by Bob Reddy, Florida Catholic (5/2/12)
NAPLES â€“Â The generosity and dedication of the many unsung supporters of Catholic Charities was on full display during numerous events and fundraisers from January through March.
Huge crowds participated in each of the main events which include: the Catholic Charities Ball and Mardi Grass inSarasotaCounty; Wine Tasting inVenice; Boots and Bandannas inDeSotoCounty; Venetian Ball inLeeCounty; and the Emerald Ball in Collier County.
Individuals, parishes and businesses stepped up to make these events a success. Each event serves to help support programs of Catholic Charities which aide approximately 40,000 individuals and families each year.
Those helped are often the neediest in the community, who would have nowhere else to turn without Catholic Charities, said Catholic Charities CEO Peter Routsis-Arroyo.Â â€śThis year was by far the most financially successful in the history of our events and it is a tremendous testament to the generosity and dedication shown by our Bishop, our parishes and those that support the mission of Catholic Charities.â€ť
Bishop Frank J. Dewane noted that the support of Catholic Charities is a testament to the work of the Catholic Charities in reaching out in the community.
â€śI extend my heartfelt appreciation to the faithful and their generous spirit shown at this yearâ€™s Catholic Charity events,â€ť Bishop Dewane said. â€śIt is a true testament to their faith, and the good work of Catholic Charities, that the support is higher than it has ever been this is even in the midst of difficult economic times. The community support helps develop a partnership with Catholic Charities in their mission to improve the lives of those who are suffering.â€ť
The 2012 Catholic Charities Ball was Jan. 28 at the Ritz-Carlton inSarasota. The event supports the programs inSarasotaand Manatee counties. The theme of the evening was â€śProviding Help, Creating Hope. Serving All.â€ť Time was taken to honor Eileen Donovan, who died in 2011. Donovan had been honorary co-chair of the event for many years and was recognized for her unfailing support of Catholic Charities.
The Mardis Gras Madness was held Feb. 18 at the Sarasota Yacht Club. The event helps support the programs of Bethesda House, a HIV/AIDS community support center.
This year, the Wine Tasting to support Our Motherâ€™s House also served to celebrate the programâ€™s 25th Anniversary. Held on Feb. 23 at Plantation Golf and Country Club inVenice, the support and love shown was overwhelming. The evening included past residents who shared their emotional success stories as they fondly remembered being part of the transitional residential program which helps homeless mothers and infants become self-sufficient.
The Venetian Charity Ball supports the Catholic Charities programs in Lee, Glades and Hendry counties. It was held March 3 at a new location in 2012, the Hyatt Coconut Point inFort Myers. During the evening Rosemary Quinlan Kelly, a longtime supporter of Catholic Charities, was presented the 2012 Frank S. Galeana Sr. Humanitarian Award.
The Boots and Bandannas dinner and auction was at Kingsway Golf and Country Club inLakeSuzy. The event supports the programs inDeSotoCountyand has a cowboy theme each year. Former event co-chair and longtime Catholic Charities support Rose Sherrard was honored. She died earlier in 2012.
The Emerald Ball, which annually has a Irish-theme, took place on St. Patrickâ€™s Day, March 17 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort inNaples. The event supports the programs of Catholic Charities inCollierCounty. Naturally, many people were dressed in green. The James McTague Humanitarian Award Honorees were Richard and Barbara Mack. The Macks have been supporters of Catholic Charities inCollierCountyfor many years, starting with volunteering at a food pantry in 1986.
For more information about how to continue to support Catholic Charities and its many programs, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or call 941-484-9543.