Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Catholic Charities 2004 Christmas Collection:
‘Providing Help, Creating Hope’

Story and photos by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff

(From the Dec. 2, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

Bishop William Skylstad, Donna Hanson

Above: Bishop William Skylstad and Donna Hanson, Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities, speak during the press conference launching the 2004 Catholic Charities Christmas Collection. Below: Cybele (left) and Bob were two of those who spoke of their personal experiences and successes through the work of Catholic Charities programs. (IR photos)

Catholic Charities kicked off the annual Christmas Collection on Monday, Nov. 22, with a press conference hosted by Bishop William Skylstad at St. Anne Children and Family Center. The bishop invited people to “express generosity back to God’s people in return for the blessings God bestowed on them.”

Donna Hanson, Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities and Bishop’s Secretary for Social Ministries, also thanked the community for their generous support over the years, and asked that they try to do the same this Christmas season.

Two beneficiaries of Catholic Charities services shared their experiences of making life-changing decisions with the help and care of Catholic Charities staff and volunteers.

“The people at St. Margaret Shelter got me back on my feet. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where my children and I would be,” said Cybele, a woman who found herself and her children lost and alone after escaping a life of domestic violence.

The Christmas Collection is Catholic Charities’ only major fundraising event. The annual year-end collection raises much of the funding the organization depends on to run its 12 programs in 50 locations.

Catholic Charities is a separate non-profit corporation from the Diocese of Spokane. It receives no funding from the diocese’s Annual Catholic Appeal.

The Christmas Collection is one of the most successful per capita collections in the United States Catholic Church. Last year, $621,320 was contributed from 4,767 donations, with an average gift of $134. Christmas Collection fund-raising expenses account for only 4 percent of the total funds raised, making it one of the most efficient fund-raising collections in the United States.

In 2004, more than 44,000 different people were assisted by Catholic Charities and more than 2,494 volunteers gave of their time through Catholic Charities programs.

This year, Catholic Charities hopes to raise $675,000. Priorities for this year include:

• Expansion of the wintertime sleeping program at the House of Charity in downtown Spokane.
• Enrollment of 200 children in childcare and integration of family support services at the new St. Anne Children and Family Center in Spokane.
• Providing service-enriched housing for families, persons with disabilities, farm workers and seniors in Colville, Pullman, Walla Walla, Othello and Spokane.
• Strengthening parish partnerships through communication, education and collaborative work projects.

“We are the largest faith-based non-profit between Seattle and Minneapolis, Calgary and Salt Lake City,” said Loreen McFaul, Catholic Charities Development Director. “This diocese has a lot to be proud of – we seem to be called on to do more with less every year.”

“This is really a time for people to look back on their own lives and how richly they have been blessed, and then give back to the community,” said Bishop Skylstad. “Catholic Charities has a rich tradition of reaching out to those who are in need in our diocese. This collection is a wonderful expression of our solidarity with people who need help.”

Individuals and businesses who would like to contribute to the Christmas Collection may make donations at any of the diocese’s Christmas Masses, or can mail donations directly to Catholic Charities, P.O. Box 1453, Spokane, WA 99210-1453; or, visit the Catholic Pastoral Center at 1023 W. Riverside Ave., Spokane.

Contributions also can be made through Catholic Charities’ website:

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