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Catholic Charities Omaha Turns ‘Irish Fest’ Into Virtual Event

Friday March 13, 2020

Celebration and Safety are Critical to Continuing Mission of Helping 80,000 People Annually

OMAHA, Nebraska – With the coronavirus cancelling hundreds of events, Catholic Charities of Omaha is moving its biggest fundraising event of the year – Irish Fest – to a virtual event to help support the services it provides to more than 80,000 people in need every year.
“Cancellation isn’t in our vocabulary,” said Fr. Mike Eckley, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Omaha. “Caring for those in need is.”

The virtual event will include presentation of the first Fr. Mel Merwald Spirit of Courage Award to a Catholic Charities’ client who has overcome adversity, as well as live and silent auctions, said Irish Fest Chairs Janie and Harry Hoch Jr.

“We think this virtual event is an exciting way to expand our “ballroom” to include the larger community,” said Harry Hoch Jr. “We hope everyone will want to join us to support people in our community who are suffering from abuse, mental health issues, hunger and more.”

The event, originally scheduled for Saturday, March 14 at Marriott Hotel Capitol District, will now be held via Facebook Live, @catholiccharitiesomaha.Those attending virtual Irish Fest will be able to bid on live packages, as well as more than 200 silent auction items. To view all auction items and to register for online bidding visit All proceeds will benefit the programs of Catholic Charities. Participants will also be able to “Raise the Paddle” to make donations to support a dedicated mobile pantry vehicle and additional mental health staff.

“Going virtual will allow us to continue to raise the funds we need to provide the life-changing, and often life-saving, services we provide to our brothers and sisters in need,” said Fr. Eckley. “And the need becomes even greater in times of crisis like now. This is also a great way for families, friends and individuals to safely enjoy Irish Fest in their own homes.”

For more information visit

About Catholic Charities: For nearly a century, whenever there are people in need – Catholic Charities has been there. Catholic Charities ministers to the greatest and most fundamental needs of our community, serving over 80,000 people in need every year regardless of race, religion, creed, or socioeconomic status. Since 1926, Catholic Charities has had a rich tradition of serving and advocating for the voiceless, hungry, addicted, abused, and forgotten individuals and families throughout the Omaha Archdiocese’s 23 counties. With the help of our generous donors and supporters, we are touching lives, changing lives, and even saving lives, every day.

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