Who has Circles of Mercy been helping?

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-2-23-24-pmThe Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club has had an ongoing  partnership for a number of years with Circles of Mercy, the Rensselaer-based non-governmental family services agency that brings a variety of services to families and individuals in need.

For our newer members who may not be familiar with Circles, which is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community, our club and its members as individuals donate money, children’s and adults’ clothing, household goods, school supplies, Easter and Christmas-time holiday gifts and other items to Circles, thus playing a substantial role in its success. We currently are working on our annual Adopt-a-Family effort there.

Circles of Mercy is in the midst of its annual year-end fund drive. You can get details about it and how to contribute to the tax-exempt organization on its website. Here is the annual report from executive director Richard S. Zazycki on what the organization has provided to the local community in the past 12 months.

Dear Friends of Circles:

Thank you for all the ways that you have supported our continuing efforts … as we celebrate 19 years of providing hope, hospitality and empowerment to the needy who come through our doors. Through the generous support of our donors, we have had a strong year. A total  of 87 cents of every dollar went directly towards our programs.

Here are a few examples of how your contributions have helped us serve hundreds of people the past year:

• Circles saw an increase in the number of transactions with clients (3,470) compared to last year’s total (3,123). Catherine’s Closet (our thrift clothing store) provided 288 adults and 247 children clothing  grants, 66 diaper grants, and 69 newborn layette sets, new baby clothing and supply grants.

• Over 205 children from needy families received backpacks and school supplies at the beginning of this school year.

• 42 low-income families totaling 121 people (79 of them children) were adopted at Christmas time last year and received many holiday gifts they may not have been able to afford otherwise.

•We are proud of our continuing partnership with the IRS and CA$H Coalition to provide free income tax prep service through our VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) and AARP Taxaide programs. During 2016, 480 returns were filed which resulted in total tax refunds (including credits) of over $657,676 for low-income families and seniors.

These accomplishments are especially impressive in light of the country’s fiscal situation. Everyone is suffering in some way from the state of the economy, but our clients are suffering worst of all.

Think about how tough it must be to face high energy prices, runaway food bills, and an increasingly tight job market with little or no resources to fall back on. Think about how difficult it is to have to decide between food for your children or warm clothes for them during our harsh winter. Consider the struggle between paying the utility bill or getting medicines you need. These are the kinds of decisions many of our clients face every day.



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