Submitted by Samantha Flavell
What began as an adoption agency founded in the 1930s has expanded to touch the lives of thousands of people in the Oswego County area and continues to expand to accommodate more.
Catholic Charities has grown to become much more than an adoption agency. The organization now offers a variety of services that cover many of the basic needs of life.
It offers a wide range of programs including, care management, immediate medical needs such as adult medical health and emergency services, while not forsaking the basic low-income needs such as offering a food pantry and thrift store.
Working to satisfy the needs of Oswego County residents, Catholic Charities also provides services ranging from parenting education to post-hospital stay needs, such as helping with prescription and medical costs.
Though it is a Catholic charity organization and a diocese or branch of the Syracuse Catholic charity, religion is not a requirement to be eligible for the services, to work for the organization or to volunteer.
Executive Director Mary-Margaret Pezzella-Pekow, describes the Oswego County branch as the “social arm” of the dioceses.
Services including the Catholic Youth Organization, which is one of the many services available, is not a religiously based service.
Catholic Youth Organization or CYO, is an all-inclusive after-school drop-off center. Allowing students, a safe and productive place to go after school.
CYO offers students recreational activities such as basketball and video games, as well as providing students access to computers and staff to provide hands-on help for their homework.
In the summer, CYO doubles as a daycare for parents to drop off their young children while they go to work.
“All programs are generally full,” Pezzella-Pekow said. “There is a clear need.”
Catholic Charities is working to combat this need by working hard to provide the services that the community needs most.
The average numbers of community members being helped each year include, more than 600 kids being served free meals at drop-in. More than 1,400 at risk families being provided with the help and support they need.
More than 500 adults receiving care management and a total of more than 120,000 meals overall being served to the community.
This work that Catholic Charities does, doesn’t go unnoticed by the community.
“Thank you for what you do for our community,” community member Susan G. said. “Many families appreciate what you all do on an everyday basis.”
Susan asked to only be identified by her first name and last initial.
Catholic Charities is not alone in its work to help the community, but is largely powered through the help and support of volunteers.
Catholic Charities offers many opportunities for community members to get involved and actively help.
Ranging from hands-on volunteer work to monetary donations to the organization to assist in providing the funding needed to keep the services the organization offers active.
Catholic Charities, a non-profit organization, who provides free care to those who are in need. recently started its capital campaign.
The purpose is to raise the needed money to continue offering their services to the more than 160,000 community members they serve.
Soon, Catholic Charities will be able to cater to the needs of even more families.
A new building was donated by the Salcone family, Pezzella-Pekow said, and is being prepared to house the organizations growing programs, allowing an extension to the organizations already extensive outreach.
Catholic Charities plans to move into the new building on 806 W. Broadway in Fulton in June or July of this year.
The new building is not far from the current building.
The organization is very excited about the upgrade and the opportunities the new building will offer, including, that the building is fully handicap accessible and according to Pezzella-Pekow is almost three times the size of the current building.
The new building will offer the much-needed space to allow the organization the resources to help even more of the Oswego County members in need.