Summer 2017 - In This Issue:
Arcadia--All Faiths Food Bank is nourishing children and their families in DeSoto County all summer long by partnering with the Sarasota County School District Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). Children 18 years old and younger enjoy a healthy lunch prepared and served by FNS and funded by the USDA summer food program at three Arcadia locations including Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities farm worker community. This partnership has provided meals during the summer throughout Sarasota and DeSoto Counties since the inception of All Faith's Food Bank's Campaign Against Summer Hunger in 2014. The children also are provided daily snack packs available at the two Casa San Juan Bosco community centers. Thank you for providing meals and snacks to our families this summer!

Refugee Resettlement Program

Sarasota--Refugee Resettlement Program of Catholic Charities Volunteer Joan Streit (left) travels to the home of Natalia once a week to teach her English as a second language. Natalia is a refugee from the Ukraine who recently came to Southwest Florida with her family. Joan also teaches English to Natalia's husband and daughter as well so the whole family can become self-sufficient in their new life in America. We appreciate your volunteer service!
After-School Reading Program

Fort Myers--Maria Casiano, who attends the AFCAAM of Catholic Charities After-School Reading Program, received the Fort Myers Police Department's Do the Right Thing Award for reporting an unsafe situation.  The goal of the program is to recognize good kids for their accomplishments and reinforce their positive behavior to show them they can be role models for other youth. It also helps foster relationships between the police department, school system, and local businesses. This program can enhance the relationship between underprivileged youth and officers.  AFCAAM of Catholic Charities provides health and safety education to the elementary students in the After-School Reading Program along with individualized reading instruction. Congratulations Maria!
New Paradigm of
Catholic Charities

Englewood--Thank you to Quarters for a Cause for hosting a Quarter Auction to benefit New Paradigm of Catholic Charities. The event was packed with more than 60 people at the Englewood Elks Lodge. Auction items were donated by local businesses and the lively evening included door prizes, gift raffle baskets, and a 50/50 raffle. New Paradigm of Catholic Charities provides affordable, transitional housing to families in Charlotte County who are at risk of becoming homeless. The two-year program is designed to help families develop the skills necessary to live an independent life through financial training, credit repair services, counseling,and parenting classes.

Sarasota--Bethesda House of Catholic Charities, a drop-in community center for people living with HIV/AIDS, is celebrating the recent decision by the Sarasota City Commission to reopen the program's nutrition center. The City Zoning Commission voted to close the nutrition center in December 2016 for zoning reasons. After 27 years of operation, the more than 250 low-income clients of Bethesda House had no place to receive the high-protein and fresh nutritious food they need to remain healthy. The city commission agreed to review the devastating decision and Bethesda House clients were offered the use of the Caritas food pantry for non-perishable items. Through the generosity of Catholic parishes, donors, and community partners, grocery store gift cards also were distributed on a bi-weekly basis to clients so they could purchase fresh produce and protein. On June 19, the city commission approved new zoning language to allow Bethesda House to continue the nutrition center! The reopening happened in July.

Council of Catholic Women 

Venice--The Florida Council of Catholic Women (CCW) held the annual Hugs for Homeless fundraiser and the Venice Diocesan CCW allocated their portion of funds to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. A check for $7,120 was given to Catholic Charities to be used for programs that serve homeless clients and prevent homelessness in Southwest Florida. The Holy Angels Junior Council of Catholic Women at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula raised the most money within the Venice Diocesan CCW and all of the members of the council are teenage girls. The group was recognized with a service award (photo) for their outstanding efforts. "They are a wonderful group of young ladies," said Venice Diocesan CCW President Brenda Dolan. "They are the future of our church." Catholic Charities appreciates the support of the CCW!
Guadalupe Social Services 

Immokalee--Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities added a new program called Pantry on Wheels. Through the generosity of Publix Super Markets Charities, Inc., and Walmart, Guadalupe Social Services purchased a cargo van to deliver bags of food to residents who cannot get to the food pantry or are home bound. Monthly, volunteers and staff deliver 100 bags of food to people in the community. Catholic Charities is proud of staff and volunteers who recognized this need and sought out funding to provide this new food delivery program.
Boca Grande Child Care Center 

Boca Grande--The five-year-old children at the Boca Grande Child Care Center of Catholic Charities are excited and ready for kindergarten this August! The center is located on Gasparilla Island adjacent to Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church and serves 30 children from ages one to five. Most of the families do not live on the island but the parents are employed by local businesses. Parents can go to work each day confident that their children are nearby enjoying fun filled days packed with valuable experiences which help prepare them for kindergarten. The children participate in daily lessons and activities ranging from American Sign Language basics, colors and shapes, sorting and classifying, numbers and counting, letters and sounds, STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), art, music and more. This fall the center will proudly send 10 children off to kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed!

Bethesda House

Sarasota--Sister Frances Nevolo (right), the founder of Bethesda House of Catholic Charities, entered eternal life on May 15, 2017. Sister Frances was loved by everyone whose life she touched. Her warmth and kindness will always be remembered by the clients of Bethesda House...who found in her a tireless and courageous advocate and friend. We invite all the friends of Sr. Frances to attend a Memorial Mass to celebrate her life on August 17, 2017 at 12 noon at St. Martha Catholic Church located at 200 N. Orange Avenue in Sarasota.

Fort Myers--Representatives from the Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office organized a mock election for the teens enrolled in the AFCAAM of Catholic Charities Youth Mentoring Summer Camp. Students learned about the history of voting, why it is important, and how to register. The teens took part in an election by signing in with identification to receive a ballot, marking their ballots in a voting booth, and securely submitting their finished ballots. The students voted on six questions such as "What age should parents allow their teens to date?" and "Who is your favorite music artist?" and the results from the election were presented. "You must register to vote and participate in elections or somebody else will make decisions for you," said Artemis Kahl, Community and Education Services Director for the elections office.