WHEELING—Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) began its annual appeal to donors in October. As donors respond they are hopeful they will achieve their annual goal of $454,000. The annual appeal is the single largest fundraising appeal for CCWVa and its statewide services. “We know we can count on our donors and we hope that new supporters will help us reach the goal for these vital funds that directly impact the amount of assistance we provide in communities around the state,” said Patti Phillips, director of Development and Marketing of CCWVa. The first ever World Day of the Poor was observed Nov. 19. In his message that day, Pope Francis said, “We are called, then, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude.” Appeal funds help CCWVa reach more people, to be innovative, to be where people are in need and be prepared with the assistance they need. Essentially bringing them closer to people, encountering them in their suffering and listening. Beth Zarate, chief executive officer for CCWVa, invited people to, “help us in our mission to bring hope to the hopeless.” She tells a story of a young family whose breadwinner, John, lost his job in the mines. The couple came to CCWVa for help; they were relieved to receive food and supplies for their baby. Through further conversation, John enrolled in case management services to identify goals and receive help in attaining those goals. John is now gainfully employed and in thankfulness, the family regularly volunteers with CCWVa to give back. Donations can be made online at www.CatholicCharitiesWV.org, by mail at 2000 Main Street, Wheeling, WV 26003, or by calling 1-888-900-2989. In addition, the traditional second collection at Christmas liturgies throughout the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston will go toward CCWVa’s appeal.