Catholic Charities program caters to seniors as $10.9 million 2015 appeal goal announced

Jan 7, 2015

Social service agencies across the region are stepping up their efforts to protect the most vulnerable from the bone chilling cold of recent days.  WBFO's Mark Scott visited a program on Buffalo's East Side that caters to the needs of older adults.

Bishop Malone announces Catholic Charities goal while chairs Jake and Katie Schneider look on.
Credit Photo by Mark Scott / WBFO News

A Gathering Place in the basement of St. Stanislaus Church served as the location Wednesday for the announcement of this year's Catholic Charities goal -- $10.9 million.  Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer Dennis Walczyk said his agency makes sure help is available for seniors and the homeless, especially when temperatures plunge.

"We provide emergency and clothing assistance," Walczyk said.  "While we don't provide shelter ourselves, we certainly do work closely with agencies like the City Mission and the Homeless Alliance."

Ruth White of Buffalo was taking advantage of the services offered by A Gathering Place.  She's able to talk with friends, engage in some physical activity and enjoy a nice meal.  Ruth said she's not phased by the cold.

"We're a hearty group, " White said.  "We know how to handle the cold."

Staffers at A Gathering Place say they encourage their seniors to stay warm by dressing in layers and to make sure they have someone clear their sidewalks of snow and ice to avoid falls.

Jake and Katie Schneider are chairing the 2015 Catholic Charities appeal.  The theme is "Find Good Within."  Katie Schneider said she and her husband have chosen St. Francis of Assisi as this year's patron saint.

"St. Francis said it is in giving that we receive," Schneider said.  "It's in our nature to help.  So, hey, why hold back!"

Last year, Catholic Charities served 142,000 people through 70 programs at 60 sites in Western New York.