Emptying the mailbags at Catholic Charities on the morning of Dec. 27 is a coveted job, because that’s usually the day the charity reaches its Christmas Collection goal.
This Christmas, that wasn’t the case.
The collection total was $625,430, short of the $750,000 goal.
“The Catholic community has been asked to do a lot this year,” said Loreen McFaul, development director for Catholic Charities. “Even though our numbers are down, we’ll find creative ways to continue to provide the services and programs we have.”
In 2007, parishioners were asked to contribute $10 million toward the $48 million bankruptcy settlement between the Spokane Diocese and victims of child sex abuse.
McFaul said the 2006 Christmas Collection totaled $756,000 from 3,914 donors. “Compared to that, we are down $130,000 and down 1,011 donors,” McFaul said.
The organization will send out a second mailing and plans other campaigns and fundraising events for 2008.
McFaul said that 85 percent of the donations received come from the Catholic community, yet 85 percent of the clients served by Catholic Charities are not Catholic.
“We are definitely seeing an increased need for our programs,” McFaul said. “One example is the House of Charity, where we were able to keep the overnight sleeping program open all summer. We had 106 men every night there, and we have 108 beds.”
Catholic Charities serves about 50,000 clients every year, through 13 programs run by a staff of 225 and with the help of 4,000 volunteers. Its programs include St. Margaret’s Shelter – an emergency shelter for women that has housed more than 1,000 women and children since it opened in 2000 – and Refugee and Immigration Service, which has sponsored more than 5,200 immigrants since 1975.
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