UPDATE: May 19, 2020
Catholic Charities of St. Louis, Operation Food Search Host Drive-Up Food & Supply Event
There were plenty of smiles and mostly sunshine while more than 450 families were served at a three-hour food and supply distribution event held May 16 at the Catholic Charities office, 4445 Lindell Blvd.
Catholic Charities provided gift cards, personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies, as well as hand sanitizers and face masks. Sysco St. Louis contributed a variety of food items including fresh produce, dairy, cheese and juice. Operation Food Search provided meat, cheese, sandwiches and cleaning supplies. Representatives from the Gateway Grizzlies professional baseball organization (including mascot Izzy) also stopped by to drop off food.
About 40 volunteers from Catholic Charities, Operation Food Search, and the National Guard helped with loading supplies and other logistics that helped the event run smoothly. St. Louis Police Department assisted with traffic control. Catholic Charities volunteers included employees and their families, donors, board members, and members of the Catholic Charities Young Professionals group.
“We are pleased to be able to combine our resources and experience with Operation Food Search and Sysco to connect people with a variety of basic necessities,” said Theresa Ruzicka, President, Catholic Charities of St. Louis. “It’s core to our overall mission of serving people in need and just one part of our coordinated COVID-19 relief efforts.”
According to Kristen Wild, Executive Director at Operation Food Search, the rate of food insecurity in the State of Missouri was 14 percent before the pandemic and now sits at 41 percent.
In addition to the 500 bags of personal care and cleaning items and nearly $13,000 in gift cards distributed at the May 16 event, the Catholic Charities Central Office has provided nearly $200,000 in COVID-19 related relief in the form of gift cards and direct financial assistance for rent, mortgage, utilities and other immediate needs.
See a related article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 18, 2020.
UPDATE: May 15, 2020
Catholic Charities of St. Louis Creates Call Center to Assist with COVID-19 Relief
On May 4, the Catholic Charities Central Office launched a dedicated Call Center to address the growing number of requests for COVID-19 related assistance
Callers to the office’s main line seeking assistance for hardships attributable to the pandemic crisis are connected with a call center representative. Additionally, United Way 211 callers seeking COVID-19 related assistance – including rent, mortgage, utilities and other direct aid – may also be referred to the Catholic Charities Call Center.
In the Call Center’s first few weeks, representatives are already managing about 70 calls per day and more than $100,000 in aid has been provided through the call center.
You can read more about this new initiative in the recent St. Louis Review article, Catholic Charities opens call center to handle upswing in need (May 14, 2020).
UPDATE: April 24, 2020
Large Food Donation Arrives for 4 Catholic Charities Agencies
On April 22, a refrigerated truck filled with more than a ton of donated fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy products, and other food essentials arrived at Marygrove in Florissant, one of four Catholic Charities agencies that benefited from the large donation. Representatives from Good Shepherd Children & Family Services, Queen of Peace Center, and St. Patrick Center were on hand at Marygrove to receive portions of the donated items.
The large donation was organized by top chef and restaurant consultant Rex Hale in cooperation with STL Foodworks; Jack Whisnant of Rain Crow Ranch in Doniphan, Mo. and Lanter Distributing.
“Pulling together a donation of this magnitude was a labor of love and an exercise in generosity,” said Catholic Charities of St. Louis President Theresa Ruzicka, who helped load donations at STL Food Works. “All of our agencies are busy finding ways to safely meet growing needs due to the COVID-19 crisis. Having strong community partners like these helps us serve even more people, including those who are finding themselves needing assistance for the first time in their lives.”
The food will be used to prepare meals for residential clients at the four recipient agencies, as well as walk-in clients at St. Patrick Center. Hundreds will benefit from this generosity.
UPDATE: April 9, 2020
COVID-19 Regional Response Team Unites Experienced Organizations
As reported today in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Catholic Charities of St. Louis is among 40-plus social services organizations that have come together as the COVID-19 Regional Response Team to coordinate the efficient distribution of COVID-19 related emergency relief to those most in need. Together with The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities is co-leading the group’s Basic Needs efforts. For a full list of participants and other details, please see this April 9 press release.
UPDATE: April 6, 2020
Brief Building Closure for St. Patrick Center
St. Patrick Center, our agency that provides opportunities for self-sufficiency and dignity to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, made the below announcement today. Note some temporary changes to services and in-kind donations for this week. Please pray for all those in need and all who serve them, especially during this challenging time!
“To our community: St. Patrick Center is shuttered this week for a deep cleaning, due to a Covid-19 exposure. We’re unable to provide meal service and unable to accept food donations. We’re still serving our clients at our other sites and remotely. We hope to return to our Tucker site after the Easter holiday. If you are a St. Patrick Center client, contact your St. Patrick Center case manager. If you have a personal health concern, contact the city health dept. at 314-657-1499. If you are not a St. Patrick Center client and are experiencing homelessness, call United Way 2-1-1 to begin Coordinated Entry.”
March 27, 2020
Responding to Growing Needs
While teams and leaders at our eight Catholic Charities of St. Louis agencies have been working hard to implement new strategies and protocols to safely serve current and future clients, the central office team has been working to support those agency efforts and to develop more ways to reach out to people in need, including those who may be needing assistance for the first time.
As needs grow and change, we will continue seeking opportunities to develop solutions. Here are a few actions Catholic Charities has already taken:
· Provided $20,000 in gift cards to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) to distribute through their food pantries in areas of greatest need.
· Contributed $10,000 to St. Louis Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, which will be distributed to area nonprofits directly serving people impacted by coronavirus-related hardship.
· Together with The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities is co-leading a St. Louis County Regional Response Group, bringing together more than a dozen area nonprofit and government agencies to coordinate the efficient distribution of COVID-19 related emergency relief to those most in need.
To learn more about what our agencies are doing and how you can support them, please visit their websites. Links are provided below, after the Urgent In-Kind Needs section. Thank you for any support you can provide!
URGENT IN-KIND NEEDS
If you can donate any of the following items, please reach out to the agency contact or follow the link to arrange for delivery. Thank you!
Cardinal Ritter Senior Services as of 3/23: face masks; sanitizing wipes; bottled water; thermometers (forehead scanning or ear scanning with disposable covers; incontinence pads; hand soap; dish soap; tissues; disposable gloves; toilet paper; small and large bottles of bleach; disinfectant spray and cleanser; other cleaning supplies. Also, coloring/crossword or other activity books, puzzles. Contact: Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Patrick Center: as of 3/20: groceries for client lunches (see details)
Good Shepherd Children & Family Services as of 3/21: diapers; wipes; gift cards for groceries; laundry detergent; soap; sanitizing supplies; other hygiene items (see details)
Marygrove as of 3/23: groceries; laundry detergent; personal care products; other essential items. Must be mailed to Marygrove 2705 Mullanphy Ln. Florissant MO 63031 (see details)
Saint Martha’s Hall as of 3/23: hand sanitizer; disinfecting cleaning supplies; thermometers; masks. Contact: Lauren at email@example.com
The Catholic Charities Family of Agencies
Cardinal Ritter Senior Services: https://cardinalritterseniorservices.org/COVID-19/
Good Shepherd Children & Family Services: https://goodshepherdstl.org/covid-19-shepherding-families-crisis/
Queen of Peace Center: https://www.qopcstl.org/
Saint Louis Counseling: https://saintlouiscounseling.org/covid19/
Saint Martha’s Hall: http://saintmarthas.org/
St. Francis Community Services: https://sfcsstl.org/
St. Patrick Center: https://stpatrickcenter.org/we-will-get-through-this/
UPDATE: March 26, 2020
COVID-19 Stimulus bill adds new tax incentive for charitable contributions
Forbes reported today that a temporary charitable income tax deduction is included in the COVID-19 Stimulus Bill, which was passed yesterday by the Senate and has moved to the U.S. House. As reported, taxpayers who claim the standard deduction on their federal income tax return would also be able to deduct up to $300 of their charitable contributions from their income.
This is great news, as Catholic Charities and our eight agencies remain open and working even harder to safely minister to the rapidly growing number of people in need of help. Now more than ever, we need your support.
The best and easiest way to help us during this time is with a monetary gift to the agency of your choice or, to benefit all eight agencies, to our Annual Fund or Emergency/Disaster Fund.
For individual agencies, please visit their websites for donation instructions. For Catholic Charities General Fund or Emergency/Disaster Fund, you can give online at ccstl.org/donate or by mail: Catholic Charities, P.O. Box 952393, St. Louis, MO. 63195-2393.
From the entire Catholic Charities family, thank you for your consideration. We will be praying for everyone’s health and well-being in the coming weeks.
UPDATE: March 19, 2020
Message from our President, Theresa Ruzicka, CPA
Dear Friends of Catholic Charities,
Every day our eight agencies provide help and hope for people in need. We have been doing so, in good times and in bad, since 1912. The COVID-19 virus presents a complex set of challenges, and we are monitoring recommendations from health officials to protect the people in our care and in the community at large.
At the same time, we are working even harder within our own organization, as well as with the Archdiocese of St. Louis and other community partners, to maximize our ability to minister to those who need us.
Through our work, Catholic Charities honors a 2,000-year legacy of Catholics responding to the Gospel call to love our neighbors. With the help of generous supporters, we are able to impact the lives of more than 100,000 people each year.
I echo Archbishop Carlson’s recent message to the faithful: “In this time of uncertainty, God has given us an opportunity to come together and show the strength of our community – and as Catholics, to deliver a message of hope, courage and faith.”
Now and in the coming months, we are called to be even more creative and resourceful to minister to the increased needs of those who are poor and vulnerable. Your prayers and support for our mission are especially needed!
With sincere gratitude,
Theresa E. Ruzicka
of St. Louis
P.S. The best and easiest way to help during this time is with a monetary gift. You can donate online or mail your gift to Catholic Charities, PO Box 952393, St. Louis MO 63195. To limit exposure to COVID-19, most agencies are temporarily limiting volunteerism and acceptance of in-kind gifts; however, as urgent agency needs arise, we will post them on this page.
UPDATE: March 19, 2020
Video Message from Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis
UPDATE: March 16, 2020
At Catholic Charities of St. Louis, we are monitoring news and health officials’ recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Our focus is on the health and well-being of those we serve, staff, volunteers, visitors, and the community at large.
All Catholic Charities agencies continue to review services as recommended by health officials. Some services are being modified and some non-critical services have been postponed.
If you are in need of services from a Catholic Charities agency, please check the agency website or contact the Catholic Charities office at (314) 367-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for helping us keep everyone as healthy as possible.