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Faithful Donors Pledge $120,000 During Catholic Charities Bishop’s Gala in Support of Anti-Human Trafficking Program

Catholic Charities

Diocese of Palm Beach

9995 North Military Trail

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410


Media Contact:

Courtney Tellier: (561) 775-9567

Faithful Donors Pledge $120,000 During Catholic Charities Bishop’s Gala in Support of Anti-Human Trafficking Program

(Palm Beach Gardens, FL) January 24, 2020 – Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach is pleased to announce the success of its 9th Annual Caritas Dei Bishop’s Gala, a fundraising event that raised more than $475,000 to benefit Catholic Charities’ 15 programs and ministries. More than 300 people attended the event held on Wednesday, January 22 at The Breakers in Palm Beach. Serving as the Caritas Dei Gala Honorary Chairmen were Karmita and Charlie Gusmano and Lauren and Charlie Lomangino, both of Jupiter. Charlene and Richard Johnson and Debbi and Patrick Koenig, both of Lake Worth, served as the 2020 Chairmen.

During the evening, Catholic Charities proudly honored local residents for their consistent support of its’ mission and values and for their contribution to its’ work. The honorees included Ana Kenefick of Delray Beach who received the Caritas Dei Spiritus Sancti Volunteer Award; Reverend John Mericantante of Palm Beach who received the Caritas Christi Service Award; and John D. Herrick who was awarded the Caritas Dei Dedication Award for his devoted work to Catholic Charities of Palm Beach. Reverend Brian King highlighted the work of the honorees and introduced Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito, Bishop of Palm Beach, who welcomed the guests and thanked them for their support of Catholic Charities.

            The main objectives of the evening were to thank donors and volunteers for supporting the impactful work Catholic Charities provides to the local community and to raise additional funds for the growing need of services.  A short video highlighting the agency’s work in serving the survivors of both labor and sex trafficking was shown to the nearly 300 supporters in attendance.  Generous donor bids raised more than $120,000 for individuals who are rescued from a life of modern-day slavery. When Catholic Charities first meets these human trafficking victims, they are very often unaware that they are victims. When victims break free from their captors, they are without proper identification, money, clothes, transportation and have often lost touch with their family members.  Catholic Charities’ Anti-Human Trafficking Program offers survivors financial assistance; referrals to other needs such as legal assistance, medical providers, treatment options and career guidance.  Funds raised at the event will help additional survivors throughout Palm Beach County; raise awareness of the ever-growing epidemic of human trafficking in our communities; and help eradicate labor and sex trafficking in Palm Beach County and beyond.  To learn more about the program and to view this year’s video featuring two of the program’s clients, please visit

            The event was sponsored by: Findlay Galleries, 2020 Major Sponsor; Florida Crystals Corporation; Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Gusmano; Mr. and Mrs. Harold Baxter; The Breakers Palm Beach; Frank J. Lewis Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. John Gildea; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson; Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Koenig; Mr. John Herrick; Mrs. Ana Kenefick; Lawrence Sanders Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Leone; Dr. and Mrs. Zbig Scheller; McNulty Family Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Philip Ruppe; Ms. Ruby Rinker; Mr. and Mrs. Leo Vecellio; Mrs. Sieglinde Wikstrom; among others.


About Catholic Charities

            Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach provides 15 social services and ministries throughout 8 locations in the Diocese of Palm Beach. Established in 1984, Catholic Charities responds to the needs of the poor and most vulnerable by providing quality programs that serve children, families, homeless and families. Catholic Charities respects life in all of its stages. In living our faith, Catholic Charities helps and creates hope for people in need, regardless of religion, by delivering social services, collaborating with others in building just and compassionate communities, and empowering individuals through education.