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"To love and serve our neighbors as ourselves."

Our three centrally-located Catholic Charities offices in Altoona, Johnstown, and Bellefonte collectively assisted more than 350 family members.

Each office personalizes the program to fit their own individual outreach and community needs. The Altoona office partners with an array of sponsors and organizations, including eight businesses around town, from banks to grocery stores to insurance companies. Our Johnstown office works side-by-side with Children and Youth Services, with all beneficiaries handpicked by CYS caseworkers and information provided to Catholic Charities in the form of children’s wish lists and clothing needs.

The coordinators there then pass on that information to both individual sponsors and about 10 organizations, including Bishop McCort and Bishop Carroll Catholic High Schools. In Bellefonte, we provide local churches (Our Lady of Victory, St. John the Evangelist, and Holy Spirit Parish) and organizations such as the State College Knights of Columbus and Nittany Gymnastics with tailored donation opportunities that work for their members and parishioners. 

Regardless of differences in programs, however, one theme of the program remains consistent. All of our coordinators and members of the Catholic Charities family agree they are impressed with the generosity of donors time and time again.

“The generosity of our sponsors does amaze me,” said Dawn Popovich, grant and finance administrator at the Johnstown office. “Some years—the gifts that come back—I’m just truly, truly amazed.”

“One recipient called to say she that her family was overwhelmed by the generosity, that it really made their Christmas…” noted Sharon Felson, a social worker based out of the Bellefonte office. “[The program] sometimes allows people to have some hope, so it can make a pretty dramatic difference. Most parents look forward to providing their children with Christmas gifts; when that is not an option for them because of financial difficulties, Catholic Charities can step in. We feel blessed that we can play this role in allowing them to enjoy this time.”

For many, the holiday season is prime time to donate to a favorite charity. “We don’t hear too much from businesses for the most part throughout the year, but at the end of the year they send in their letters saying they want to do the program, which is nice, to get them involved, and a lot of people, this is their one time of the year to give to Catholic Charities,” said a staff member of our Altoona office. “It’s a good way to do so. So we get a lot of response from that. And then we get people who give a little every month, who just like to give a little extra during Christmas, toward the program.”

2016 Christmas Giving By the Numbers:
  • In Altoona, the Adopt-a-Family program served 26 families and 78 children.
  • In Johnstown, the Adopt-a-Family program served 207 children.
  • In Bellefonte, the Adopt-a-Family program served 18 families and 81 individuals.

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