmart was the Presenting Sponsor and the Venice Gondolier Sun was the Media Sponsor along with a long list of other generous sponsors.  Cub Scout Pack 1001 and Boy Scout Troop 1001 sold refreshments to the crowd.  All proceeds go to the Sugar Bowl Fund for families in the community who are experiencing a financial hardship.  In 2017 through September the fund assisted 20 families with 57 children with $21,411. Due to the overwhelming success of the Show of Shows for the past 11 years, the Sugar Bowl Fund will aid two additional programs of Catholic Charities which include Our Mother's House and New Paradigm. Families who have  successfully completed the programs will receive support to relocate to permanent housing. Thank you to our sponsors and all who attended the show!

Housing Counseling and Foreclosure Prevention

Bradenton--The Housing Counseling and Foreclosure Prevention Program of Catholic Charities received a grant for $6,000 from Wells Fargo. The program assists clients in developing a financial budget, getting out of debt, understanding and improving a credit report, buying or refinancing a home, or working with a lender in a default loan situation. Catholic Charities also provides the Home Buyer Education Class (right) which is free of charge and available monthly in English and Spanish.  Participants in the class are eligible for assistance from Manatee and Sarasota counties bond and/or grant programs for down payment and closing costs. For more information and to register for the class, please call Catholic Charities at 941-714-7829.  Upcoming classes include December 11 and 12 in English, and December 2 in Spanish.  Thank you to Wells Fargo!
Our Mother's House

Venice--Catholic Charities participated in the Community Foundation of Sarasota County Summer Site Visit Shuffle. Members of the nonprofit community stopped by Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities to receive a tour of the program. Our Mother's House provides transitional housing to homeless mothers and their children along with education and training to help them become self-sufficient. The Summer Site Visit Shuffle involved 29 non-profit organizations offering to host site visits to fellow organizations. It was a valuable experience for Catholic Charities!


Immokalee--Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities offers the Pantry on Wheels that distributes food to people that are unable to come to the food pantry. The program delivers bags of food to residents who lack transportation or are home bound. Monthly, volunteers and staff deliver about 100 bags of food to people in the community. The Epiphany Cathedral Youth Group from Venice spent a day dropping off food bags to residents and offering fellowship. Catholic Charities  plans to distribute special family holiday food bags through the Pantry on Wheels program and the food pantry for Thanksgiving. This year's goal is ambitious - 700 family bags! Thank you to our young volunteers for offering this special outreach to those who are living life on the margins.