Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada provides support to community members in the Reno/Sparks region, along with other parts of the state. Through the variety of assistance programs that Catholic Charities provides, such as the food pantry and thrift stores, they work to respond to the immediate needs of Northern Nevadans.
Through their affiliation with Catholic Charities USA, they are a part of the nation’s largest social services network. Collectively these organizations served 13 million people across the country in 2019 according to their fact sheet.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting many parts of the country, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada has seen a shift in how they reach out to the community and provide services for those in need. Currently, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada serves about 50,000 people a month, as compared to pre-pandemic times when they served about 30,000 people.
Although Catholic Charities had to convert to a different business model, the organizational changes haven’t deterred them from providing aid to the community.
Marie Baxter, the local chief executive of Catholic Charities, said the organization has been lucky because of the amount of help that they’ve gotten from outside sources.
“We’ve also been really fortunate in that we’ve received some private foundation funding and some individual funding that has allowed us to provide support to people who didn’t qualify for any of the federal benefits, [like] individuals who could not get unemployment, or who were not able to get stimulus related funds.”
In addition to donations, food services and online resources, Catholic Charities also aids the Latino community by providing them with information and access to immigration services. The organization helped families in the Latinx community that didn’t qualify for any of the federal COVID-19 benefits, for example.
Annie Allen, director of the immigration assistance program at Catholic Charities, spoke about the changes to her program due to the pandemic.
“Our team had to adjust our case management to be primarily telephonic. We’re working with a lot of clients via email if they do have that available and we are helping prepare our clients for their interviews using Zoom, so definitely a shift from our in office appointments that we’re more accustomed to,” she said.
However, since some clients still don’t have access to this video technology, the organization still allows for individuals to come into their offices with the proper safety and social distancing measures intact.
To learn more about Catholic Charities and their services:
- For donations: https://ccsnn.org/pages/ways-to-donate
- Ways to volunteer: https://ccsnn.org/pages/volunteer
- Immigration Assistance: https://ccsnn.org/pages/immigration-assistance
Article written by Melanie Mendez, a junior at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.