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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.  

Event Season Unfolds
Catholic Charities Ball Co-Chairs Jane Norton, (left to right), Mary Kenealy-Barbetta, and Julie Delaney.

The Catholic Charities Ball Patron Party was held at the Field Club 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 30 in Sarasota 

Bethesda House Mardi Gras Madness on February 9 in Sarasota

Boots and Bandannas on February 20 in Port Charlotte 

Our Mother's House Wine Tasting, Auction and Dinner Dance on February 25 in Venice 

Venetian Charity Ball on March 12 in Bonita Springs 

Emerald Ball on March 19 in Naples 

Venice Veterans Gala on April 7 in Venice

AFCAAM Charity Golf Classic on April 15 in Fort Myers


Day of Caring    
Barbara Hood (left) and Sue O'Donnell (right) from Day of Caring present a check to Catholic Charities District Director Charles Anderson (center.)

Fort Myers--The holidays were brighter because of four communities that comprise a non-profit group called Day of Caring. Pine Lakes Country Club, Lake Fairways, The Heritage and Tara Woods annually raise money to help feed people who are less fortunate. 

Catholic Charities in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties received $4,350 from Day of Caring "in hope these funds will be able to provide a meal for needy families during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons."

Catholic Charities purchased 100 turkeys for the food pantries in Fort Myers and Clewiston and Christmas gifts for children. "It was a very timely and generous gift," said Catholic Charities District Director Charles Anderson. "We were in need of turkeys for our food pantry clients."

For more information, call 239-337-4193.

Outreach with a Smile
Dr. Steven and Karen Feldman at their dental office in Venice. 

Venice--Dr. Steven Feldman and his staff are trying to make patients feel more comfortable when they come to their dentist office for the first time by giving back to the community. The dental practice offers periodontology and dental implants and often patients are frightened or embarrassed when they initially visit. 

"We are compassionate and this is a good way to show it," said Karen Feldman, office manager and wife of Dr. Feldman. All new patients are offered the Charitable Giving Campaign option where if they donate $100 to one of seven designated charities, their exam, consultation, X-rays and CAT scan are free. If the patient accepts treatment, Dr. Feldman matches the donation.

The program began in August and more than 100 patients have participated in the giving campaign that supports Catholic Charities. "It shows patients that we care about the community and hopefully that translates into how we will care for them as well," said Dr. Feldman.  Catholic Charities has received several donations through the program. 

For more information, visit

A Knight of Rock 

GoodbyEddie performs at A Knight of Rock.

Event Chair Richard Audette welcomes the crowd. 
Bradenton--More than 400 tickets were sold for the inaugural A Knight of Rock event held at Mixon Fruit Farm. The St. Joseph Council 5604 of the Knights of Columbus hosted the fundraiser to start up a Sugar Bowl Fund in Manatee County. 

The concert featured two bands, headliners Survivors of Rock and local favorite GoodbyEddie.

The first Sugar Bowl Fund was established in 1999 by five Knights of Councils in Venice, Englewood, North Port and Grove City along with Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. to assist local families that suffer an economic hardship because of an emergency medical, housing or transportation expense. Proceeds from A Knight of Rock will help families in Bradenton through a new Sugar Bowl Fund.

"Supporting families in a time of need to help them overcome a temporary financial difficulty and stay together is what the Sugar Bowl Fund is all about," said Catholic Charities CEO Peter Routsis-Arroyo. "With the help of the Knights of Columbus in hosting this successful fundraiser, we are now able to start this program in Manatee County."

For more information, call 941-244-9490.

Feeding the Hungry  

Naples--Pelican Sound Golf and River Club and St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish Knights of Columbus 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 10  at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the St. John the Evangelist Parish Life Center Ballroom.  
Attendees will receive a humble meal of soup and bread and hear the powerful stories of hope for the poor and homeless 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!

Giving Spirit

Cardinal Mooney students unload donated food. 

Sarasota--Bethesda House and Casa San Jose of Catholic Charities was the recipient of the giving spirit during the holiday season from many generous organizations in the community. 

The St. Vincent de Paul Society at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School conducted a school-wide food drive and delivered 1,000 pounds of food along with $1,050 in donations in time for the Thanksgiving food basket distribution

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish adopted 80 clients for Christmas and both St. Michael the Archangel Parish and Incarnation Parish St. Vincent de Paul Society donated gift cards for needy clients.

The St. Martha Parish Council of Catholic Women, The Cascades Community, and the St. Martha School Religious Education Program assembled holiday toiletry and snack bags. 

Food drives were conducted by Saints Peter and Paul Parish and St. Michael the Archangel Parish.

The Catholic Charities program offers a safe place where people living with the HIV/AIDS disease can receive care and acceptance. For more information, call 941-366-1886.

Cardinal Mooney students present Bethesda House and Casa San Jose Director Kevin McKenney with a check. 

Learning Water Safety

Fort Myers--U.S. Power Squadron Commander Ron Terciak and Dr. Melissa Butler from the San Carlos Bay Sail and Power Squadron visited the AFCAAM of Catholic Charities After School Reading Program recently to present six students awards for their poster contest. The theme of the contest was "When You Boat Get Ready to Float!"  Brothers Tyre and Trayveon Cunningham both placed first in their age group and won two tickets each to sail on the local Pirate Ship. AFCAAM of Catholic Charities is committed to educating the youth of the community by encouraging and inspiring them to be life-long learners, community builders and people of service. For more information, call 239-461-0233.

Spotlight Award
Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities Program Director Joyce Scott (right) accepts the Spotlight Award from Venice Area Chamber of Commerce members Maryann Terry (left) and Gretchen Miscik (center).
Venice--The Venice Area Chamber of Commerce Education and Business Development Committee selected Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities as the Spotlight Award winner which is presented quarterly to an outstanding chamber organization in the Venice area. The goal of the committee is to promote business workforce needs within the education system and develop programs that are responsive and beneficial to the business community. Our Mother's House is a residential program for homeless mothers and their children. The program provides a safe environment for residents to achieve increased independence through education, vocational training, and personal growth. For more information, call 941-485-6264.

Christmas Blessings
Kim Underdahl, (left to right), Sister Ann De Nicolo, Jacqueline Kelly, Gretchen Kennelly, Jane Norton and Vicki Doyle. 

Sarasota--Sister Ann De Nicolo has traveled from Arcadia to Sarasota at Christmas time for the past 12 years to attend a gathering that benefits the people she serves year round. 

Hostesses Jane Norton, Vicki Doyle, Cindy Mercurio, Jacqueline Kelly, Gretchen Kennelly and Kim Underdahl organized the annual Christmas Cheer party where guests bring personal care items such as shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brushes and more for people who come to Catholic Charities of DeSoto County for assistance. 

More than 100 guests were present at the event. Sister De Nicolo, director of prevention and support services at Catholic Charities, said the donated items are enough to last the whole year. "The generosity that spills out each Christmas at this celebration brings blessings throughout the year to the poor of Arcadia," Sister De Nicolo said.

For more information, call 863-494-1068.