Feeding the hungry, one of the Works of Mercy, unfolds every day at Catholic Charities offices through the efforts of dedicated staff and volunteers.

With the coronavirus outbreak and resulting financial crisis impacting many individuals and families, the agency has seen a growth in demand for providing food to those in need. “We knew that there would be an increase in the number of people seeking assistance, including those who had never come to a food pantry before,” said Lisa Perkins, Catholic Charities Executive Director.

In the middle of the emergency, a call for help from Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama was shared with friends of Catholic Charities. The immediate and generous response of the community provided a critical boost for Catholic Charities to provide food to families across the diocese, including in areas where Catholic Charities does not operate a food pantry.

Albemarle, Newton Grove and New Bern are the three deaneries where Catholic Charities services do not include a food pantry. In order to respond to this critical need for food, Catholic Charities partnered with local parishes to provide funding to help with the purchase of food. “It was very important for us to support parishes and share funding during this challenging time to assist families across the Diocese of Raleigh,” mentioned Perkins.

Boosting the support generated by individual monetary donations, over $60,000 in grant funds were recently awarded to Catholic Charities. Of these funding awards, a $10,000 grant from the United Way of the Greater Triangle Rapid Response Fund was specifically directed at helping families in Johnston County, in the Newton Grove Deanery. Through partnerships with local parishes, these funds went directly to helping the community.

In addition to partnering with parishes, Catholic Charities continues to operate five food pantries in Durham, Greenville, Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Wilmington to respond to the increase in demand due to COVID-19. Food pantry operations have been adjusted to a drive-thru delivery model, maintaining social distancing measures for staff and volunteers.

To learn more about how to volunteer or make a donation to support food pantry operations, please visit www.CatholicCharitiesRaleigh.org/food-pantry and contact the office nearest you.