Thanks to donors to the annual Vermont Catholic Charities Inc. Advent Appeal, recipients are coming to the Bishop Brady Center in Burlington for Visa and food cards and other assistance.

“If I was not able to have this gracious gift for me and my family I would not have a Christmas dinner or toys and winter necessities for my kids. Thank you for giving my family a wonderful Christmas,” commented one mother of three.

”I am truly thankful as I am barely able to pay my bills. I work and I am in school fulltime. This will help tremendously,” said another mother who has four children.

As of Dec. 11, 459 adults and 505 children were being assisted with things like back rent, snow tires, utility disconnect assistance, car repair and furnace repair.

That was the date that recipients began visiting the Catholic Charities office to receive their gift. “Every individual meets with our emergency aid coordinators or a volunteer. They are scheduled for a 15-minute time slot,” said Mary Beth Pinard, executive director of Vermont Catholic Charities.

For parish requests, staff works with parishes on fulfilling requests.

There are two ways people can sign up for the Advent Appeal: by calling the Catholic Charities office and requesting help or by signing up at their local parish.

“People are truly appreciative and humbled by the assistance received through the Advent Appeal,” said Irene Manion, Vermont Catholic Charities emergency aid coordinator.

She has heard that more and more people are finding it more difficult to make ends meet. “Whether it is the new mother or the retired couple living on a fixed income, that barely stretches to meet their basic needs, this help above all provides hope to people,” she said. “When I explain how the money is raised through the generosity of parishioners throughout the state, it gives people pause and the kindness makes a difference not only at Christmas but throughout the year.”

People can still donate to the Advent Appeal. Send checks to Vermont Catholic Charities, 55 Joy Drive, South Burlington, VT 05403 or give online at