Catholic Charities merger to strengthen services


By Jim Poole

A merger of Catholic Charities offices is expected to make the organization stronger for three counties, including Schoharie.
Catholic Charities of Schoharie County combined with Catholic Charities of Delaware and Otsego Counties into a single agency last month.
The new entity, Catholic Charities of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties, "will be in a better position to serve those who need our services," said Lynn Glueckert, executive director.
She stressed that the change won't cut programs or staff and simply consolidates administration.
Catholic Charities provides a wide range of services, from food pantries and child care to help for victims of crime and domestic violence.
None of those will change, according to Ms. Glueckert.
"If you walk into our office in Cobleskill or Oneonta or Delhi, you'll see the same staff, the same programs," she said.
The merger came about partly for efficiency and partly because of Governor Andrew Cuomo's thrust to streamline administration in non-profits, Ms. Glueckert said.
The single agency will be better able to seek grants essential for operating, she added.
Also, it will be a stronger advocate for families needing help in the three counties. Those families served by Catholic Charities have changed, Ms. Glueckert said.
"We're seeing more middle class families struggling," she said. "Expenses are rising, but their salaries aren't rising at the same time."
More families today, Ms. Glueckert added, are living paycheck to paycheck.
"If someone gets sick or the car breaks down, that's a major expense," she said. "When there's no extra money, it's very difficult for families."
Catholic Charities will continue to reach out to community groups, the state legislature and human service agencies, Ms. Glueckert said.
And having one larger agency instead of two will make that message more forceful, she said.
"We'll continue to advocate for the plight of the working poor and the poor," she said.
The combined agency has about 20 full-time equivalent employees and also depends heavily on about 75 volunteers.
The Schoharie County office is on West Main Street, Cobleskill.