Longtime Los Banos farmer Aldo Sansoni will be honored August 20 by Merced County’s Catholic Charities at its eighth annual Harvest of Hope celebration.

Harvest of Hope is Catholic Charities’ largest annual fundraiser that enables the organization to continue providing its programs and services throughout the entire year, according to Ashlee Wolf, Development Director of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Fresno.

Sansoni and Helen Amarant of Merced will be recognized at this year’s Harvest of  Hope, according to Wolf, “for their dedication to the Merced County community and for living out the Catholic Charities mission in their everyday day life.”

Each year, Wolf said, the Harvest of Hope event celebrates the community’s generosity and compassion for the less fortunate and honors those who exemplify the Catholic Charities mission.

Besides providing food to families in need five days a week with a food pantry at their downtown Merced site, Catholic Charities also delivers food and essential resources to those in need in Dos Palos, Los Banos, Planada and Hilmar.

“Aldo Sansoni and Helen Amarant have both made an incredible impact within their communities over the past several decades,” Wolf said, “and we could not be prouder to recognize them on August 20.

In determining who will be honored at this event each year, the Catholic Charities organization looks for someone who inspires others by their kindness, generosity, hard work and love of their neighbor.

“So many people have shared with us,” Wolf said, “the impact that Aldo has made in his community and the lifetime of work devoted towards the betterment of Merced County, the Catholic Church, Catholic education and so much more.

“Aldo has been described as a “pillar” of the community by many,” Wolf added. “He’s a person that is leaving a legacy.”

The Harvest of Hope celebration will be held this year on Saturday, August 20, at St. Patrick’s Parish Hall in Merced. The evening will offer music, dinner, drinks, a silent auction and a live auction. Sponsorships, tables and individual tickets are available by calling (209) 383-2494 by August 5.

In attendance at this year’s event will be the Bishop for the Diocese of Fresno (which includes Merced County), Most Reverend Joseph V. Brennan, several priests and hundreds of families from throughout the Merced County community

The success of the annual Harvest of Hope event enables the continuation of  programs and services for local families. All dollars raised at the Harvest of Hope event in Merced stay in Merced County.

In addition to food, Catholic Charities provides clothing, emergency financial support, diapers, immigration services, disaster preparedness education and more.

Over the last three years, the need for the organization’s services throughout Merced County has increased by over 125%,” Wolf said. “Of those served, only 4% are homeless which means that 96% are families who have fallen on hard times and are struggling to put food on the table at home”.

The Westside Express