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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.  

Catholic Charities Events
Mary Kenealy-Barbetta (left to right), Bishop Frank Dewane, Danielle and Nick Gladding, and Julie and Phil Delaney at the Catholic Charities Ball Patron Party.
The Catholic Charities Ball Patron Party was held on the top floor of the Northern Trust Bank in Sarasota and served as the kick off to the Catholic Charities event season. We hope to see you at one of our fundraisers that support Catholic Charities programs and services.


Upcoming events include:


Catholic Charities Ball on January 31 in Sarasota

Venetian Charity Ball on February 14 in Bonita Springs

Venice Veterans Gala on February 15 in Venice

 Mardi Gras Madness on February 17 in Sarasota

Our Mother's House Wine Tasting, Auction and Dinner Dance on February 26 in Venice

Emerald Ball
on March 14 in Naples

Boots and Bandannas
on March 21 in Port Charlotte

AFCAAM Charity Golf Classic on April 10 in Fort Myers

Click HERE for event information and tickets.
Feeding the Hungry  

Naples--Pelican Sound Golf and River Club and St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish will host Feeding Hunger Filling Hearts to benefit Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities in Immokalee. The event will be held on Ash Wednesday, February 18  at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the St. John the Evangelist Ballroom.  


Attendees will receive a humble meal of soup and bread and hear the powerful stories of hope for the those struggling to meet their most basic needs in Immokalee. Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities provides a soup kitchen, clothing room, shower program, food pantry, immigration services, financial assistance and English classes. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children. Come and share soup for the soul!


Click HERE to purchase tickets.  


Holiday Help
Bethesda House Program Director Kevin McKinney accepts donated food and money from the Cardinal Mooney High School St. Vincent de Paul Society.
St. Martha Parish Council of Catholic Women.
Sarasota--Bethesda House of Catholic Charities received overwhelming support from the community to ensure clients experienced a festive holiday season.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society at Cardinal Mooney High School conducted a school-wide food drive and delivered 1,050 pounds of food along with $800 in donations in time for the Thanksgiving food basket distribution.

The St. Martha Parish Council of Catholic Women provided bags of personal care items and socks and hats for a Christmas gift giveaway. The toiletries were donated by the Cardinal Mooney St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish filled the Christmas wish lists of over 100 clients. One client was reduced to tears when she received a new microwave oven. Members of St. Michael the Archangel Parish and Incarnation Parish also provided gift cards for Christmas.

St. Armand's Lutheran Church will replace the dishwasher, stove and garage back door at Bethesda House as well as spruce up the back yard.

Thank you for your generous spirit!

After School Success   
AFCAAM After School Reading Program students in their new winter coats.
First-place winner Wilbur Santiago with his mother Yanet Panfillo.
Fort Myers--Catholic Charities recognizes that providing education for at-risk children helps to lift them out of poverty. At the After School Reading Program of AFCAAM of Catholic Charities the mission statement says it all: A student who is loved is a student who learns.

A little love and learning happens every day at the center. Recently, 10-year-old Wilbur Santiago who attends the After School Reading Program was awarded first place in the Bookmark Contest through the Lee County Public Library System. The students enter the contest each year as part of their after school curriculum -- an opportunity to build self-esteem for struggling readers.

The After School Reading Program serves over 100 children from disadvantaged neighborhoods. This Christmas, the St. Thomas More Parish Knights of Columbus Council in Sarasota generously provided 69 children in the program with winter coats. Some of the remaining coats were distributed to children at Catholic Charities programs in Immokalee.

Whether it is a much needed coat or one-on-one tutoring, the After School Reading Program strives to provide students with the tools they need to become productive members of our community.

Family Haven
Heron Creek Board Member Dale Kirkland (left to right), Catholic Charities Director Jacquie Crombie, Heron Creek Board Members Sandy Finitzer and Noreen Maloney.
North Port--The new Catholic Charities Family Haven, an emergency shelter for homeless families, will soon open its doors in February. The center will offer families stabilization and long-term assistance.

Two community organizations recently donated materials to the Catholic Charities Family Haven to help get the program up and running.

The Heron Creek Foundation awarded Catholic Charities $2,800 to purchase supplies for the Family Haven. And, the Junior League of Sarasota assembled 40 personal care kits for the homeless families who will come to the shelter for aid.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will happen on February 19. Catholic Charities is grateful to all of the community organizations that have partnered in this worthy project.

Junior League of Sarasota members assemble personal care  kits.
Christmas Cheer
Kim Underdahl (left to right), Cindy Mercurio, Vicki Doyle, Avery Underdahl, Jane Norton, Sister Ann De Nicolo, and Jacqueline Kelly.
Arcadia--For 11 years, a group of women have gathered at Christmas time to enjoy the holiday with a purpose.

Hostesses Jane Norton, Vicki Doyle, Cindy Mercurio, and Jacqueline Kelly organize the annual Christmas Cheer party where guests bring personal care items such as shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brushes and more for people in need at Catholic Charities of DeSoto County.

More than 100 women attended the event this year. Sister Ann De Nicolo of Catholic Charities of DeSoto County addressed the party patrons. "Last year, the supplies you provided us helped 400 families and lasted until July," she said. "It appears this year's donations are even greater."

"Your generosity brings Christmas blessings throughout the year to the poor of Arcadia," Sister De Nicolo said.