LIVINGSTON COUNTY – Catholic Charities of Livingston County’s (CCLC’s) first ever annual Christmas gala did more than dazzle Saturday night, it brought funds and support to programs that help Livingston County’s residents in need.
Tabitha Brewster, Executive Director for CCLC, thanked the sponsors and estimated 190 guests for their support and said that since all expenses were covered by sponsors, all of the ticket sales will support CCLC’s 10 signature programs for local people in need.
“We see so many people in need right here in Livingston County,” said Brewster. “Because of people like you, we will forge on and continue to thrive. It’s not optional, it’s a must.”
Four underwriters, Toshiba Business Solutions, the ESL Foundation, the Bucci Family Foundation and Genesee Valley Motors, their major corporate sponsor, covered the cost of the gala itself.
The night began with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m. in the beautifully decorated banquet hall at Valley Oak Event Center. Dinner was served at 8 p.m., and the awarding of the Father William Trott Community Services Award to Art and Pam Hatton later topped off the evening.
Pam was commended for 10 years of weekly volunteering with CCLC and helping to organize their annual spelling bee since 2009. Art was honored as a former head of the SUNY Geneseo Foundation who went on to be head of the CCLC Board. He spearheaded the 2008 fundraiser that made the purchase of CCLC’s building at 34 East State Street in Mount Morris possible.
Some guests won bottles of wine in a wine toss and gift baskets in a raffle. All then enjoyed music and dancing.
As part of her thanks to all in attendance, Brewster explained part of the reason that she herself became involved in nonprofit charity, saying that she could not be where she is today without the help of organizations like CCLC.
“Each of you have your own statistics, you have your own reasons for being here, but myself, I can say that I wouldn’t be where I am without organizations like Catholic Charities,” said Brewster tearfully. “I was a young mom, I was 16, and I moved far away to Hawaii to begin a military family. I was that young mom, and 4 years ago I was accepted to a Ph.D. program for industrial organization psychology. So to all of you I say thank you and have some fun tonight.”
CCLC’s goal is to help people become independent from temporary assistance benefits (TANF) offered by the Department of Social Services (DSS). To do that, they have 10 signature programs. They offer transportation for the elderly, which is intended to keep working families working instead of transporting their loved ones. They offer counseling programs, parenting education programs, emergency housing, and emergency assistance for families who have shutoff notices for their heat bills. They also have food pantry and clothing cupboard programs.