Less than one month after Appeal Week closed, the 2012 Appeal in support of Catholic Charities of Buffalo has just about $1 million to go to reach goal. The organization announced today the Appeal has raised $9,627,334.84 in cash and pledges, or 90.8 percent of the final $10.6 million goal.

The Appeal ends June 30 and efforts to increase support in parishes, schools and the corporate community will continue in order to raise the remaining $972,665.16 needed.

One school’s contribution this year stands out among all Catholic elementary and high schools as the largest gift by far. St. Mark School in Buffalo raised a total of $10,566.50 toward the Appeal. The elementary school’s fundraising achievement is $4,000 above its 2011 Appeal contribution and significantly higher than the $1,315 average gift from the 44 school contributors last year.

Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, expressed appreciation for the community’s response since the close of Appeal Week on April 1.

“I’m very pleased to announce the tremendous progress and am truly grateful for everyone who has responded and contributed to this year’s campaign so far,” Bishop Kmiec said. “I believe achieving this mark in just a few weeks is a good indicator that we can reach our final goal by our June 30 deadline. I also believe it signifies the impact of the healing services Catholic Charities provides, which these funds will enable to continue.”

Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, Catholic Charities diocesan director, thanked donors and recognized the St. Mark School donation in particular.

“All gifts, large and small have an impact and it’s critical we raise the remaining funds so we can ensure our programs and services can continue to protect, strengthen and empower the nearly 140,000 people across Western New York who depend on them,” said Sister Mary.

She added, “I am especially proud of and grateful for the amazing work of the students, parents and faculty of St. Mark School. What a testament to the heights that can be reached when one’s heart is in the right place. The generosity and care for others these 395 students have shown through their efforts proves their hearts are certainly in the right place – thank you!”

Lydia Brenner, St. Mark School principal, credited the students’ and faculty’s hard work and creativity, and noted her own passion for Catholic Charities.

“Each homeroom teacher and class determined how they would raise the funds in their classroom – their creative ideas paid off,” said Brenner. One class hopped in place for pledges, another solved math facts and another walked what they called ‘Laps for Love’ around the gym. Whether they were learning, getting exercise or just having fun, we made sure they knew how important their efforts would be to many people in need. I have been an educator for 26 years in Catholic and non-Catholic schools and I have seen Catholic Charities in action in each of these schools – helping students and changing lives.”

David Nasca, 2012 Appeal chair, applauded the efforts of Catholic Charities’ volunteers and encouraged the participation of new donors to the Appeal.

“While we are very pleased and encouraged by these latest results, we enter the final eight weeks of our campaign asking those who have not yet responded to please consider how a donation to Catholic Charities can benefit a neighbor, friend, employee, co-worker or family member,” said Nasca. “The success of our Appeal and our ability to continue to provide for the needs of people throughout the eight-county diocese depends on the generosity of our regular supporters, as well as first-time donors who find it in their hearts to contribute this Appeal season.”

The 2012 Appeal is under the patronage of Blessed John Paul II.

Catholic Charities is the most comprehensive direct human service provider serving all eight counties of Western New York, with 70 programs and 61 locations. Founded in 1923, Catholic Charities also provides, without regard to religious affiliation, comprehensive counseling services for children and families, anti-domestic violence programming and emergency services, among other social and mental health services.

For more information on the 2012 Appeal or to make a donation, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to www.ccwny.org. Check out Catholic Charities on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccbuffalo and on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/ccbuffalo.