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2016 Advent Appeal underway

The Advent wreath, with a candle marking each week of the season, is a traditional symbol of the liturgical period. In Vermont, the Advent Appeal raises funds to help individuals and families with basic needs. (CNS photo by Lisa A. Johnston, St. Louis Review) The Advent wreath, with a candle marking each week of the season, is a traditional symbol of the liturgical period. In Vermont, the Advent Appeal raises funds to help individuals and families with basic needs.
The 22nd Advent Appeal is taking place throughout the Diocese of Burlington to raise funds to help individuals and families with basic needs such as food, utilities fuel and back rent/security deposits throughout the year.
 
For Christmas, funds will be used to help families with fuel assistance, unexpected expenses, food cards and gift cards to help provide children with Christmas gifts.
 
“This is the only appeal Vermont Catholic Charities conducts, and it supports individuals and families during the Christmas season and year around. The ‘Season of Giving’ has no bounds for people in need,” said Mary Beth Pinard, executive director of Vermont Catholic Charities Inc.
 
Last year a change was made to the appeal so that it would focus not only on helping people during the Christmas season but also provide additional funds for Vermont Catholic Charities’ year-round Emergency Aid Program. Throughout the year, Vermont Catholic Charities provides aid to hundreds of individuals and families who need immediate, short-term financial support.
 
“At Catholic Charities, we see the face of Christ in each and every person we encounter through the services we provide.  We couldn’t do this without the support of donors,” Pinard said, adding thanks to all those donors who have given in the past and those who will give this year. “Please know that although you don’t get see the relieved faces of clients helped, the individuals and families are grateful for your compassion.”
 
Last year the Advent Appeal raised $85,252, and it is hoped that the collection will exceed that this year.
 
During the Christmas season, support was given to 473 individuals/families and 445 children. This included supporting 56 requests from parishes.
 
In 2015, the Vermont Catholic Charities’ Emergency Aid program served more than 938 individuals and 591 children throughout the state.
 
“Electricity and food are such everyday needs, and when you don’t’ have them, your world feels upside down,” an emergency aid recipient said. “Thank you for helping my world stay upright.”
 
The geographic reach of the Emergency Aid Program includes households in all 14 Vermont counties encompassing 82 cities/towns. The top three emergency aid categories for clients were back rent/security deposits, electricity and fuel/heat.
 
“The population benefitting from emergency aid included the unemployed, the underemployed, those who have faced unexpected crises in their lives and those needing emotional support,” Pinard said.
 
“I am a single parent on disability with my four children living with me,” one Advent Appeal recipient said. “It has been a little bit of a struggle this year. I’m so appreciative with what you are doing to help me.”
 
“Pope Francis has invited us to celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy through service and acts of charity to those in need,” Pinard said. “Supporting the Advent Appeal is one way for people to show that they are a visible sign of God’s love and mercy to Vermonters in need. They are continuing to answer the call to serve others. This financial assistance supports Corporal Works of Mercy – feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless.”
 
The deadline for contributing to this year’s Annual Appeal is Dec. 31, but any donations received after that date are greatly appreciated as the emergency aid program provides year-round support.
 
To donate, send a check to Vermont Catholic Charities, Advent Appeal, 55 Joy Drive, South Burlington, VT  05401 or give online at vermontcatholic.org/adventappeal.
 
Last modified onMonday, 12 December 2016 08:59
Vermont Catholic Magazine © 2016 Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington