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Staff members of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Erie are fond of saying their work is not about hand-outs but rather, a “hand-up.”

The organization’s outreach includes health care, social and pastoral services that educate, affirm and support individuals and families of all faiths to their fullest human potential. Catholic Charities advocates for those who are limited in power, voice or access, offering programs and agencies committed to the sacredness of human life and the betterment of society.

The realities of the economy, the increase in natural disasters, changing demographics, shrinking resources and growing poverty inspire the organization to grow in its ability to serve.

“Poverty is a fundamental violation of human dignity and also a form of violence against the God who is present in every human person,” according to Poverty in America: A Policy Paper of Catholic Charities USA. At the heart of the work is a Christ-centered philosophy.

Good stewardship is a hallmark of this non-profit, which spends less than one percent of its budget on fundraising. More than 57,000 men, women and children of all faiths, most of them with incomes below the poverty threshold, received a “hand-up” to a sustainable future from Catholic Charities, according to the most recent annual report.

The Most Reverend Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie, states simply: “Catholic Charities puts the Gospel message into action.”

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