Anne-Marie Welsh

Graphic/Elizabeth Butterfield

NORTHWEST PA — The COVID-19 pandemic may have meant Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Erie had to cancel its key annual fundraiser last spring, but it hasn’t stopped the need for the essential services it provides.

          “Just the opposite,” says Ann Badach, executive director of the network of agencies and ministries scattered throughout the 13 counties of northwest Pennsylvania. “During this extraordinary year, and likely far into the future, we know the increased demand we are seeing for the services we provide will continue.” Those efforts include food pantries, which have seen a 22 percent increase in distribution; soup kitchens, which have experienced a 20 percent increase in use; and a significant rise in the need for social service outreach helping people with everything from depression and addiction to marriage and family counseling.

          That’s why the organization’s board of directors decided to launch a year-end fundraiser.

Ann Badach, executive director,
Charities of the Diocese of
Erie        Photo/AMWelsh

          “Cancelling Club CC Night left us with a $40,000 shortfall in funding,” Badach says. “I know people want to help those in need. This is a good opportunity to provide direct and emergency aid at a critical moment. The generosity of donors means real hope and relief for those facing overwhelming challenges.”
          In a letter announcing the appeal, Badach noted that the lights are always on at Catholic Charities. Throughout the pandemic, agencies have remained

open, providing front-line care and emergency services wherever and whenever it’s needed.
          “Your support is needed now more than ever,” Badach wrote. “Every dollar we receive helps us to feed those who hunger, serve at-risk children and youth, and house people in need. Our Gospel-driven mission continues because of your generosity.”

          Tax-deductible donations can be made online at Alternatively, checks made out to Catholic Charities, Inc., can be mailed to Catholic Charities, Inc., 429 E. Grandview Blvd., Erie, PA 16504. Please include “Annual Appeal” in the memo line to designate the donation.

          A video will soon be released to support the fundraising effort as well.

          “We will always remember the challenges of 2020,” Badach says on camera. “What I’m focusing on now is, ‘How will we remember our response to those challenges?’”