CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY – Representatives from Catholic Charities continue to to remind the public that the 2020 Appeal is still underway with a goal of $10 million.
While the organization serves all of Western New York, it also plays an important role in providing several services and programs for the Chautauqua County Community.
“In Chautauqua County, the lives of 14,832 individuals were impacted last year by Catholic Charities services,” explained Maria Perez-Cruz, who serves as the director of Catholic Charities services for Chautauqua County. “Last year, Chautauqua County donors contributed $258,288 to the 2019 Appeal and we hope to see that continue in 2020.”
The annual Appeal helps fund 51 programs and services administered by Catholic Charities across dozens of sites in the eight counties of Western New York, including one in Jamestown (Westgate Plaza, 560 West Third St.) and one in Dunkirk (425 Main St.) Dunkirk.
Primary services in Chautauqua Counties include counseling for individuals, couples and families and basic emergency assistance.
“Our professional therapists provide an affordable option for those in need of working through some of life’s challenges. No one is turned away because of an inability to pay,” Perez-Cruz said. “Basic emergency assistance also is provided with assessment, evaluation, assistance or referral to another Catholic Charities or community program as appropriate. Basic needs can include financial, food, prescription and heat assistance.”
Perez-Cruz also said that while the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some services being suspended, she added that some adjustments have been made to ensure other services continue.
“Counseling services are provided via electronic communications while the counselors work remotely. Emergency basic assistance is being provided as needed with interviews being conducted via telephone,” Perez-Cruz said. “Clients are greeted at the door one by one and provided with their food certificates once they’ve shown identification. Some emergency and basic assistance has been delivered to and left outside a few clients’ homes since they were unable to safely come to the office. We cannot accept walk-ins at our sites currently.”
“We are seeing a sense of fear and precaution, along with anxiety and depression because of the unknown and the full impact in the end,” she added.
Other programs offered, but which have been suspended until further notice due to COVID-19, include the Parent Education and Awareness Program – a six-week group program that parents attend separately and help separated, divorcing and never married parents who are experiencing conflict or difficulties cooperatively raising (or co-parenting) their children. Also, the court-ordered Domestic Violence Offenders Program and the St. Lourdes Visiting & Respite Care Ministry Program is also currently on hold.
To make a donation to Appeal 2020 contact Catholic Charities at 716-218-1400 or visit ccwny.org.
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