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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.  

Projects With Purpose
Volunteers pack 102,000 bags of food for Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities. 
Immokalee--Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities was selected by Thorntons Inc. as the recipient of services from a team of 576 employees, spouses and vendors who took part in their annual day of service.

Thorntons is a chain of convenience stores long recognized as one of the top in the nation with locations in six states, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Florida.
As part of their community giving program, Thorntons partnered with Projects With Purpose, an organization founded in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.    

Juli Miller-Hart, founder and CEO of Projects With Purpose said her company "produces philanthropic team building and humanitarian events and programs for groups and corporations who have a desire to give back to communities in need."

Golf Tourney  
AFCAAM Charity Golf Classic Steering Committee Ted Duffy (left to right), Jim McCaughan, Peter Routsis-Arroyo, Sharon Aragona, and Ron McEwan.  


Special guest Earnest Graham.

Fort Myers--The AFCAAM Charity Golf Classic was a big success this year netting $44,400 for the Catholic Charities center that offers an After-School Reading Program and Youth Mentoring Programs.


A  total of 124 golfers enjoyed a beautiful day at the Forest Country Club. This year's special guest was former all-star running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Florida Gators Earnest Graham. Graham recognized his late mother, Sandra Graham, for inspiring him to read and further his education. City of Fort Myers Mayor Randall Henderson joined the golfers at a dinner following the tournament and thanked them for their support of the most needy children in the community. 


AFCAAM of Catholic Charities Youth Mentoring Programs are dedicated to embracing and empowering young women and men with knowledge, skills, and the abilities needed to make good life choices. The After-School Reading Program provides over 300 hours of intensive reading instruction to at-risk students from the Dunbar and Harlem Heights communities. For more information, please call 239-461-0233. 


Disaster Preparedness
Andy Durette (standing) and Ken Magill conduct an on air drill.

Venice--The Disaster Amateur Radio Network (DARN) of Catholic Charities is looking for volunteers to provide emergency and back up communications for disaster response teams in their community in the immediate aftermath of any type of disaster. All volunteers are licensed FCC amateur radio operators or are individuals who agree to take the steps required to obtain a license.

Volunteers are needed in the 10 counties of the Diocese of Venice and can serve from a fully equipped radio base station or be a member of the in-residence group and operate from their home or personal vehicle using their own gear. Radio base stations are located in Venice, Sarasota, Bradenton, Fort Myers, Naples, Arcadia, Port Charlotte, and Immokalee. There is only one general meeting a year and the network meets on air once a month to make sure all channels are loud and clear.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can visit the DARN web site by clicking HERE.

Community Grant    
Catholic Charities District Director Jacquie Crombie accepts a grant on behalf of the organization from the Manatee Community Foundation.
Bradenton--The Manatee Community Foundation awarded Catholic Charities a $2,000 grant to provide rental housing counseling.

Catholic Charities is a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certified
agency. Catholic Charities offers free housing counseling and foreclosure prevention services.

Housing counselors will now offer rental counseling in English and Spanish to low to moderate income residents of Manatee County with the goal of becoming financially stable. Clients will receive financial education and be provided financial assistance to meet their immediate needs. For more information, please call 941-714-7829.

Volunteer Appreciation
Bethesda House of Catholic Charities volunteers.

Program Director Kevin McKenney offers volunteers dessert.
Sarasota--Bethesda House of Catholic Charities celebrated their volunteers recently with a luncheon at St. Martha Parish. The program has 41 volunteers that work about 425 hours each month.

Volunteers fill food orders and stock the shelves of the food pantry. Bethesda House distributes about 10,000 pounds of food a month. Volunteers also manage the clothes closet, cook meals, talk to clients and more. 

Bethesda House of Catholic Charities offers a safe place where people suffering with the HIV/AIDS disease can receive care and acceptance. Clients are provided a food pantry, clothing bank, laundry and shower facilities, counseling, resume writing, referrals to medical services, and financial assistance.

"Without our volunteers, we would not be able to serve our clients with dignity, respect and compassion," said Program Director Kevin McKenney. For more information, please call 941-366-1886.

Make and Take
Casa San Juan Bosco farm worker community parents take part in the Make and Take workshop.

Arcadia--Parents living at the Casa San Juan Bosco farm worker community participated in a series of "Make and Take" workshops designed to show them how to help their children with different methods of learning.

Parents were provided with skills on how to actively assist their children with homework. By using simple items found around the house, parents were able to see many opportunities for teaching. "They don't need fancy materials or a classroom setting. All that is needed is imagination, " said Laura Rodriguez, education coordinator for Casa San Juan Bosco.

The DeSoto County School District organized the workshops at the Catholic Charities housing development because some of the resident parents do not have reliable transportation. "It was a great opportunity for the community to come together as well," said Rodriguez.

Casa San Juan Bosco farm worker housing provides quality and affordable homes to area farm workers and their families.The neighborhood features 53 homes, a playground, soccer fields, a community garden and a community center with a computer lab/library. Catholic Charities provides enrichment programs and services for both adults and children living there to help them become more productive and self-sufficient.

Construction of a second phase of the housing development will soon begin. For more information, please call 863-494-1068.
FGCU Students
FGCU students add mulch to the entrance of the Elizabeth Kay Galeana Center.

FGCU students clean the sign.
Fort Myers--The Catholic Student Organization of Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) spent the day revitalizing the exterior of the Elizabeth Kay Galeana Center of Catholic Charities. Students freshened up the landscaping and cleaned the sign in front of the building.

The center offers food assistance and programs, case management, infant care assistance, immigration services, and a summer youth program.

"The entrance to our building has improved one thousand percent," said Charles Anderson, district director of Catholic Charities in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties. "The students did an amazing job and we are deeply grateful for their dedicated volunteer service."

For more information, please call 239-337-4193.