Catholic Charities E-News
Serving Southwest Florida 
In This Issue
Catholic Charities Ball
Protection for Haitians
Venetian Ball Patron Party
Making a Difference
Upcoming Events
Pajama Program
Volunteer Appreciation
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Celebrating 25 Years of Service Winter 2010
We invite you to take a few minutes to learn more about the work of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. If you have any questions, reply and let us know. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your colleagues, friends and family.
How You Helped...  
Thank you to our more than 2,600 donors for your generous gifts to the 8th Annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal.
Your donations totaled $331,611. Your kind support allows Catholic Charities to help your neighbors who are experiencing problems in these difficult times.
Thank you again for your outstanding generosity!
Patriotic gala celebrates "Home"  


Sarasota--A patriotic atmosphere prevailed at the 21st Annual Catholic Charities Ball on Saturday, January 30 at the Ritz Carlton Ballroom. Around 320 people attended the gala, called An Evening in America, which supported the services and programs of Catholic Charities of Sarasota and Manatee Counties. The theme of the event was "Home is where OUR heart is..."

Pictured in the photo above with Guest of Honor Bishop Frank J. Dewane are the chairwomen of the ball which included Mary Kenealy-Barbetta (left to right), Helen Nugent, Bridget Spiess and Julie Delaney.
Immigration program helps clients
receive special designation 

Bradenton--Due to the devastating circumstances surrounding the recent earthquake that hit Haiti, the United States Department of Homeland Security established a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010.
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Immigration Caseworkers have been working hard to assist Southwest Florida Haitians with the process.
Lee County supporters kick off fundraiser 


Fort Myers--A Patron Party was held on January 27 to honor the generous donors of the upcoming Venetian Charity Ball which benefits Catholic Charities of Lee County. Dr. and Mrs. Tom Carrasquillo of North Fort Myers held the event at their spacious, Spanish-style home.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane (photo above, left to right) was the special guest and was greeted by Mrs. Carrasquillo and Catholic Charities Housing Board Member Dick Porell.
Mentoring coordinator lauded
for community contributions 

Fort Myers--Her role model is Harriet Tubman, a slave who freed hundreds of others through the Underground Railroad, and her greatest success is becoming the first African-American TV reporter in this community where she was born and raised. Veronica Dickens Barber, mentoring coordinator for the African Caribbean American Catholic Center (AFCAAM), was recently recognized as a finalist for the Apex Awards from the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce.

The award is a tribute to outstanding women for their professional achievement, community service and volunteerism, and personal development and leadership skills. Barber was "genuinely surprised and honored" that she was chosen as one of five finalists from a group of 30 candidates. "I do what I do out of a love for God's people," she said.

From black-tie to cowboy boots...
variety of ways to help Catholic Charities
There are many exciting opportunities to support your favorite Catholic Charities programs while having a good time.
  • Boots and Bandannas Dinner Dance--Saturday, February 20.
  • Our Mother's House Wine Tasting and Dinner Auction--Thursday, February 25.
  • Venetian Charity Ball--Saturday, February 27.
  • Emerald Ball--Saturday, March 20.
  • Doctors for Charity--Saturday, April 10.
Click below for complete details about the events listed above!
Students collect pajamas and books
for Catholic Charities of DeSoto County
Arcadia--Catholic Charities of DeSoto County received 450 pairs of new pajamas and books through a national organization called the Pajama Program. Students at St. Martha's Elementary School in Sarasota collected the items for Catholic Charities. They were presented at a recent school assembly where the younger students were dressed in pajamas.
"Many of the gifts came with notes or handmade cards wishing the recipient well," said Andrea Herigodt, Program Director of Catholic Charities of DeSoto County. "We will pass out the pajamas to the children in our After School Program and their siblings, as well as children of families who come to our office for other needs. Many of these children have not had the luxury of a pair of pajamas, let alone a brand new book."
The gift of time is priceless at Bethesda House


Sarasota--An appreciation luncheon was held recently for the 30 volunteers of Bethesda House of Catholic Charities, an HIV/AIDS Ministries program. As a gift, they received hand-written thank you notes from clients. Bethesda House volunteers work about 592 hours a month--a dollar value of $10,800.
"Their real value is immeasurable," said Sandra Gallagher, Director of HIV/AIDS Ministries of Catholic Charities. "Our food pantry is staffed entirely by volunteers and without them we would not have one. They are a committed, invaluable resource, and they accept and respect our client population." Volunteers also work in the clothes closet, tutor clients, and teach computer and life skills. To volunteer please call 941-366-1886.
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. serves the ten-county area of Southwest Florida.