It was a year like no other. As the pandemic began to spread, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and its 1,800 employees came together in a spirit of generosity, community and commitment to help our neighbors in need. Teachers and Early Childhood Staff taught remotely and provided family engagement activities and daily contact, while Doctors and Counselors at our Behavioral Health Clinics provided services through Teladoc technology, offering counseling to so many who were experiencing crippling anxiety or fighting to maintain their sobriety during the crisis. The Senior Center and Senior Housing staff distributed thousands of grab-and-go meals and made daily check-in calls to our seniors to make sure they were healthy. Meanwhile, our Office of Mission Staff provided food, help and resources to those in need of assistance through our Food Pantry Network and at countless emergency Pop-Up Food Pantries. We continued to provide a safe shelter for the residents of our 4,330 residences throughout Brooklyn and Queens, and our Program Managers and staff members of our over 160 programs found new and innovative ways to continue to serve the community during the crisis. We are proud that even in times of personal crisis, the vital work of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens continues uninterrupted. We are truly a helping hand to a community in need.
In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Brooklyn and Queens was the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States. News outlets reported that Brooklyn and Queens accounted for nearly 60 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the New York metropolitan area. With the virus spreading and schools and non-essential businesses shutting down, Catholic Charities felt the impact of thousands of our neighbors dealing with so much, from the fear of the virus to an uncertain future caused by unemployment and poverty. Fortunately, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens has served on the front-lines of emergency response for years (including 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy), so we were able to turn our attention to emergency crisis care quickly.
Almost immediately after the shutdown in mid-March 2020, Catholic Charities planned and responded by offering emergency pop-up food pantries at different parish sites each week, providing much-needed food to those struggling with the virus. Within a few short weeks, employees at our parish-based food pantries reported a 1000% increase in food requests. In five weeks, we distributed more than 100,000 meals to more than 45,000 individuals. Throughout 2020, Catholic Charities has provided much-needed food packages and services at our 49 food pantries located throughout both boroughs. In total, the agency distributed over $3.4 million in food assistance. In addition, Catholic Charities witnessed a 37 percent increase in clients in 2020, from 235,630 in 2019 to 323,478 in 2020 (87,848 new clients). These individuals came to us for a variety of reasons – for mental health counseling, housing, family services and early childhood education – and we were there to meet their needs.
Today, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens is continuing to serve communities severely impacted, daily living out our mission of service to others. As we move forward, we are guided by the words of Pope Francis "to rediscover the concreteness of small things, the small acts of kindness shown to those who are close to us."
Reverend Monsignor Alfred P. LoPinto
President & CEO
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and Subsidiary Agencies
In a recent message on “Healing the World,” our Holy Father, Pope Francis said: “The current pandemic has highlighted our interdependence: we are all connected to each other, for better or for worse. Therefore, to emerge from this crisis better than before, we have to do so together; together, not alone. We must do it together, all of us, in solidarity.”
Here in the Diocese of Brooklyn, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens works together with local parishes to embrace the poor, feed the hungry, help homeless individuals and families seeking shelter, educate our children, provide comfort and care to seniors, and assist individuals and families struggling with addiction or mental illness. By working in solidarity to build communities of love, they are changing the lives of thousands and bringing hope to those in need.
Special thanks this year is extended to our Board of Trustees, community and government partners, as well as our faithful donors and supporters. Your unwavering support of our programs enables us to preserve the dignity and quality of life of thousands of individuals and families in the Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens; reducing hardships and changing lives each day.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D. Bishop of Brooklyn
Recognizing those who have included Catholic Charities in their estate plans through annuities, trusts, and bequests.
With the greatest gratitude to those who have remembered Catholic Charities in their will.