"To love and serve our neighbors as ourselves."
We have received reports from several local parishioners stating that they received a telephone call soliciting for contributions to Catholic Charities.
Catholic Charities does not solicit for individual contributions by telemarketing. Currently, Catholic Charities solicits support by mail, email, our website, www.catholiccharitiesaj.org, and our annual second collection in November.
If you receive a call seeking contributions for Catholic Charities, please feel free to contact our office at 944-9388.
Committed to serving the people of central Pennsylvania without regard for race, ethnic origin, religious belief, or financial means, through the generosity of donors from the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese, from the communities we serve, and from the United Ways in Cambria-Somerset Counties, Clinton, Centre County and Blair County.
The mission of Catholic Charities is carried out under the direction of the Most Reverend Mark L. Bartchak, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johstown
For many of our loyal donors, supporting Catholic Charities extends well beyond a single annual donation. Many stretch their giving throughout the year, to maximize their impact on the neighbors they serve.
That is especially true for Kevin Slonka of Westmont and Doug Stoehr of Duncansville, who helped launch Catholic Charities' Guild of Guardians, an annual giving program that enables supporters to pledge $1,000 annually to help the organization budget to help more people with more needs throughout the year. While $1,000 may seem like a hefty amount, it breaks down to just $2.74 a day--less than a fancy cup of coffee.
"Many people who choose to make charitable donations usually do so around the holidays. That is wonderful, but many people need assistance throughout the year," said Slonka. "Contributing at the level required for membership in the Guild of Guardians ensures that Catholic Charities can provide assistance to our neighbors throughout the year. Any charitable organization needs a solid base of donors who truly believes in its mission."
In observance of this year's Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy by Pope Francis, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown has asked all local Catholics to focus on the message of Jesus in Matthew 25:35-40, which ends "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did it for me."
During each week of Lent, the Diocese encourages us to observe various aspects of this powerful message. This week, the week of February 21, we're asked to Shelter the Homeless/Welcome the Stranger.
You can fulfill your observance during this week of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy by supporting Catholic Charities' homeless shelter, the Martha & Mary House, located in Johnstown. Opened nearly one year ago, the Martha & Mary House provides support, safety, and hope to homeless individuals and families in the form of shelter, planning, and caring case managers. The shelter accommodates up to 15 individuals for up to 30 days, giving them time to secure financial stability and more permanent housing.
Click here to answer Jesus' call to shelter the homeless by supporting the Martha & Mary House.
Homelessness doesn't just impact adults. In fact, a growing number of students in our region have no place to call home.
According to Maureen Bourke, the Region 6 site coordinator for student homelessness through the PA Department of Education, in the 11-county region she serves (Armstrong, Blair, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Indiana, Jefferson, and Potter counties), the homeless student population has steadily increased.
“It varies from year to year as far as districts, but there has been a steady increase at least for the past four to five years that we’ve been able to solidify the data and look at the actual numbers,” Bourke said in an interview with The Courier Express.
The article states that the number of homeless students attending public school in Pennsylvania increased by 18 percent between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years — an increase more than double the national average of 8 percent, according to statistics reported by the U.S. Department of Education.
Johnstown is considered the poorest city in Pennsylvania, according to an article published in 24/7 Wall Street. The city earned this designation due to low median incomes ($25,542 vs. $52,548), high poverty rates (26.8%), and low educational attainment of bachelor’s degrees (11.2% vs. 27.5%).
This offers just a glimpse into the significant need for Catholic Charities’ offerings in Cambria County and the surrounding eight-county area that we serve.
For the most part, it’s been a mild winter thus far. But there are still several months to bear before spring is here. While Catholic Charities offers emergency financial assistance to area households that need help in paying their heating bills, we also provide education on how to prepare and maintain your home so that it conserves energy and results in lower utility bills each winter.