Catholic Charities DC issued a call to action Friday, asking DMV residents for help with an “urgent need” to replenish their food pantries.
Recent layoffs at restaurants and other service-related businesses, which occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, have led to sharp increases in the number of people seeking meals from Catholic Charities’s food assistance programs, says Scott Lewis, who oversees these programs. Says Lewis, “I’m getting calls from a lot of individuals and families saying, ‘Where can I get food? I really need food.’”
This increased need has put unexpected pressure on Catholic Charities’s budget, draining the organization’s resources quicker than anticipated. At the same time, the organization has been forced to send home most of its volunteers on account of coronavirus concerns. “We really couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers,” Lewis says. “But we’re finding ourselves doing the work—maybe not as well as we would have done—but we’re doing it without a lot of volunteers.”
In years past, locals could have helped out by participating in food drives or other activities. But on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, the best way to help Catholic Charities feed the hungry, Lewis says, is to contribute financially.
Donors can also visit the organization’s Amazon wish list to purchase food, cleaning supplies, or personal items that will be distributed to the needy.
“This week we are able to get this food out. We don’t know whether next week we are going to need to be in our homes or be ordered to be in our homes,” Lewis says. “So we are trying to do whatever we can at this moment.”