With unprecedented levels of unemployment and uncertainty about the economy, Catholic Charities of Louisville has expanded its work to help meet emerging needs.
People, parishes and organizations are encouraged to ask for help.
“If there is a need out there and we haven’t heard about it yet, we want people to know they can reach out,” said Lisa DeJaco Crutcher, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities. “Our top concern is getting money out as quickly as we can. We want to make sure that people who have needs know we are here and care for them.”
Some funds that have already been dispensed were used to supplement parish food pantries, while some individuals received assistance paying rent, electric and water bills.
Resources for this work have come from multiple sources. Catholic Charities received a $50,000 grant from the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund and about $16,675 from Catholic Charities USA. Brown-Forman has funded a lunch distribution program at Catholic Charities’ Sister Visitor Center.
Catholic Charities’ staff has worked in partnership with parishes throughout the 24 counties of the archdiocese, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, as well as a network of area ministries and other organizations.
Deacon Lucio Caruso, director of mission and identity of Catholic Charities, reached out to each of the 110 parishes of the archdiocese.
“First, I called to check in and say hi and ask how they are doing and if we can help with anything,” he said.
When the grant money came in, he worked through his contact list and began to distribute funds, particularly to individuals and organization outside Jefferson County, where there are fewer community resources.
“We know the need is out there. Maybe it’s individuals or families who have not faced this type of need before and they don’t know where to go. We want to show that we are all in this together,” he said.
DeJaco Crutcher said the grants have allowed Catholic Charities to expand its reach beyond its usual programming and assist people who, in normal circumstances, might not need the charity’s help.
“We are still serving refugee families, human trafficking survivors. But, we know there are a lot more in need in the community right now,” she said.
Catholic Charities staff encourages individuals in need to first reach out to their parish or area ministry. Their requests will be directed to Catholic Charities.