Dear Friends and Family of Catholic Charities:
What if 2020 is the year we have been waiting for?
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw- that it finally forces us to grow.
A year that screams at us so loud, finally awakening and rekindling us.
A year the world changed around us and forced us to change how we interact with each other as fellow humans. A year that gave us the opportunity to band together, help neighbors, and become the “Good Samaritan.”
I have been at Catholic Charities for 2 years now and have learned more about our communities in the last 9 months, than in the 20 years living in San Diego. I have been so overwhelmed with gratitude and faith in mankind as we fight to keep each other safe and work together in solidarity for what is right. For what is just. For what is kind. We are walking side-by-side with the most vulnerable who have been hit hardest – those who have lost their jobs, their businesses, and even their loved ones to COVID-19 and the related economic fallout.
Catholic Charities has always focused on its mission, but it has never been more relevant today. We are not only facing a global crisis, but a pandemic of hunger and poverty.
Back in March, when we first went into lockdown, I remember vividly the panic, the fear…and the foraging that individuals and families had to undergo irrespective of our economic status.
We were fearful of the coronavirus, yes. But more urgently, we were scared of hunger and the unknown.
Hunger is something we have all experienced, missing a meal, working through lunch, pushing through the rumbles and hunger pains. Imagine now having those pains without the convenience to go to a stocked refrigerator or having the funds to go to a drive thru and pick up food. Imagine being hungry and not having the means or option to have food, to stop the hunger pain, the anxiety and the hopelessness of being alone.
That is the pandemic we are facing. It is estimated that more than 50 million people, including 17 million children, may have crossed into food insecurity in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Here in our communities and among our neighbors, I can see with my own eyes. The number of people in need has doubled.
Our response to people needing food is simple, powerful and safe.
We will feed every single person who comes to us for food.
Over the last 9 months, Catholic Charities’ Emergency Food Distribution Network Plus (EFDN+) provided over 1,206,030 pounds of food, or 1,005,025 meals, to our communities’ most vulnerable. Our 1,212 volunteers have contributed 19,599 hours to put food into the hands of the hungry.
Bianca’s story is one of courage, hope and perseverance. Her story is unfortunately becoming more common. Professionals with promising careers are losing their jobs and ways of life because the World as we knew it has changed over these past 9 months. It is a change that will continue until we are cleared from the current pandemic, a change that will take time to correct and heal. Can you believe that Bianca is an IT professional with a master’s degree in engineering and a perpetually positive attitude?! Still, she recalled a night in July where all she had was a can of soup and four potatoes to feed her family of eight. Click here to read more about Bianca’s story.
Our new EFDN+ is a large undertaking, to say the least. We will live our mission, we will feed our hungry neighbors, we will do whatever it takes to lead, and be beacon of hope that is very much needed during these unprecedented times of our lives. We are asking you to please put your faith into action and support us doing the work, providing the meals and helping our neighbors survive.
I pray that our Lord keeps you, your loved ones, our country, and the world safe,
Chief Executive Officer