Catholic Charities Christ House volunteer coordinator

Sister Aniliza Juan is the Christ House volunteer coordinator for Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington has announced modifications to its programs so it can continue to serve those in need throughout the 21 counties and seven cities of the diocese, as it has for 73 years. The organization’s top concern during the novel coronavirus pandemic is the safety of clients, volunteers and employees as it maintains critical services to individuals and families.

“We recognize that a public health emergency of this size has a disproportionate impact on those who are already experiencing hardship and vulnerability,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. “Through the generous and steadfast support of our donors, our charitable ministries continue to provide timely assistance to those in most need throughout our community.”

Catholic Charities’ St. Lucy Food Project, which supplies food to about 53 pantries throughout the Diocese, has modified its practices to offer pre-bagged food to families who come for assistance. Christ House in Alexandria, which hasn’t missed a day providing an evening meal to the homeless since 1974, moved to bagged, take-out meals. Mother of Mercy Free Clinic, which provided essential health care through 2,893 visits in 2019, is now providing as much care as possible through telemedicine over a secure video-conferencing line. All Catholic Charities’ mental health counseling services, which assisted more than 1,100 clients last year through 150 sessions per week, have moved to teletherapy through a videoconferencing platform. Both the telemedicine and the teletherapy services are HIPAA compliant.

“Our job is to serve the most vulnerable people in our diocese, as our faith compels us, no matter what is taking place in the world around us. We are responding creatively in order to continue safely serving those in need during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Art Bennett, President and CEO, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. He added, “Many of our volunteers belong to groups that are especially vulnerable to this virus. We are now turning to those people who are in lower risk categories to urge them to help us respond during this critical time.”

Stringent safety protocols are in place with limited interaction with the public. Please email volunteer@ccda.net with questions or go to volunteer.ccda.net to sign up.  A comprehensive list of volunteer opportunities follows the list of services below.

Status of Services

Emergency Assistance for those facing utility cutoffs or eviction

  • Emergency Assistance: Open. Individuals or families seeking rent and utilities assistance should email addresses found in link above. Those requesting assistance will receive a phone call back.  
  • Christ House Thrift Store: Operations suspended temporarily.

Food

  • Christ House Evening Meal: Serving meals-to-go only at the evening meal.
  • St. Lucy Food Project: These are the St. Lucy pantries, including Christ House in Alexandria, Loaves and Fishes in Front Royal, and the Leesburg Regional Office. Food bags are being distributed to clients. Social distancing is being employed for clients waiting in line.

Health

  • Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas: Pregnant patients are still being seen by scheduled appointment. All other patients are being served by secure phone or video conferencing. Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Woodbridge is scheduled to open April 20.
  • Family Services Mental Health Counseling: Counselors are providing services via secure telephone or video conferencing.
  • Retreat for Seriously Ill: The June retreat has been canceled. The next retreat is scheduled for October 2-4, 2020.
  • St. Martin de Porres Senior Center: Closed effective March 18, in consultation with the City of Alexandria. Seniors have been provided shelf-stable meals. Regular calls have been scheduled with the most vulnerable. 

 Newcomer Services

  • Education and Workforce Development: In person classes have been postponed; classes are being scheduled online. Tentative start for online April 14. Recruiting volunteers to teach virtually. Email Volunteer.Newcomer@ccda.net for more information on virtual opportunities.
  • Hogar Immigrant services, Legal: Assisting current clients with active cases over the phone. New consultations will be made on a case-by-case basis and prioritized for individuals who have deadlines or time frames for urgent needs. Please call 703-534-9805 for more information or if you have questions.
  • Refugees: Essential services are safely being provided for refugee families. Clients should call their case manager or employment specialist for assistance over the phone at this time. 571-292-2259, 703-258-2715 or 571-364-8007. Leave a message and someone will return your call.
  • Family Reunification Program: Open by phone and videoconferencing

 Housing

Volunteer Opportunities

St. Lucy Food Project

  • Christ House Food Pantry: Pack boxes and help distribute to clients. Help needed Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact Sr. Annie at Aniliza.juan@ccda.net.
  • Leesburg Regional Office food pantry: Stock shelves and pack bags. Help needed Mondays-Thursdays. Contact Joanne Abbate at joanne.abbate@ccda.net.
  • Loaves & Fishes food pantry, Front Royal: Pack bags to distribute to clients. Help needed Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Contact Jeanne Jackson at jean.jackson@ccda.net.
  • St. Lucy Food Project Manassas warehouse: Sort food, pack boxes, load trucks. Contact Elizabeth Gibbons at Elizabeth.gibbons@ccda.net.

 Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic, Manassas

  • Medical providers, including doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who are willing to do telemedicine, and nurses who specialize in obstetrics. Contact alexandra.luevano@ccda.net or call 703-335-2779 ext. 15.
  • Data entry volunteers to help establish Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic, Woodbridge, which is set to open April 20. Contact alexandra.luevano@ccda.net or call 703-335-2779 ext. 15.

 Newcomer Services

 Additional Virtual and Other Volunteer Opportunities 

  • Remote Job Coaches to help with resumes or connect with hiring companies. Email volunteer@ccda.net with subject "I Can Help."
  • Drivers willing to transport needed items safely to client homes (no contact, dropping off items only). Email volunteer@ccda.net.

Catholic Charities also has significant needs for food and other material support. Learn more here.

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