Annual Celebration of Charity and Caritas Awards

GOSHEN – Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan & Ulster welcomed nearly 300 guests to The Kartrite Resort in Monticello for the not-for-profit organization’s 17th annual Celebration of Charity and Caritas Awards Dinner. It was an evening of fellowship, inspiration, and recognition at Catholic Charities’ largest fundraising event of the year.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the prestigious Caritas Awards to community-minded individuals and organizations who embody Catholic Charities’ mission to provide help and create hope. The 2023 Caritas Award recipients were Anderman Oil, The Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan, Mount Saint Mary College, and Dr. Walter Woodley, of The Institute for Family Health.

Guests were treated to the beautiful music of the Mount Academy String Ensemble while enjoying the camaraderie of the social hour and competitive bidding on the bountiful silent auction which featured items donated by local artisans, shops, restaurants, and others.
Fr. Bob Porpora, of St. Peter’s Church, Monticello, offered an opening blessing. Regina Cieslak, recently retired from Catholic Charities as Assistant Director of Prevention Services, belted out an inspiring rendition of “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”

Thomas Larsen, Esq., Catholic Charities board member and Senior Vice President of Government and Public Relations for Mediacom Communications, returned to the role of Master of Ceremonies and welcomed guests to the 17th annual event, and the first one hosted in Sullivan County. “We are incredibly grateful to have so many friends and colleagues join together in support of Catholic Charities and the people we serve,” said Larsen. “Outstanding community partners, like our Caritas Award honorees, help Catholic Charities fulfill a mission to provide help and create hope for our neighbors in need and embody the spirit of Caritas,” said Larsen.

Shannon Kelly, CEO, Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan & Ulster, began her agency update by pointing out that Catholic Charities’ most extensive program was just a few minutes away on Broadway in Monticello and offers a full treatment continuum for substance use disorder. “Catholic Charities assumed management of the Monticello campus in 2014 at the request of New York State. Since that time, 3,462 people have received life-saving treatment for the disease of addiction.” Kelly added, “I’m grateful for the community partners, like this year’s Caritas honorees, that make our work possible, and I’m especially proud of our dedicated Catholic Charities’ team members who go above and beyond each and every day to help our neighbors who are struggling.”

The Celebration of Charity is Catholic Charities largest fundraiser of the year. This year’s event grossed more than $123,000. The much-needed funds stay local to support Catholic Charities programs in the community, including emergency food and shelter assistance and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery support.

Catholic Charities board chair, Tom Strahle, addressed guests on behalf of the board of directors, “The mission to provide help and create hope is the reason I am so passionate about the work of this agency. I am grateful to our staff, volunteers, and everyone here tonight who supports our work so that those in need have hope for a brighter future. Together, we are making a difference.”

Event sponsors and advertisers in the commemorative journal helped support the fundraising efforts of the 17th annual Celebration. Mediacom Communications was the premier Platinum sponsor. Armistead Mechanical, Schweppes, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of NY signed on as Gold Sponsors, and Mount Saint Mary College, Pepsi, Resorts World, Skip & Susan Tetz, and Ulster Savings Bank were Flower Sponsors. Silver sponsors were Community Manufacturing Solutions, Westchester Medical Center Health Network, and The William and Elain Kaplan Family Foundation.

Catholic Charities provides assistance to the marginalized and vulnerable in Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties so they may improve their quality of life. Services include emergency food and shelter assistance, a continuum of support for those suffering from the disease of addiction, as well as prevention and education programs for youth and adults, case management, and immigration assistance.

The next Catholic Charities event – Golf for Charity – will be held Monday, September 18, at West Hills Country Club in Middletown. Sponsorship and foursome opportunities are available. To learn more, contact Kristin Jensen at or 845.294.5124, x1005.

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