Catholic Charities Programs for the Poor

Together Uplifting Families

 

About Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (CCDA), “seeks to implement the Church’s mission of social justice in the Diocese of Arlington in ways that strengthen individuals, families, and communities. Catholic Charities extends its services and resources to all in need; convenes the Catholic community to fulfill the Church’s mission of social justice; and advocates for social justice and seeks to empower others to do the same.” CCDA fulfills its mission in numerous ways, including family counseling, adoption services, immigration services, jobs ministry, prison ministry, food pantries, and family transitional housing. For more information, visit www.ccda.net.

How we serve the poor

Below is a list of the different capacities in which the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington serves the poor in our Diocese. To learn more about each program and how you can support Catholic Charities in their efforts, click one of the links below:

<-- Return to the 2017 World Day of the Poor page

 

Car Ministry: Cars for Families  - “How your old car can change someone’s life.”

The Car Ministry was founded more than two decades ago by Father John O’Hara and longtime Catholic Charities employee Harry Burke to help low-income families obtain vehicles.

The Car Ministry program accepts donations of both working and non-operational cars. For members of our community who do not have a vehicle, especially if they are low income, day-to-day obligations can be daunting. A car can transform lives and help people support their families, reduce their reliance on subsidies and become more financially secure. Catholic Charities gives working cars, along with their titles, to qualified recipients to own.  Non-operational cars are sold, and proceeds go to our volunteer-led programs.

How we help the poor in the Diocese

For most Northern Virginians, cars are the literal engines that propel their busy lives. Navigating this area without a vehicle can keep people from accessing jobs, and the opportunity to move out of poverty. Many of our low-income neighbors are faced with difficult choices on a daily basis due to a lack of reliable transportation. Having a car means being a reliable employee; it means the ability to go to the grocery store and bringing home healthier food and not hauling bags onto multiple buses; it means getting to doctors’ appointments and afterschool activities.

How to get involved

Fifty-six vehicles were donated to the Car Ministry in 2016, but demand exceeds supply. Your old car needs a new family! Our goal is to make donating your car as easy as possible. Catholic Charities will help you through the FREE process and handle all of the paperwork, including title transfer. You will have no costs for donating your car and you will receive an IRS donation receipt for the value of your car. For more information or to donate your vehicle, please contact Catholic Charities Car Ministry at cars@ccda.net or (703) 841-3898, or complete the donation form http://www.ccda.net/programs_car_donate.php.  

 

Want to learn more? Visit the Car Ministry program page on the Catholic Charities website

 

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All aboard the Food Bus - Arlington Catholic Herald Video

All aboard the food bus
Saint Mary School in Alexandria teamed up with Food Bus Inc to bring unused and unopened leftovers to the Catholic Charities Christ House food pantry (Video courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald).

Christ House Thrift Shop

Founded in 1973, Christ House provides food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, and clothing to those in need. All profits from the Christ House Thrift Shop go to support the Emergency Assistance Program. Christ House helps or assists in the prevention of homelessness and the cut-off of essential utilities. It serves residents of the Diocese of Arlington regardless of their race, creed, religion or national origin.

How we help the poor in the Diocese

By shopping or donating to the Christ House Thrift Shop you are helping those in need! Christ House Thrift Shop supports the mission to help the poor within the community. Catholic Charities established the emergency financial assistance program to help the poor, throughout the 21 counties in the Arlington Diocese, who are experiencing a one-time financial crisis in their lives, such as; needing help to pay rent, utility bills, prescription bills, and other expenses. In Fiscal Year 2017 the store conducted 6,078 sales transactions, assisted 1,105 individuals in need with free clothing vouchers, and generated over $80,000 in revenue for the emergency assistance program.

How to get involved

Do you want to join the more than sixteen hundred volunteers who contribute their time and talent to the important Christ House ministries? The Thrift Shop needs volunteers to assist with the daily operations of the store: sorting, pricing, merchandise display, etc. The store also needs your donations of clothing, accessories, handbags and shoes (all seasons), antiques, collectibles, jewelry, artwork, household items, knick-knacks and small pieces of furniture such as plant stands, accent tables and wood chairs. However, computer equipment, baby furniture, toys and stuffed animals are not accepted. Another way to help the Thrift Shop is by shopping there! For more information please visit http://ccda.net/programs_christhouse_thrift.php. To volunteer go to ccda.net, click on “Volunteer,” and select Christ House. Or contact the Program Director, Sherri Longhill, at 703-443-2481 or email: slonghill@ccda.net.

 

Want to learn more? Download the Christ House Thrift Shop brochure on the Catholic Charities website

 

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Christ House Men’s Transitional Housing

Founded in 1973, Christ House provides food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, and clothing to those in need. Christ House Men’s Transitional Housing offers recently renovated facilities, which afford a safe, clean, and welcoming environment to single men in need of a place to stay while they improve their lives. Christ House helps individuals recognize their abilities, develop self-sufficiency, and maintain their self-respect. The men that call Christ House home go through an extensive interview process, and in turn, reside at Christ House for six months as they receive support.

How we help the poor in the Diocese

The Christ House transitional shelter’s focus is a transformative experience. Catholic Charities staff members and volunteers assist the men as they transition from homelessness to independent living by following the Catholic approach to treating the whole person: breaking down physical, spiritual and emotional barriers, in addition to barriers to housing. Examples of the assistance, beyond basic needs, these men can receive are: housing preparation, family and social relations, substance abuse counseling, employment networking and training, computer skills, debt reduction, mentoring, spiritual renewal, legal support, and mental health counseling. Christ House follows the guidance of Pope Francis to increase quality encounters so that the transformative love of Christ can occur.

How to get involved

How can YOU be a blessing to those at Christ House? How can YOU help the homeless population? Join the more than sixteen hundred volunteers contribute time and talent to the important work of Christ House.  Sign up as a volunteer at  http://www.ccda.net/volunteer.php, make a financial  donation and pray for our Christ House residents to be transformed by the love of Christ. Care package donations are always needed and greatly appreciated.  Items needed include: soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, travel sized facial tissues, razor and shaving gel, women’s sanitary products, toilet paper, socks and gloves. Please call 703-549-8644 or visit http://www.ccda.net/programs_christhouse_shelter.php for more information.

 

Want to learn more? Visit the Christ House Men’s Transitional Housing program page on the Catholic Charities website

 

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2017 Diocese of Arlington WorkCamp Recap video

Prison Outreach and Welcome Home Re-entry Program

Catholic Charities Prison Outreach and the Welcome Home Re-entry Program serve men and women currently in the prison system and those returning to their communities after incarceration. The program’s goal is to welcome the currently and formerly incarcerated, remind them that they matter and have dignity, and that they are cherished as God’s creations. The prison ministry is facilitated through a network of diocesan volunteers who offer spiritual, emotional, and mentoring assistance to the imprisoned and recently released. Catholic Charities is building a network that offers transformational support through in-prison Bible study, RCIA and mass celebration, and transition assistance through mentoring, back packs, and a partnership with Oxford House to aid the previous offenders break the cycle of crime and poverty.

How we help the poor in the Diocese

One-third to one-half of ex-offenders re-offend and return to prison within three years of their release.  Part of the problem is their lack of connection with their community; the heart of this program is helping ex-offenders establish that connection.  Prison ministry volunteers bring the message of hope and the unconditional love of God to the inmates, sharing the Gospel through the ministry of presence, celebration of liturgies, reception of sacraments, study of faith and Holy Scripture. The goal of the reentry program is to help prevent returning citizens from falling back to previous mistakes.  This is accomplished through creating a support network centered on volunteer mentors who work closely with returning citizens. Furthermore, this support system aims to help the formerly incarcerated overcome big and small obstacles on route to finding a job, securing a safe place to live, and a community of support.

How to get involved

Catholic Charities provides missals and hymnals and other materials, facilitates arranging for priest visits, supports the Jail Ministry Program Coordinators in their work, and assists with recruitment of volunteers who are the backbone of this ministry.  Donations, such as toiletries, survival items, hand-written welcome notes, religious materials, and a gift card, are needed for backpacks. Additionally, groups are invited to hold backpack drives.

Volunteers are needed minister to those in prison and mentor the formerly incarcerated. Mentors provide practical assistance, spiritual guidance, and compassionate service through close collaboration with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, and other private and public organizations in the region. For information, please contact Bill Hall, Catholic Charities Coordinator of Prison Ministry at whall@ccda.net or call him at (703) 841-3832.

News Coverage

 

Want to learn more? Visit the Prison Ministry program page on the Catholic Charities website

 

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St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences

St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences serves homeless families with the time and support they need to reestablish independence after they have exited an emergency shelter. Eligible families are provided with low-income housing and varying levels of assistance during the precarious twelve to twenty-four months following their departure from an emergency or domestic violence shelter.  St. Margaret of Cortona staff and volunteers offer a wealth of Life Skills and Financial Literacy classes, employment training, and personal case management to residents. Participants recognize their worth and strengths in private apartments allowing them to move toward self-sufficiency in an environment that values their dignity.

How we help the poor in the Diocese

St. Margaret of Cortana Family Transitional Housing is a unique institution where residents’ physical needs, through the security and dignity of private housing, of the homeless are met while they are encouraged to grow spiritually. The 12 resident families of St. Margaret’s pay 30% of their income in rent, agree to abide by program policies, and participate in training, classes, and individualized case management.   Case managers provide one-on-one and group counseling regarding budgeting, interpersonal relations, parenting, employment skills, nutrition, and available social programs and services. Transitional housing provides a link that many families find missing when attempting to establish or re-establish self-sufficiency after a period of homelessness. Thirty (30%) percent of a participant’s rent is held in escrow and returned upon successful completion of the program to ease the final transition to an independently obtained and maintained home.

How to get involved

St. Margaret’s operations are sustained by the sharing and participation of volunteers. Every contribution is vital to the survival of St Margaret’s and the families they support. Any form of donation goes a long way at St. Margaret’s. Furniture, food, hygiene products and toys are all valuable donations. For more information, to volunteer or donate, please e-mail Veronica Roth at  vroth@ccda.net or call her at 703-910-4845.

 

Want to learn more? Visit the St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences program page on the Catholic Charities website

 

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St. Lucy Project - “Feeding the Hungry Nourishing the Soul”

St. Lucy Project is dedicated to reducing hunger and developing community-wide awareness and sensitivity of food insecurity.  This Catholic Charities program encounters the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters throughout the 21 counties and 7 major cities of the Arlington Diocese when and where food distribution is needed, as resources permit, without regard to ethnicity, religious belief, or other protected status. The St. Lucy Food Project combines efforts with more than 50 food pantries, secular and church-based, to reach the needy on the periphery of the diocese. 

St. Lucy is the patron of the program because of her passion to feed the hungry. There are many stories of her bringing bread to early Christians hiding in the Catacombs in the dead of night so they would not starve. She is also the Patron Saint to the blind; and quite often, we are blind to the hungry in our own communities.

How we help the poor in the Diocese

As the Catholic response to hunger in the Diocese, this initiative significantly strengthens the Catholic engagement in the service to the poor. Almost a quarter of a million people, 88,000 of those are children, in the Arlington Diocese’s  21 counties are food insecure, meaning, they do not know from where their next meal will be coming. The St. Lucy Project warehouse is the distribution center which augments its pantry network to alleviate food insecurity; it takes food donations, but not walk-in clients. From this warehouse, where the food is received, sorted and boxed for delivery, a fleet of refrigerated trucks and vans distribute food throughout the Diocese of Arlington allowing the St. Lucy Project to deliver healthy food, such as meat and fresh produce, to those in need.

How to get involved

Every Catholic, and all people of good will, have an opportunity to live out his/her faith by engaging in this outreach to the hungry. There are a wide variety of volunteer and donation opportunities through The St. Lucy Project; to include, conducting a food drive at a parish, school, or business; sorting and packing food at the Manassas warehouse; driving a van or truck to make deliveries; and helping clients in the pantry network across the Diocese. If you would like to conduct a food drive in your parish, school, or place of business please download the  Food Drive Kit as a guide for your event. Individual monetary and food donations are also greatly appreciated.  For more information or to volunteer, please contact Debra Beard at 703-479-2975 or  dbeard@ccda.net.

 

Want to learn more? Visit the St. Lucy Project page on the Catholic Charities website

 

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Hogar Immigrant Services (Educational)

Founded in 1981, Hogar Immigrant Services responds to the Catholic Church’s call for social justice by welcoming the stranger to this country, regardless of ethnicity, religion, nationality, or ability to pay.

To implement the Church's commitment to social justice and emphasis on "Welcoming the Stranger," the mission of Hogar Immigrant Services is to offer a wide range of services at little or no cost to a vulnerable immigrant population, without regard to religious or ethnic identity. Hogar Immigrant Services' goal is to help immigrants to become self-sufficient and productive members of American society through bilingual outreach programs, including a continuum of networking, immigration legal services, citizenship classes, workforce development classes, and English as a Second Language classes. The program’s aim is to assist newcomers in achieving their own goals of integrating successfully into American society, to work collegially with other social service organizations, and to do so in a supportive, welcoming, and professional manner.

How we help the poor in the Diocese

The primary goal of the Hogar Immigrant Services Education program is to offer immigrants English skills.  These skills enable our immigrant brothers and sisters to improve their ability to advocate for themselves; enhance their education and employment opportunities, better provide for their families; pass the Citizenship Exam -- which requires proficiency in English; and become less isolated and able to participate in the larger community. The program offers instruction focused on the development of practical daily living skills. Hogar offers English classes at locations in Manassas, Woodbridge, Falls Church, Dale City, Vienna, Sterling, and Alexandria.  In addition, Hogar provides Citizenship preparation classes in Sterling, Alexandria, Woodbridge, and Vienna.  All sites are located in local churches or Hogar office location. 

How to get involved

Hogar has more than 800 active volunteers across its many programs. The education services office is currently in need of Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) volunteers, supplemental class teachers, office support, citizenship teachers, workforce development teachers and computer teachers.  To join these dedicated volunteers visit https://www.hogarimmigrantservices.org/volunteer or email volunteer.hogar@ccda.net. For more please contact (571) 208-1572, or visit https://www.hogarimmigrantservices.org/education-services.

 

Want to learn more? Visit the Education Services page on Catholic Charities' Hogar Immigrant Services website

 

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Hogar Immigrant Services (Legal)

Founded in 1981, Hogar Immigrant Services responds to the Catholic Church’s call for social justice by welcoming the stranger to this country, regardless of ethnicity, religion, nationality, or ability to pay.

To implement the Church's commitment to social justice and emphasis on "Welcoming the Stranger," the mission of Hogar Immigrant Services is to offer a wide range of services at little or no cost to a vulnerable immigrant population, without regard to religious or ethnic identity. Hogar Immigrant Services' goal is to help immigrants to become self-sufficient and productive members of American society through bilingual outreach programs, including a continuum of networking, immigration legal services, citizenship classes, workforce development classes, and English as a Second Language classes. The program’s aim is to assist newcomers in achieving their own goals of integrating successfully into American society, to work collegially with other social service organizations, and to do so in a supportive, welcoming, and professional manner.

How we help the poor in the Diocese

To implement our mission, Hogar’s staff and volunteer attorneys and non-attorneys offer immigration legal assistance. Even if Hogar does not provide a needed service, the well-trained staff provides contact information to other agencies. The Legal Services team provides assistance with the following types of cases: Cases involving Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC’s) – asylum, U Visas, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS); Immigration legal consultations; Obtaining lawful permanent residence (green card); Family petitions (I-130s); Consular Processing and Adjustment of Status; U Visas, T Visas. and relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); Naturalization applications; Citizenship certificates; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); Employment Authorization; Green card renewals (I-90 applications); Temporary Protected Status (TPS); NACARA; Travel documents and FOIA Requests; Immigration Defense before the Immigration Court; and Waivers of Inadmissibility and I-601A Waiver.

How to get involved

Hogar has more than 800 active volunteers across its many programs. The legal office is currently in need of bilingual receptionist, Know Your Rights presenters, Naturalization Workshop attorney and non-attorney volunteers, bilingual office assistant, and attorney office volunteers. To join these dedicated volunteers visit https://www.hogarimmigrantservices.org/volunteer or email hogar@ccda.net.

 

Want to learn more? Please contact (703) 534-9805 or (571) 208-1572, or visit the Legal Services page on Catholic Charities' Hogar Immigrant Services website

 

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Emergency Assistance Program

Catholic Charities Emergency Assistance Program offers limited assistance to individuals needing help to pay their rent, utility bills, prescription bills, and other expenses. There are three locations that offer emergency assistance appointments: Christ House, Leesburg Regional Office (LRO), and Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry.

  • Leesburg: 316 E Market Street, Leesburg, VA 20176
  • Alexandria: 131 S. West Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
  • Front Royal: 613 N. Royal Ave., Front Royal, VA 22630

How we help the poor in the Diocese

Catholic Charities established the emergency financial assistance program to help the poor who are experiencing a one-time financial crisis in their lives.  Those in need can call the telephone hotline for each location (Christ House and LRO). The demand for these services is very high and we have limited funds, so assistance is given on a first-come first-serve basis. Those who are eligible for assistance must be seen in person at the Catholic Charities emergency assistance office.

How to get involved

Do you want to join the more than sixteen hundred volunteers who contribute their time and talent to the important Christ House ministries? To contribute to the emergency assistance fund please donate or shop at the Christ House Thrift Shop. To volunteer go to ccda.net, click on “Volunteer,” and select Christ House. Or contact the Program Director, Sherri Longhill at slonghill@ccda.net

 

Want to learn more? Visit the Emergency Services program page on Catholic Charities website

 

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St. Martin de Porres Senior Center

St. Martin de Porres Senior Center is a multipurpose program providing a variety of services to prevent isolation of seniors and promote their wellness, happiness, and independence.

At the Center, we provide congregate meals and a wide variety of health, exercise, social, recreational, educational, and entertainment activities, as well as field trips.

How we help the poor in the Diocese

Majority of those who attend the St. Martin de Porres Senior Center are those living below the poverty line. There is no fee to participate in the Center activities or to receive information and referral assistance.

Food insecurity is prevalent among the elderly, especially those who live alone; at the Senior Center daily meals are served to all participants.

In respecting the whole person, our staff assists Center participants regarding services provided by other agencies in the areas of physical and mental health, transportation, housing, financial and legal matters, employment, and social services.

Lastly, the mission of the St. Martin de Porres Senior Center is to prevent isolation and promote communal living in order to bring people into a life-giving atmosphere.
Seniors are an underserved population, so our St. Martin de Porres Senior Center is a critical endeavor:

  • 40% of our regular attendees live alone
  • 80% of our regular attendees live below the federal poverty level of $11,770
  • 100% of our seniors are at risk for falling, becoming isolated or depressed

How to get involved

Volunteers are needed at St. Martin de Porres to serve as receptionists, help with activities and to teach English for Speakers of Other Languages. For more information about our volunteer opportunities, please click here.

Want to learn more? Visit the St. Martin de Porres Senior Center program page on the Catholic Charities website.

 

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