The Catholic Charities of Herkimer County has announced its recipients for the Window of Hope Award.
Claudine Grande, a former county legislator and Catholic Charities board member, and the “Operation Sunshine” Christmas Giving Program sponsored by the Observer-Dispatch will receive the honor during a luncheon at the Knights Inn on Sept. 20.
“This is our opportunity to say thank you to an individual or organization in an area who have served clients and programs of Catholic Charities,” said Terry Leonard, executive director of the Catholic Charities chapter.
The seventh annual Window of Hope will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Little Falls venue. Tickets are $20 and are available by contacting the agency.
With 85 percent of the non-profit agency’s funds coming from county, state and federal contributions, funds raised through this event will bring in discretionary dollars for emergency assistance. With this money, the group can help turn on water and electricity for families that have been left in the dark, and pay for oil that heats homes in the winter, Leonard said.
“The (county, state and federal) grants are usually specific to specific programs,” he said. “Drug and alcohol prevention grants go to the drug and alcohol prevention program. Funds for domestic violence programs needs to go to those activities. A good majority of our discretionary funds go directly to emergency assistance.”
A news release about the event states, “Your support is more critical than ever as we have been hit very hard with the reduction or elimination of state and federal contracts that support our services. We could not continue providing these services without your support.”
Grande, the youngest of 12 children, served for 15 years on the Herkimer County Legislature, where she served on the human resources committee chairman, and on the committees for administration, veterans affairs, properties, education and finance.
She has also served on the St. Anthony’s Parish Council and other committees of the parish. She has also spent many years working as a religious education teacher and was also employed as a pre-school teacher at United Cerebral Palsy for 20 years. She also has a volunteer spirit, with active memberships on the Catholic Charities Board of Directors and service with the Herkimer County Prevention Council.
The Operation Sunshine Christmas program distributes gifts and holiday food baskets to families in need through several partner agencies.
“They have given to us $100,000 over the years to be shared with the families of Herkimer County at Christmastime,” said Leonard, who estimates they help about 300 to 400 families a year through the program.
The local branch of Catholic Charities, whose parent organization is Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, is a nonprofit that runs various programs to aid the community, including solace for victims of domestic violence, mentoring programs for troubled children and day care offerings for working families.
Page 2 of 2 - GateHouse News Service contributed to this article.