Annual Catholic Appeal keeps families together in difficult times

Once a year, Catholics in the Diocese of Sacramento come together through the Annual Catholic Appeal to stand beside others who are struggling in difficult circumstances. The Appeal gives 18 Northern California charities the ability to instantly pivot to the greatest need. This proved critical to the response to unprecedented needs driven by COVID-19 economic impacts, disastrous wildfires and much more.

Tina is a landlord in Fairfield. At the onset of the pandemic her tenants were hit hard by job loss and the resulting inability to put food on the table, let alone pay rent. She speaks emotionally about the father who pledged to feed his family tortillas and lettuce to pay rent and how she discovered there was no food in their cupboards. Or the despondent single mother who refused to believe that all Tina wanted was to help her to stay in her apartment and care for her child.

“I wasn’t initially concerned about the rent,” Tina says. “I figured we’d just figure it out. I have a very strong faith so getting on my knees was a huge thing for me … just praying and trying to find a way to help our residents.”

Catholic Charities of Yolo-Solano helped more than 1,400 families, including Tina’s tenants, to stay in their homes through rental assistance and access to basic resources. Miriam Sammartino, executive director at the time, explained that never has their ministry been asked to take on such an immense burden helping so many families at one time.

“We have to continue as an organization no matter how hard things get, how many calls of anxiety and depression we receive,” she says. Miriam explains that donations and support from the Appeal allow revitalization, stabilization and strengthening of families. “The way we give hope and joy is by saying through our actions that we are here for you.”

In the north state, Northern Valley Catholic Social Service faced a similar surge for services. Executive director Cathy Wyatt emphasizes the need to respond, yet the need to also keep other programs going, like the PATH Program, which helps inmates re-enter society and become stable, contributing members of the community. Trish is grateful for the housing and support she received during the process she undertook to begin a bright future for herself and her children. She still lives in the home secured through NVCSS, has earned a college degree, and gives back through her work at a local nonprofit.

Last year’s events in Afghanistan put Special Immigrant Visa refugee families resettling in the United States in the spotlight. Since 2014, the Refugee Resettlement Program of Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services has helped hundreds of men who served our military as interpreters and their families to start a safe, new life. Rocio Gonzales, refugee resettlement manager, feels blessed to have worked with these families over the past seven years. “I’m an immigrant myself. It’s easy to think our culture is different from other groups, but we have the same values: to give our families safety and a better life,” she says. Funds from the Appeal help this program to keep going.

Together as Catholics we are immersed in the many merciful works of the Church. We accompany families experiencing many forms of physical, emotional and spiritual poverty with the mercy of Jesus. Join me in making a sacrificial gift this year.”

- Bishop Jaime Soto

Every year, the Appeal helps ensure charities and parishes can continue to extend love and mercy to others in communities throughout the diocese. It also helps schools in economically-challenged neighborhoods and seminarians preparing for priesthood. Most parishes will invite parishioners to donate in late February.

Learn More

About the Annual Catholic Appeal and make your donation at Your gift matters in Northern California.

Catholic Herald Issue