Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington has provided more than $1 million in food and emergency rental and utility assistance to more than 7,000 individuals over the four months since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the organization announced Wednesday.
Specifically, Catholic Charities has distributed 469,686 pounds of food, worth more than $793,768, to more than 6,000 people and provided $241,325 in rental and utility assistance to 315 households – some 1,114 individuals – between March and June. Catholic Charities is the social services arm of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington.
"Many families face unprecedented need. The burden this pandemic has placed on those already suffering hardship is heavy, and others are experiencing an inability to put food on the table or pay their rent or utilities for the first time,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Catholic Diocese of Arlington.
Food has been the most significant need during the pandemic. Most of the more than 6,000 individuals who received food have returned each succeeding month. Since March, there have been 20,917 visits to one of Catholic Charities’ pantries or its partner pantries, a 154% increase from the same time period in 2019. Catholic Charities’ St. Lucy Food Project supplies food to families served by three Catholic Charities pantries – Loaves and Fishes in Front Royal, Christ House in Alexandria, and the Leesburg Regional Office in Leesburg – as well as some 60 parish, interfaith, community and government pantries throughout the diocese.
Catholic Charities has also responded to the need for rental and utility assistance to prevent homelessness. Its emergency assistance program saw a 288% increase in rental aid between April and June. Additionally, with unemployment still high and with more than 30% of clients requesting assistance reporting they have lost their jobs entirely, the economic impact of the virus is expected to be longer-term.
Catholic Charities’ services also include free medical care, pregnancy and adoption services, mental health counseling and assistance for immigrants and refugees.
Overall, Catholic Charities operates 21 programs serving the 21 counties and seven cities of the diocese.
Additionally, many of the diocese’s 70 parishes continue to operate their own food assistance programs and provide financial support, including St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Falls Church, All Saints in Manassas, St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church, and Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Winchester. Individuals interested in donating food or in need of assistance should go to the website of their local Catholic parish or visit Catholic Charities’ website at ccda.net.