‘Because We Are Catholic’ Appeal Helps Needs in the Community

When the Diocese’s annual "Because We Are Catholic" appeal kicks off April 27 and 28, some parishes will feature speakers from various parts of the Diocese to discuss how the appeal helps fund programs that are a lifeline to the most vulnerable in our communities.

“There’s a huge need. Most of our area, and every other area, especially since Covid, there’s more and more of a need in our community for food assistance, pregnancy support, scholarships for Catholic education. The appeal also helps with the parish life program, which includes marriage prep in the parishes, helps pay for seminarian education and diaconate education. It helps with our Catholic Charities offices, and with Holy Family Manor,” said Michele Mullikin, Director of Annual Giving.

“A lot of people don’t understand what the appeal does and how it works.”

Mullikin explained the money collected during the appeal goes into an independent account overseen by a group of volunteer trust advisors who represent all five counties in the Allentown Diocese: Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill. The group ensures the funds are distributed according to the trust guidelines.

“Your money is going to help a need in the community. It’s going to help your neighbor and your family and your friends, people you may not know, their everyday needs in life and their faith,” said Mullikin.

John Boyer is one of two trust advisors who represents Schuylkill County. He'll be speaking at Most Blessed Trinity, Tremont about the appeal.

Boyer hopes to shed light on the reality that funds reach the rural areas of the Diocese. He emphasized the personal importance to the Bishop that Schuylkill and Carbon counties receive the support they need.

“[The appeal] supports some scholarships for kids to go to Catholic schools, it supports the food banks, the soup kitchens in the local area. There’s some additional money and that’s set aside specifically for Schuylkill and Carbon because of the great need in those counties.”

The Diocese's Catholic Charities offices offer an array of services, including pregnancy and parenting support, food help, and housing/rental assistance. Managing Director of Catholic Charities Andrea Neagle said some of the services would cease to exist without the funds from the BWAC campaign.

“Inflation has been persistent. Both the cost of food and housing are big bites out of people’s budgets,” she said.

“As those costs have risen due to inflation, we’re seeing an increased need across our Diocese for assistance with our prepared meals, our pantry items, and help with rental assistance for people who are struggling to make ends meet with those very basic housing and food necessities.

“Catholic Charities is often the last stop where people come. They’ve tried other agencies, they’ve tried other resources, and they come to us because we can close that gap. We can help them get back on their feet and start over.”

This year’s appeal goal is $3.6 million. Boyer said no donation is too small. He encourages everyone to contribute what they can. “Even if they contribute a little bit, we can make that money go a long way.”

The BWAC appeal package was mailed to 80,000 households. The package includes a donation return envelope (which requires a stamp). For people who prefer to make a donation online, go to www.BecauseWeAreCatholic.org. The appeal runs through the end of 2024.


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