“Providing Help, Creating Hope, Serving All!” – the mission statement of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc.
That simple statement encompasses a broad spectrum of programs of Catholic Charities which has provided food, clothing, shelter and a network of support services to people of all ages, all races and nationalities, and all religious backgrounds. The organization brings substantial relief and support to the most vulnerable populations in Southwest Florida. Every day, Catholic Charities strives to feed the hungry, comfort the brokenhearted, and shelter the homeless as it works to change lives for the better.
The destructive impacts wrought by Hurricane Ian caused the demand for help from Catholic Charities to skyrocket and the corresponding response was unprecedented.
Catholic Charities’ disaster response team was prepared and quickly opened 11 disaster relief sites throughout the Diocese. Staff and volunteers distributed 2,504 tons of supplies to more than 112,000 people in the immediate aftermath. In addition, teams served hot meals to upwards of 22,000 with the assistance of 2,000 volunteers. Donors and community partners came through with donations and supplies that allowed Catholic Charities to respond swiftly.
To enable Catholic Charities to continue to do its vital work, the 21st Annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal is taking place now through January 2023. A donation strengthens Catholic Charities to provide this much-needed support. This is accomplished through more than 35 programs in locations throughout the 10-county Diocese. These programs annually support more than 100,000 individuals and families in ways both large and small.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane noted that the support of Catholic Charities by the faithful of Southwest Florida is inspiring, as was witnessed in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, and is critical to ensure “our brothers and sisters in Christ continue to receive the help and support they need. Please remember that every number represents a child, family or individual who relies on the support of Catholic Charities to get through a crisis. Catholic Charities does a wonderful job in providing programs that not only help in a crisis, but assist in improving daily the lives of those they reach.”
Eddie Gloria, CEO of Catholic Charities DOV said a gift to the Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal will aid in the fight to end hunger, homelessness, human trafficking and will help support disaster relief, behavioral health, and education services.
“Your gift makes an impact,” Gloria said. “It is because of donations like yours we were able to supply food and pantry services to 195,354 people, assist 1,513 with housing, offer support to 5,020 victims of human trafficking, help 4,660 people with behavioral health services, and provide 14,007 educational services to children and adults, all in one year.”
One success story during 2022 was from Alexa, a recent graduate of Our Mother’s House, a residential program for mothers and their children who might otherwise be homeless.
Alexa came to Catholic Charities as a new mother with an infant only weeks old; she had nowhere to live, no resources to care for her son, no job, income, or hope for the future. She moved into Our Mother’s House and, during her 2-years there she not only finished her college degree but landed a high-paying project management position with one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
On her last day, while saying goodbyes, Alexa said, “Thank you for providing me with the help I needed to get back on my feet. Now I feel joy, and I’m hopeful about the future – because now I have one.”
Gloria said Alexa’s story is one of the many positive outcomes Catholic Charities has been privileged to support during the past year, and she is one of many who are “prepared for the possibilities of tomorrow because of donations like yours.”
The Christmas Appeal is also a thoughtful opportunity to give in memory of a loved one or to honor a family member or friend. Catholic Charities will send a Christmas card telling the special person about your generous gift.
To donate please mail a contribution to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285, or visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.