Old News – Charity

More news from the past. This time an editorial about Catholic charities.


Friday, May 22, 1914

Catholic Charities

Without any reflection whatever upon the splendid work accomplished by United Charities, we feel assured that the organization of the Catholic Charity Guild is a necessary work. While we may avail ourselves of United Charities so as to keep informed of unworthy cases or “professional Charity grafters” still we must take care of our own charity work so as to escape the possibility of proselytizingly over zealous and often not well informed charity workers.

It does seem to us that the first object of a charity organization is immediate relief of suffering and starvation. After real suffering is relieved then it is time enough to apply preventative methods. But to employ prevention alone is not charity as we view it. Certainly, is was not the charity of the Savior.

Moreover, is there not a danger that too highly specialized “institutionalizing” if we may be permitted to use the word may absolutely destroy all sentiment and would this not be a regrettable development?

Is It Considered?

It has often occurred to us whether due credit is given to the fraternal relief societies and associations for relieving suffering and for elimination of poverty in given communities? As one of the arguments in favor of a permanent endowment for United Charities it was cited that although the population of Buffalo has increased in recent years, the number of dependent families has decreased.

Possibly, the increase in membership in these fraternal organizations which pay a weekly sick benefit and a funeral benefit at death, has had more to do with this condition than the average person supposed. We have one such organization in mind in Buffalo which has 2600 members and has paid out as high as $2,000 a week in sick benefits during the winter months. In many cases, this $7 weekly is sufficient to keep that person or family from appeal for municipal or private charity. This is only one of a dozen, at least, similar organizations. What is true of Buffalo is true of Rochester.

Cases such as we have cited are cared for by these organizations, many of which also furnish free medical attention to their members and families, and no appeal is made to municipal or private charity, consequently no report is made of these. It is quite possible that a year before, if sickness occurred in that family when the head had not affiliated with the relief society, it was helped by the municipal or private Charity. Not appearing in this year’s list naturally the absence is counted as a relief case eliminated in the tabulated report.

It would interesting to know the total disbursements by relief societies in Rochester in a twelve months by these we mean purely fraternal organizations and do not refer to purely charitable and religious societies.