Vermont Catholic Charities is continuing to serve persons and families in need even during the Covid-19 pandemic and its travel, work and gathering restrictions.

“Vermont Catholic Charities is committed to serving people in our community during this difficult time,” said Mary Beth Pinard, executive director of Vermont Catholic Charities. “Our office is still open, but we are making some temporary changes due to the Covid-19 virus.”

The Emergency Aid Program continues to operate, including parish referrals. “We know individuals and families need help and we want to do what we can,” Pinard said. Clients can call the office’s telephone line and give information over the phone. Emergency aid coordinators in Rutland and South Burlington will contact clients and get necessary information using technology.

Vermont Catholic Charities staff has seen many clients impacted by Covid-19. Among them were Molly and Jimmy who have a 10-year-old daughter and were excited to welcome a new baby. Unexpectedly, Molly lost her job due to the pandemic while Jimmy’s hours were reduced substantially. They were out of fuel and could not afford a delivery so Catholic Charities helped them secure a prompt delivery of fuel and assisted with a food/essential household gift card.

Tom is a single father of two teenagers. He works fulltime and does not receive food assistance. His sons are now home full-time, and they ran out of basic food items before his next paycheck. Catholic Charities provided a food card to hold them over until the next paycheck.

“The immediate increase in requests appear to be food and rent related,” Pinard said. “People who have abruptly lost their jobs are very worried about trying to keep up with their essential bills (housing, heat, utilities) while they are also coming up short for food and household items (diapers, cleaning supplies, hygiene items).”

In addition to emergency assistance, Vermont Catholic Charities continues to provide counseling services. “Our counselors are continuing to meet with clients remotely via phone or videoconference call,” Pinard said. For counseling services, call 802-658-6111.

One of the Catholic Charities counselors, Sharon Trani, did a webinar on “How to Stay Calm in the Midst of the Unknown.” It is available on the diocesan website (vermontcatholic.org/spiritualresources).”

Vermont Catholic Charities’ eldercare homes in Burlington, Rutland and Derby Line are in full operation.

To donate to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal that supports Vermont Catholic Charities, go to bishopsappealvt.org

—Originally published in the May 9-14, 2020, issue of The Inland See.

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