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"To love and serve our neighbors as ourselves."

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."

Stoehr, who grew up in a family with a modest income, knows that it could only take a small financial shortfall to take a family or individual from financial stability to financial crisis. 

"I've been blessed in my life and keep that at the forefront of my mind," he said "If someone is down and out and unable to pay his bills, we need to help him."

While Slonka and Stoehr could have chosen any local charity to support, they chose Catholic Charities because they firmly believe in its mission. 

“Each act of help is accompanied by counseling to ensure that those seeking help understand what they need to do in order to keep themselves out of this situation in the future,” said Slonka. “It's not just giving out money, Catholic Charities educates everyone who walks through the door so they can become self-sufficient in the future."

For Stoehr, he gets satisfaction in knowing that his donation is going directly to people who need it. 

"I know that donated funds are going to people who truly have a crisis at that moment," he said. "I like the idea that my money will go to someone's back pocket within a few days of giving."

While both Stoehr and Slonka are actively involved in their churches (Stoehr at St. Michael’s in Hollidaysburg, and Slonka at St. John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown), they stress that you don’t have to be Catholic to help make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in need.

“You don’t have to be Catholic to support Catholic Charities,” said Slonka. “You simply have to care.” 

Click here to learn more about joining Guild of Guardians.

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