By Melanie Cost, Jessie Ball duPont Fund
For more than 75 years, Catholic Charities of Jacksonville has provided for the basic needs of our vulnerable neighbors and assisted them on a journey toward self-sufficiency. Catholic Charities offers emergency financial assistance, workforce development, food assistance, immigration legal services, refugee resettlement and caring for people with intellectual and developmental differences. As the COVID-19 pandemic increases the needs of Catholic Charities’ clients, the organization is responding with ramped-up services, both in person and virtually.
Catholic Charities received one of the first grants from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund. The $50,000 grant is supporting the organization’s work to provide food, case management and emergency financial assistance to families in crisis throughout Jacksonville.
“Catholic Charities Jacksonville is grateful to partner with Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund to ensure the most vulnerable in our community can receive the critical help they need during these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lauren Weedon Hopkins, regional director of Catholic Charities Jacksonville.
Catholic Charities is continuing to operate its food pantry, located in a food desert in Northwest Jacksonville, with drive-through services, and is serving 60 families each day. The organization has also moved its ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) classes online to continue providing those services during this period of social distancing.
“Thanks to all the supporters of Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund for their generosity and confidence in our agency to mobilize quickly to serve,” Hopkins added. “As we learned from our Hurricane Irma experience, Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund provides essential funding at a crucial time so Catholic Charities can aid those most in need.”
Catholic Charities of Jacksonville is one of hundreds of local nonprofits affected by COVID-19 disruption. Grants like the one from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund are critical for nonprofits like Catholic Charities to continue offering their portfolio of services.
At this time, the Relief Fund has raised over $5 million and helped over 80 local nonprofits serving those disproportionally affected by COVID-19. More grants are pending. For timely updates, visit the Relief Fund reporting webpage. To make a gift to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, visit unitedwaynefl.org/relief-fund.