Catholic Charities West Virginia’s 10th annual Gala, titled “Shining a Light on Hope,” will be celebrated Saturday, March 7, at Wheeling Park’s White Palace ballroom from 6-10:30 p.m. The gala will benefit the CCWVa’s programs and services in 17 counties in northern West Virginia.
“The gala is a wonderful way for people to support the important work of Catholic Charities in northern West Virginia,” said Janet Boyle, member of the CCWVa board of directors and member of the gala committee. “It’s also a very nice evening out, with great food and good company.”
“Catholic Charities West Virginia relies on the generous contributions of so many individuals, groups and businesses throughout the year to support its programs, and the gala wouldn’t be possible without the generous sponsors who support it,” said Jacob Manning, gala committee chairperson.
The event’s presenting sponsor is WVU Medicine, and major sponsors are Wheeling Hospital and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
“This year we are celebrating the hope we see in those we serve with our theme of ‘Shining a Light on Hope,’” said Beth Zarate, CCWVa chief executive officer. “We are also privileged to present four Charity in Action Awards to charitable individuals and groups who have performed meaningful service and demonstrated deep compassion for others.”
The recipients of the 2020 Charity in Action Award are Linda Ferns (Wheeling), Ned Sawyers (Kingwood), Riesbeck’s Food Markets (Wheeling), and St. Michael Parish and School (Wheeling).
• Linda Ferns has been a volunteer at the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center in Wheeling for 23 years. She volunteers with meal delivery routes and helps at the annual spaghetti dinner.
Ferns also tutors at a local elementary school on a weekly basis, and she serves as a Eucharistic minister at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
“Linda has a quiet passion for serving people in need, and she has demonstrated time and again a willingness to personally serve those less fortunate,” said Mark Phillips, CCWVa northern region director.
• Ned Sawyers has been an active volunteer throughout his life. He organized the Cross Catholic Food Packing campaign as a member of the Knights of Columbus in Kingwood.
Sawyers coordinates and raises funds for food packaging events across West Virginia. The food is distributed to those in need in West Virginia and in impoverished countries overseas.
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“Ned has been the driving force of the Cross Catholic Food Packing campaign to date, and in two years, has packaged 165,000 meals for the hungry,” said Scott Nale, member of the Knights of Columbus of Kingwood.
• Riesbeck’s Food Markets work to include the less fortunate in its communities through charitable donations and service to non-profit organizations. Many of these partnerships have been in place for more than 10 years.
Local non-profit volunteers receive and load food donations from Riesbeck’s store locations, and then deliver these donations to food pantries and food kitchens in northern West Virginia and Ohio.
“Our people and our communities are blessed to be beneficiaries of Riesbeck’s long-standing demonstrations of charity,” said Phillips.
• St. Michael’s Parish and School has a strong legacy of cultivating faith-filled people who answer the call to serve others. Acts of charity are an integral part of daily life at the church and school.
Many St. Michael parishioners volunteer at the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center in Wheeling, assisting with food pantry distributions, serving hot meals and delivering meals to those who are homebound. The church has also adopted a “bread run” ministry, receiving and delivering day-old bread from area businesses.
“Without hesitation, the community of St. Michael’s Parish and School always steps up to give to their neighbors,” said Phillips. “In the Catholic tradition, St. Michael the archangel is a champion of all Christians, and so are the good people of St. Michael Parish.”
“Catholic Charities is here to provide services to people in need. We consider it a tremendous privilege to be in a position to help others,” said Zarate. “We are blessed and inspired by many partners who walk this journey with us, and we’re honored to recognize these dedicated individuals and groups.”
The evening’s entertainment will be provided by the band Hit Play. The popular cover group blends top hits from the ’80s and ’90s, as well as current dance favorites. The cost for the gala is $100 per person. Tickets include a cocktail reception, dinner and dancing. Reservations can be made by calling 304-905-9860 or online.