Report on 2020 and Challenges for 2021

By COAR’s Board President: Melanie Reda

On January 4th, my father called me to tell me that he received his $600 stimulus check and he was so excited. So of course, I checked too. And I had indeed received a $600 stimulus check. How exciting! What a windfall! And then my thoughts turned to how best to spend that money. I’d just had a very generous Christmas with my immediate family and still I could only think about how much I wanted a new Kindle or Fitbit (because this is the year I finally start getting 10,000 steps a day).

But when I really thought about what to do with my stimulus check and all those presents my family was able to give me, I thought about how very fortunate we’ve been this year. Thankfully, my family didn’t suffer the hardships that so, so many others did and do continue to face. Just like that, I felt compelled to give what I could to COAR. Not just as a sponsor, not just as a Board Member, not just as Board President and Development Chair, but as an individual who still has student loans, who is saving to buy a house, who knows that our kids at the Children’s Village need to continue to have access to food, housing, schooling, medications, therapy, and other necessities, that they wouldn’t without my continued support.

We knew it would be hard to forgo the Mission Co-operative Plan in 2020. However, parishes and mission offices went to heroic efforts to help us to make virtual appeals (audio, video, Facebook, they really were generous of spirit and technical talent.) None the less, we still raised only $20,000 instead of the usual $150,000. Where would we get $130,000??? We got it from you. We raised $30,000 more in 200 gifts under $1,000 — at EVERY level. We received more $100 gifts, more $50 gifts, more $5 gifts, you see where this is going. Those of greater means helped, too: $30,000 more than the previous few years. Many sponsors added an extra month, or two, for a total of $10,000 more than usual. And bequests, gifts in memory of loved ones, gave the children $10,000 more than an average year. Many of you included notes with the gifts, large and small, “I hope this helps cover the $150,000 shortfall .” Or, “I can’t go out and I find myself with more money than usual and I can’t think of a better way to spend it.” You read my own “note” in the first two paragraphs of this article.

As for 2021 . . . if you kept up with the math here, we entered this year at about $50,000 less than we expected. That is immensely better than we feared. But as we all know, 2021 will continue to be a challenge. Please consider taking a look at the on-line fundraiser that we plan (check back for items after March 1st.) Or consider sponsoring our St. Romero Prayer Service (streaming March 24th) in lieu of our Annual Benefit. Your solidarity with the children of COAR has carried them through this pandemic and will, no doubt, help them build a stronger post-pandemic world.