The Diocese of Buffalo's 90th annual Catholic Charities Appeal has collected over $7.9 million of its $10.8 million goal, officials said Tuesday.
The total includes collections made at the parish level across the diocese during the past weekend, which was the opening weekend of Appeal Week 2014.
Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone says the Diocese has reached nearly 73 percent of their goal.
"That amount, happily, is a bit ahead of last year's total at this time, which is so very, very encouraging," Malone said. "So it's a matter now of cautious optimism."
The money is used to support 70 programs and services at 61 locations across Western New York. Michael Pratt, who along with his wife Maureen is co-chair of this year's drive, offered his thanks for the work done so far.
"We're very grateful to the hundreds of volunteers who have been hard at work over the last three months to bring us to this level," Pratt said.
Diocesan Director Sister Mary McCarrick noted the gratitude of the clients who have benefited from Catholic Charities services.
"Those individual stories are particularly touching and gratifying for me as a social worker and as an administrator," McCarrick said.
Parish volunteers are continuing their participation in Appeal Week, through next weekend. After that, efforts will be made to close any shortfall in the overall goal by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.