Winter 2020 - In This Issue:
North Port--The Goldtones entertained a crowd of about 275 people at the inaugural Sugar Bowl Show of Shows at the North Port Performing Arts Center. Known as "Florida's hottest doo-wop group," the singers provided a stroll down memory lane with hits from the 50's and 60's.

Sponsored by Catholic Charities and the Knights of Columbus, the event benefited the Sugar Bowl Fund which helps families experiencing financial difficulty in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. Since 2010, a total of 390 families with 883 children have been assisted with $291,860. The Sugar Bowl Fund assists low-income families with children 18-years-old and younger with rent, utilities, medical and transportation expenses, and with relocation fees to resolve their crisis. 

The Presenting Sponsor of the show was Walmart and the Media Sponsor was the Venice Gondolier Sun. The Knights of Columbus councils raise all donations for the Sugar Bowl Fund. The Annual Sugar Bowl Show of Shows is a major fundraiser for the fund with a show in Venice in the Fall, North Port in the Winter and Bradenton in the Spring.  Thank you to everyone who attended the event!

Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center

Naples-- The Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities is grateful for the overwhelming generosity of the students at St. John Neumann Catholic High School for donating over 11,000 cans of food!

The donation will feed 200 working poor families in Collier County. Principal Sister Pat Roche was so impressed by the efforts of the students she gave them a well-deserved afternoon off from school.Thank you for your support!

For more information contact Catholic Charities at  239-793-0059 or 
Sarasota--The Catholic Charities Ball Sponsor Party was held at the Field Club with anticipation rising for the gala on Saturday, February 8. The 2020 fundraiser will take place at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Ballroom and will feature special guest speaker and two-time Florida Gator national champion Tim Tebow. All proceeds will benefit the programs and services of Catholic Charities in Sarasota and Manatee counties. 

Tebow is also a  first-round NFL draft pick and Heisman Trophy winner. In addition, he serves as a college football analyst for ESPN. Prior to joining ESPN, Tebow played three years in the NFL for the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets. Currently, Tebow is pursuing a career in professional baseball as a member of the New York Mets.

Catholic Charities lifts people out of poverty and positively impacts their lives. The mission is to empower clients through support services, transitional housing and education to regain self-sufficiency. With compassion, integrity and empathy as core values, the doors of Catholic Charities are open to all people in need regardless of race, nationality or creed.

The theme of the gala is "Puttin' It On At The Ritz" and presenting sponsors include Northern Trust and the Spiess-Restieri Families. Anyone interested in attending to support the work of Catholic Charities and hearing this dynamic professional athlete and celebrity, please call 941-355-4680, ext. 301, email or click on the link below for information and tickets.

Our Mother's House 

Englewood--About 130 guests showed up at the Boca Royale Golf and Country Club for a  "jawsome" night of fun, food, music and fundraising with the Shark Sisters! 

The Jammin' for the Mamas event featured the popular local music trio and a ll proceeds benefited Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities which serves homeless mothers and their children and helps them to achieve self-sufficiency.  A total of $6,698 was raised for the program!

For more information contact Catholic Charities at 941-485 -6264  or
Arcadia--The 20 students attending the Casa San Juan Bosco After School Activities Program are learning how to grow and care for plants. The Catholic Charities housing development is for farm worker families and offers enrichment programs to the residents.

DeSoto County Extension Agent Katelyn Mulinix instructs the youth twice a month as part of the  University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IAS) Extension Services. 

The program  cultivates and inspires leadership in youth by administering the statewide Florida 4-H Youth Development Program. Valuing a hands-on approach to learning, 4-H provides youth with opportunities to develop skills, accrue knowledge and explore career paths with projects and events on a broad selection of topics from agriculture to robotics to mock government.

"The children are loving the experience of growing their own plants," said Catholic Charities Education Coordinator Clara Alvarez. "They check on their progress every day. These skills are beneficial for a lifetime."

For more information contact Catholic Charities at 863-884-2134 or

AFCAAM Youth Mentoring  

F ort Myers--AFCAAM of Catholic Charities Youth Mentoring Program students and six police officers from the Fort Myers Police Department came together for the second annual Gaining Appreciation by Adjusting Perspectives (GAAP) roundtable discussion. 

Local Delinquency Prevention Specialist Sandra Ferguson with the Department of Juvenile Justice coordinated the event. GAAP was created as a tool to open lines of communication between youth and law enforcement.

GAAP conversations provide an effective, non-threatening relationship building forum where youth develop better understanding of the duties of law enforcement officers and where law enforcement officers gain a wider perspective of youth's current worldview.  Discussions included profiling, community safety, roles and responsibilities of officers, careers in law enforcement and personal testimonies. Both sides openly shared their views and hopes for the future, including better relationships between youth and law enforcement which is the goal of the program.

For more information contact Catholic Charities at 239-461-0233, ext. 203 or
Sarasota--Gloria Romero-Hutchinson is a new Regional Director for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. She will oversee programs and services located in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties.

Romero-Hutchinson formerly worked for the Williamson County Children's Advocacy Center in Georgtown, Texas in resource development and prior to that was the President and Co-founder of The Victory Campaign in Austin, Texas. Also in Austin, she was a consultant for nonprofit agencies and served as Chief of Staff at Girl Scouts of Central Texas. 

"I love that I get to live my faith," said Romero-Hutchinson about joining the Catholic Charities team. "It is like coming home to me." 

Romero-Hutchinson grew up in a family of 12 children that was very devoted and involved in their Catholic Church. Her family at times received assistance from Catholic Charities. "I never worried as a child because I always knew Catholic Charities would be there to help us," she said. "I want to give our clients that same comfort of knowing that we are here to help and that somebody cares about them."

As the Regional Director, Romero-Hutchinson will be responsible for the success of a diverse set of community-based programs and will work as part of the senior leadership team at Catholic Charities to ensure excellence in program development, project management, operations and best practice standards. 

"Catholic Charities is often the last hope for people and that makes a difference in how we manage our services. We must do our best to find the right solutions to help them," she said. "When people are living on the margins, it doesn't take much for them to become unstable. We must always offer them grace."

To contact Gloria Romero-Hutchinson please call 941-355-4680, ext. 309 or email

Catholic Charities DeSoto County

Arcadia--About 100 residents of the Catholic Charities housing communities Casa San Juan Bosco for farm worker families and St. John Paul II Villas for seniors gathered for a Christmas Potluck Dinner. 

Dishes such as ham, green bean casserole, mole, rice and many more holiday treats were shared. The highlight of the celebration was a performance from the Casa San Juan Bosco Folkloric Dancers. A bounce house and gifts for the children were also part of the occasion along with live music and fellowship.

F or more information contact Catholic Charities at 863-884-2134 or
Fort Myers--The AFCAAM of Catholic Charities After-School Reading Program is known for its individualized reading instruction for struggling and disadvantaged students in kindergarten through fifth grade in the Harlem Heights and Dunbar communities.

As part of the outreach effort, students also receive free books each year to build their personal home libraries. The staff communicates and partners with parents to encourage a bridge of literacy between home and school.  The children receive brand new books at their grade level with the added benefit of providing younger siblings access to books as well.  

The After-School Reading Program provides over 350 hours of intensive reading instruction in a safe educational environment with a student to teacher ratio of 12:1. 
The focus of the program is to improve reading skills and create a love of reading as both are critical for overall academic success.

For more information contact Catholic Charities at 239-461-0233, ext. 212 or

Catholic Charities DeSoto County

Sarasota-- A group of dedicated volunteers hosted the 16th Annual Christmas Cheer event which benefits Catholic Charities of DeSoto County. 

Party goers all brought their Christmas spirit along with personal care items for people in need in Arcadia and the surrounding communities. Everyone enjoyed holiday festivities and learned more how their donations will support Catholic Charities clients for the next several months.  Thank you to Hostesses Jane Norton, Jacqueline Kelly, Gretchen Kennelly, Vicki Doyle and Cindy Mercurio!

For more information contact Catholic Charities at 863-494-1068 or