Alexandria, Va. – Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), announced today that Mrs. Estelle Anderson of Buffalo, N.Y. has been named the CCUSA Volunteer of the Year for 2017 (Click here for a brief video featuring Mrs. Anderson). “Estelle truly embodies the generous charity Jesus describes in the Good Samaritan parable; she has worked tirelessly on behalf of young mothers in need and senior citizens,” Sister Donna said.
Mrs. Anderson began volunteering for Catholic Charities of Buffalo 30 years ago. She started by helping with the Layette program, which provides clothing for newborns. Over the years, Mrs. Anderson expanded the program to include crib linens and diapers. She would refresh the inventory by organizing baby showers in the community. Catholic Charities of Buffalo estimates that Mrs. Anderson has aided more than 10,000 families in the Buffalo area. Eight years ago, she also started a bag program that provides senior citizens with hand sewn tote bags made by volunteers.
Eileen Nowak, the director of Parish Outreach & Advocacy for Catholic Charities of Buffalo, has seen the impact of Mrs. Anderson’s efforts: “Buffalo ranks as one of the poorest cities in the nation, but those who encounter Estelle feel richer for knowing her. She truly gives a sense of dignity and hope to those most vulnerable in our community. Using the materials she has been given, Estelle weaves together a beautiful masterpiece of service, compassion and commitment like only she can.”
The CCUSA Volunteer of the Year Award is given to an individual who embodies the mission of CCUSA, provides critical services to those in need, advocates for justice in social structures and calls the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same. Local Catholic Charities agencies across the U.S. nominate the candidates for the award.