Immigrants And Refugees

Crisis: Emergency Food and Financial Assistance to New Yorkers in Need

Photo by Rafaelina Tineo

Before the end of April 2020, Catholic Charities of New York had already distributed nearly 100,000 meals in the Bronx, Washington Heights and Inwood through our regular programs as well as pop-up food pantries. Catholic Charities has also given over $500,000 in financial assistance to New Yorkers who have lost their jobs or wages, did not qualify for federal stimulus funds, and have not been able to get other assistance.

City, State and Federal programs have been established to provide support to many during this pandemic. But as is often the case, some of our communities’ most needy and vulnerable fall through the cracks. Catholic Charities of New York knows those spaces well, so when those people ask for help, Catholic Charities is ready.

“We’ve extended our already existing emergency programs,” says Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, “to try to help those New Yorkers with some of the greatest needs in this time of Coronavirus.”

Catholic Charities of New York has given out pre-packaged bags of groceries (to practice social distancing) as well as pre-paid debit and gift cards. The recipients of this aid have been individuals and families suffering from wage losses and not eligible for unemployment insurance, day laborers, refugees and immigrants unable to work,  and many more who have been severely financially impacted by this pandemic. You might say, this is what Catholic Charities always does, and that is true, but these efforts have been gone beyond those services.


Though we talk about Catholic Charities performing outreach and offering up these programs, the truth is there would be nothing to give if it were not for you. Maybe you are wondering if your contributions to Catholic Charities matter, if what you give directly helps those in need. Here are two stories that show what YOU and programs like this are doing.

Emmanuela recently came from the Dominican Republic with her family. Shortly after, her husband abandoned her and their three children, leaving Emmanuela as the sole provider. She works odd jobs to pay for a shelter and food, but due to the pandemic, Ms. Peralta is out-of-work and has exhausted her limited savings. During a routine wellness-check by Catholic Charities staff, Emmanuela expressed her distress and was referred for financial assistance. With the help of generous donors, she is not only able to pay the back rent on the single room apartment she and her three children occupy, but is able to buy food and essential household items.

Franchesca is a single mother of three girls. Last year Franchesca and her daughters were evicted from their residence. With the help of Catholic Charities, they were able to regain access to their residence. Just as Franchesca was becoming more stable, she lost her employment due to the pandemic. This quickly depleted her savings. During a wellness check, Franchesca explained her struggle and was referred for financial assistance. Now she can pay off some of her utilities and buy food for her children.


Catholic Charities of New York is grateful to the many generous benefactors who continue to provide additional resources and lend assistance in this time of crisis. This extra help is going to continue as long as it is necessary. If you want to be a part of the help, you can GIVE TODAY.

See also:   Food