Catholic Charities E-News
Serving Southwest Florida 
In This Issue
Refugees Receive Job Training
First Annual Event for Veterans
New Community Garden for Farm Workers
Helping Homeless Mothers and Children
Large Crowd Attends Show of Shows
Festival Provides Food for Pantry
Save the Date!
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List 
Quick Links


"Like" Us on Facebook! 

Wish List 

Click and Give

The Fundraiser Hub



We are on The Fundraiser Hub! Catholic Charities can receive donations through purchases of the "deals of the day". Click on the logo to view big discounts on great items.
 Fall 2013



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.


Christmas Appeal needs your helping hand


It is not easy asking for help. But life is not easy for our clients. It is difficult to be hungry, lacking in resources and education, or without a home. On their behalf, we are seeking your assistance.


The 12th Annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal will take place during December 2013 and January 2014 and benefits Catholic Charities programs and services available throughout Southwest Florida. Our goal is to raise $500,000 this year for struggling families and individuals and seniors.


Your gift to the Christmas Appeal results in a better way of life for our clients. We are grateful for your generosity!

Click HERE to donate.
New HELP training offers useful job skills
Desiree Dayhoff of DoubleTree Suites (far left) and Yolanda Garcia of Catholic Charities (far right) flank the three HELP graduates Silvia Gonzalez, Yanys Mederos and Estela Rojas.


Naples--Double Tree Suites Executive Housekeeper Desiree Dayhoff proudly looked across the room at the three graduates of the new Hospitality Excellence Learning Project (HELP) and had a bit of deja vu. Like the graduates, she too was a refugee new to America in need of job skills to become self sufficient.


A former client of Refugees Employed and Productive (REAP) of Catholic Charities, Dayhoff initiated the HELP training in collaboration with Catholic Charities to provide housekeeping certification from Hilton Hotels to other newly arrived refugees. "This will give them a leg up in finding their first job," said Yolanda Garcia, REAP Program Coordinator. "They don't have prior job experience but with this training we already have job interviews lined up for them."


Silvia Gonzalez, Yanys Mederos, and Estela Rojas participated in HELP and studied English for Housekeeping, Housekeeping Basics and Best Practices, Hospitality, Green Lodging, Safety and Security, and Human Resources. The students were trained by existing housekeepers at the hotel. "I am ready for work," said Rojas.


At the graduation ceremony, the women received their certification along with a signature Double Tree cookie and a room key as a memento. "The staff at Double Tree were the first to open the doors to hospitality to you in America," said Dayhoff. "And our doors will always be open."


For more information about Refugees Employed and Productive of Catholic Charities, please call 941-351-9750.


Event will honor veterans with tribute to WWII

Venice--An event that took place in 2010 on the small island of Grosse Ile, Michigan that honored veterans will now happen on Venice Island as well. The first annual Venice Veterans Gala will be held Sunday, January 26 at 2 p.m. at the Venice Community Center.


The gala will salute all United States military veterans with a special tribute to the Greatest Generation. The event will feature a swing dance to the music of Lorri Hafer and the Ten O'clock Band, food and beverages, a silent auction, a display of military paraphernalia and classic cars, and much more.


Proceeds from the Venice Veterans Gala will benefit Veterans Housing of Catholic Charities, a residence for a needy veteran and his or her family, and Catholic Charities programs and services that assist veterans and their families. Proceeds from the gala also will support the Venice Museum and Archives. The event celebrates all veterans and this year will honor WWII veterans, so a small donation will go to the B-26 Marauder Historical Society and the American Rosie the Riveters.


Sponsorship opportunities are now available. SunTrust Banks, Inc. is the first sponsor and the event committee is looking for others who want to acknowledge and demonstrate appreciation for all military veterans in the community.


Back in 2010, family members of one of the WWII B-26 pilots decided to have a "small '40s style swing dance" for the B-26 Marauder Historical Society in Michigan. They wanted to honor this group of aging WWII heroes. As the plans went into action, the enthusiasm for the event manifested among the local VFW and spread throughout the entire community. Quickly the small swing dance took on a life of its own and became an annual gala. The pilot's family brought the idea to Venice so a similar event could be started.


For more information about becoming a sponsor of the Venice Veterans Gala, please call Catholic Charities at 941-488-5581. Click HERE to purchase event tickets.  

Garden takes root in farm worker community
Brittany Rowan (left), 4-H Program Assistant, and Kristie Popa, 4-H Agent for DeSoto County, prepare raised beds for the Casa San Juan Bosco community garden.
Arcadia--The community garden at Casa San Juan Bosco farm worker housing development is taking shape due to the generosity of several businesses and organizations in DeSoto County. Mosiac and the Extension Office donated supplies for the new neighborhood bed and employees of Mosiac and Federal Express volunteered to create the garden. Leaders and youth from the local 4-H club also helped prepare the field so that residents could begin growing flowers and vegetables there. The Catholic Charities residential program is home to 53 farm workers and their families. The community garden is part of the enrichment services offered to the adults and children living in Casa San Juan Bosco. For more information, please call 863-884-2134.
Grant provides services for needy mothers and children  
Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities Director Joyce Scott (left) and Catholic Charities District Director of Sarasota and Manatee Counties Jacquie Crombie (right) accept a grant from Lakewood Ranch Community Fund Board Member Angela Massaro-Fain.
Lakewood Ranch--Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities was one of 21 programs to receive a grant this year from the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund. The fund dispersed $68,422 and the Catholic Charities program received a $2,000 check to use for the cost for a family to live for one month at the residential program. Our Mother's House serves homeless mothers and their children with a safe place to live and programming and counseling to help them to become self sufficient. For more information about Our Mother's House, please call 941-485-6264.

6th annual Show of Shows brings in largest crowd  

Sugar Bowl Show of Shows Committee Chairperson Dick Maier greets Lois Sullenberger, wife of the late Bob Sullenberger, before the start of the 6th Annual Show of Shows. Bob Sullenberger was a co-founder of the event and was honored at the show for his devotion to the fundraiser and the needy families who benefit from it.
Venice--A record-setting crowd of more than 700 people attended the 6th Annual Sugar Bowl Show of Shows this year. Brian Gurl and his band entertained the enthusiastic audience at the Venice Community Center. The fundraiser benefits the Sugar Bowl Fund which helps local families who are experiencing a financial hardship. Assistance is given to the family to pay for rent, utilities, car repair or medications to help them overcome their crisis. Thank you to all who came out to the Show of Shows and made it a huge success!

Feed the Need Festival brings in food for pantry  

Fort Myers--The Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida held the Feed the Need of our Community Food Drive and Family Music Festival at the Alliance of the Arts Amphitheater. Attendees were asked to bring nonperishable food items for admission. Proceeds from the event benefited Catholic Charities of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties and St. Matthews House. A total of 2,300 pounds of food was donated for the two charities for their pantries. The event included food, family activities, creative and inspiring vendors, and musical performances by LifeSwitch, Unity 44, For A Season, and other local artists. For more information about the Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida, please call 239-481-1411. For more information about Catholic Charities of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties, please call 239-337-4193.

Save the date for our upcoming fundraisers  

Please join us for a Catholic Charities Event near you! 
  • December 10 ~ A Night at DUSK in Naples
  • January 25 ~ Catholic Charities Ball in Sarasota
  • January 26 ~ Venice Veterans Gala in Venice
  • February 27 ~ Our Mother's House Wine Tasting in Venice
  • March 1 ~ Venetian Charity Ball in Fort Myers
  • March 4 ~ Bethesda House Mardi Gras Madness in Sarasota
  • March 8 ~ Boots and Bandannas Dinner Dance in Lake Suzy
  • March 15 ~ Emerald Ball in Naples
  • April 11 ~ Charity Golf Classic in Fort Myers

Click HERE for more details about all of our upcoming events!

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