Catholic Charities Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
In this time of crisis, Catholic Charities is on the front lines – as we have been for nearly a century.
We are first responders, addressing some of the most fundamental needs in the community – providing food to the hungry, safety to the endangered, and support to those who are suffering. That has always been our mission. Now, more than ever, we need to answer that call.
We are changing the way we deliver our services – in order to protect the health and safety of everyone involved, do everything we can to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and still provide help to our brothers and sisters in need. We are taking the advised health and safety precautions – including social distancing, limiting group gatherings, and keeping hands and surfaces disinfected. In addition, we have implemented the following changes:
EMERGENCY FOOD SERVICES
Our food pantries will remain open during normal hours – but function differently. To limit person-to-person contact, we are providing pre-packaged food boxes at the pantry doors. We are also continuing homebound food deliveries to current clients – seniors who have been referred to us from a partner agency. We are at full capacity with our homebound delivery program and are not able to add new deliveries at this time, although we hope to expand at a later date.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES
The Domestic Violence Shelter – the only emergency shelter in Douglas County – continues to operate with enhanced screenings and protocols to identify COVID-19 health risks. We have already seen a significant increase of calls into our 24/7 crisis hotline.
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES/FAMILY STRENGTHENING SERVICES
We are now offering teletherapy to all of our schools – a service delivery enhancement to address the COVID-19 crisis. Before, we had one school (Cedar Catholic in Hartington, NE) we provided teletherapy service. Using that proven model, we are now converting our other 14 schools to this remote service.
Staff are continuing to check in on seniors by phone to ensure their continued health and safety, and to determine if they need homebound food delivery. Because seniors are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, the on-site Senior Program was suspended effective March 13, 2020.
IMMIGRATION LEGAL SERVICES/MICROBUSINESS PROGRAM
We are providing services via Skype, Zoom, and telephone to the maximum extent possible. At this time, these programs won’t meet clients in person.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change and evolve rapidly. We are staying up to date with the latest news and recommendations from local, state, and federal experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is critical that we remain calm, but also stay proactive. We are committed to open, direct, and frequent communication with the public as the circumstances continue to take shape.
In times of crisis, people have always come together – they show their character and look out for one another. We have been overwhelmed by the spirit of generosity and compassion from our staff, volunteers, donors, and the community at large. We can’t thank you enough.