Nearly 75 parish and leadership volunteers, clergy and staff of Catholic Charities gathered for a volunteer training workshop and luncheon Saturday to start the 2011 Appeal for Catholic Charities in western Niagara County. The event was held at Antonio’s Restaurant on Niagara Falls Boulevard in preparation for the 2011 Appeal, which carries a goal of $10.5 million.

The theme of the 87th annual campaign is again, “Whoever. Wherever. Whenever.” because Catholic Charities is always there, providing help for people of all faiths and walks of life when they need it most. Appeal Week 2011, celebrating those who already have donated and encouraging others to follow that lead, will take place April 10-17, though the Appeal will continue through the end of the fiscal year (June 30).

At the luncheon Saturday, Bishop Edward U. Kmiec remarked on the number of people assisted by Catholic Charities in the area and the importance of the appeal to that assistance, especially in light of the continued challenges of the local economy.

“Last year, Catholic Charities helped 10,824 people in western Niagara County through its programs and services,” Kmiec said. “This far-reaching and vitally important support relies on the funds raised during the Appeal. We have already seen a loss of government funding for our programs and services at the federal, state and county levels, and expect more of the same in 2011.”

Kmiec was joined by Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, Catholic Charities diocesan director; Dennis Walczyk, Catholic Charities chief executive officer; Greg Maher, chair of the 2011 Appeal; members of the Appeal leadership team; and community volunteers, clergy and lay leaders from 10 parishes in Western Niagara County.

In addition, Julie Walters, who with her daughter participated in the Multisystemic Therapy program, shared her story with volunteers.

Walters, a single mom, and her daughter experienced a troubled relationship for several years until she learned about Catholic Charities’ Multisystemic Therapy program in which therapists support the family in the home and are available around the clock.

“Jackie (my therapist) was like a lifeline to me,” Walters said. “She was the support system I never had. While many of the suggestions she made were common sense, her support gave me the nerve to implement them. And to my amazement, things slowly began to improve.”

“The truth is, life isn’t perfect in our house, but it is one thousand percent better than before I met Jackie. And for that, I am truly grateful.”

In western Niagara County, Catholic Charities provides these services at the following offices: Basic assistance, counseling for individuals, couples and families, Our Kids: Parent Education Awareness Program, Child Permanency Mediation, Domestic Violence Program for Men, Kinship Caregiver Program at 265 Third St., Niagara Falls; Monsignor Carr Institute Children’s Mental Health Clinics, 620 Tronolone Place, Niagara Falls and 1465 Payne Ave., North Tonawanda; and the WIC (Women, Infant and Children nutrition program), 237 Fourth St.,Niagara Falls and 1208 Oliver St. in St. Peter’s Church, North Tonawanda.

The 2011 Appeal is under the patronage of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. For more information on the 2011 Appeal or to make a donation, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to

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