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