Catholic Charities E-News
Serving Southwest Florida 
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Affordable Housing for Families
Collier County Volunteer Honored
Board Member Recognized
Angel Tree Helps Thousands
Show of Shows a Success
Cardinal Mooney Students Donate Food
Holiday Party Benefits Arcadia
An 8th Grader's Challenge
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 Winter 2012
Greetings!  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 ... Christmas Appeal is a success! 

Thank you for contributing to the 10th Annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal. We appreciate the support you have given over the past decade. Today, your gifts totaled over $450,000 helping us achieve our goal!

If you have not had a chance to send in your gift, please mail your donation to Catholic Charities, 5824 Bee Ridge Road, PMB 409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065 or click HERE to donate online 

Your gift provides funding for the many Catholic Charities programs and services available throughout Southwest Florida. Your generosity enables us to assist those seeking help all year long. We are grateful to all of you for your on-going support. Thank you for helping your neighbors in need.

Patron party kicks off Catholic Charities event season


Catholic Charities Ball Sponsors Lee Peterson (left to right) and Bridget Spiess with Maryl Hermanson, Bishop Frank Dewane, and Angela and Dermott Dunne.

The Catholic Charities Ball Patron Party was held January 10 at Northern Trust Bank in Sarasota with sponsors in attendance. The Patron Party is the first of several events happening to support the programs and services of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc.


We invite you to attend one of our fundraisers in your community. It is an opportunity to have a good time doing good for others!


Sarasota ~ Catholic Charities Ball on January 28 at the Ritz Carlton. For more information call 941-355-4680.


Sarasota ~ Mardi Gras Madness on February 18 at the Sarasota Yacht Club. For more information call 941-355-4680.


Venice ~ Our Mother's House Wine Tasting Auction and Dinner Dance on February 23 at Plantation Golf and Country Club. For more information call 941-485-6264.


Fort Myers ~ Venetian Charity Ball on March 3 at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point. For more information call 239-823-7928.


Lake Suzy ~ Boots and Bandannas Dinner Dance on March 10 at Kingsway Country Club. For more information call 863-494-1068.


Naples ~ Emerald Ball on March 17 at the Ritz Carlton Tiburon. For more information call 239-455-2655.


Complex for low-income families opens with blessing 

Students from St. Martha's Early Learning Center of Catholic Charities  entertain with songs.

Sarasota--A housing complex, owned and developed by Catholic Charities Housing Sarasota, Inc., that is designated for low-income families officially opened with a Ribbon Cutting and Blessing Ceremony on November 21. The event happened at the facility which is called St. Dominic Manor.


Bishop Frank J. Dewane of the Diocese of Venice officiated the ceremony. The children who attend St. Martha's Early Learning Center of Catholic Charities led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance and entertained with several  uplifting songs.


 Read more...  

Volunteer John Fitzgerald honored for service   


Catholic Charities of Collier County Volunteer John Fitzgerald receives his honor.

Naples--John Fitzgerald, a long time volunteer for Catholic Charities of Collier County, was recognized as a Distinguished Volunteer from the Everglades Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The award was presented to Fitzgerald on November 4 at the Ritz Carlton at the National Philanthropy Day event.


Fitzgerald not only is a volunteer but has served Catholic Charities as a board member. He also is the founder and organizer of the Undy Sunday fundraiser, which collects new underwear and socks for needy school children through 45 Collier County churches and synagogues. More than 650,000 undergarments have been collected through the Undy Sunday event in the past 15 years.  


Board Member Susie Walters recognized for fundraising   
Susie Walters (center, right) is joined by her husband Cliff (left to right), daughter Sara, and father Albert Simkus.

Sarasota--The Southwest Florida Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. Board of Director Member Susie Walters as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser. Walters received her award on November 15 at Michael's On East at the National Philanthropy Day event.


Walters, past board chair, was recognized for her involvement in fundraising on behalf of Catholic Charities, as well as Community Coalition on Homelessness, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity, Realize Bradenton, and The Knight Foundation. Walters also is a member of the Catholic Charities Development and Public Relations Committee. 


Angel Tree Program helps over a thousand children


Children who attend the After School Program at Clare House of Catholic Charities receive gifts from the Angel Tree Program.
Children at the After School Program at Clare House of Catholic Charities receive gifts from the Angel Tree Program.

Fort Myers--Catholic Charities of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties were able to provide more than one thousand children with Christmas gifts this year due to the generosity of several area parishes. They include Blessed Pope John XXIII, St. Andrew, St. Cecilia, St. Isabel, St. Francis, Church of the Resurrection of Our Lord, St. Leo, St. Therese Mission, St. Katharine Drexel, and San Marco.


Catholic Charities employees and volunteers, and Christian Brothers distributed the fun and educational toys, clothing, diapers and gift cards to needy children and families. Many home bound seniors also were included in the gift giving program this year.



Event enjoyed by many while helping Sugar Bowl Fund   


Jacquie Crombie of Catholic Charities, (left to right), Dick Maier of the Knights of Columbus, Peter Routsis-Arroyo and Mary Koctur of Catholic Charities, and Mike Costanza, Dick Pillart, and Bob Sullenberger all of the Knights of Columbus at the Show of Shows.


Venice--About 600 people attended the fourth annual Sugar Bowl Show of Shows that benefited the Sugar Bowl Fund which helps local families suffering from economic hardship. The event was held at the Venice Community Center and featured Motown greats Al Holland and Glen Leonard.  


The Sugar Bowl Fund is a partnership between Catholic Charities and the Knights of Columbus Councils of Venice, Englewood, North Port, and Grove City.  In 2011, 50 families with 126 children were assisted through the program with almost $26,000 raised by the Knights of Columbus.   



High school students donate food for pantry  


Members of the Cardinal Mooney High School Key Club delivered food to Bethesda House of Catholic Charities.

Sarasota--Students at Cardinal Mooney High School donated a variety of food items to Bethesda House of Catholic Charities. Bethesda House operates a food pantry and distributed the donated items to clients in holiday meal baskets. A total of 1,182 pounds of food was given to Bethesda House by the local Catholic high school. Members of the Cardinal Mooney Key Club organized the collection and delivered the food. Bethesda House is a drop-in center that offers professional, compassionate support services for people suffering with HIV/AIDS.



Holiday party benefits rural poor in Arcadia 


Sister Ann DeNicolo of Catholic Charities of DeSoto County (center) is surrounded by the four hostesses of the party and donated gifts.
For the past eight years, a group of women from Sarasota have hosted a holiday party that benefits Catholic Charities of DeSoto County. The event is called "Christmas Cheer" and participants are asked to bring toiletries for the needy clients of the Catholic Charities agency located in Arcadia. 

This year over 90 women attended the party on December 8 hosted by Vicki Doyle, Cindy Mercurio, Kim McCabe and Jane Norton. Staff at Catholic Charities of DeSoto County estimate the amount of items donated will be enough to last six months. 


Can you raise more money than an 8th grader?

Haley Bossart

Naples--Haley Bossart, an 8th grade student at The Village School, challenged family, friends and the community to raise as much money or more than she can for Catholic Charities of Collier County.

Haley launched her campaign "Can you raise more money than an 8th grader?" on Facebook and already has collected more than a $1,000. Haley first heard about Catholic Charities through her mother's participation on the Emerald Ball Committee, a fundraiser for the organization. She told Haley about the programs of Catholic Charities that receive proceeds from the charity ball including those that help children that often do not have enough food to eat or a place to live.   

Haley began her fundraising campaign with her own personal money from her savings account. Her goal is to raise $20,000. If you want to help Haley support underprivledged children in Collier County click HERE to visit her Facebook page or call Catholic Charities of Collier County at 239-455-2655. 

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. serves the ten-county area of Southwest Florida.