July 22, 2020

Catholic Charities Provides More Than $1 Million of Food and Emergency Rental/Utility Assistance to Local Communities During COVID-19 Response 

Helped More Than 7,000 Individuals in Need During Four Months as the Economic Impact of the Pandemic Began Taking a Toll; Effort is One Aspect of Church's Expansive Service     


ARLINGTON, Va. - Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (Catholic Charities), the social services arm of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, provided more than $1 million in food and emergency rental and utility assistance to more than 7,000 individuals over the last four months as COVID-19 began taking its toll locally. Specifically, Catholic Charities distributed 492,186* pounds of food, worth more than $797,341.32*, to more than 6,000 people and provided $241,325 in rental and utility assistance to 315 households  - some 1,114 individuals - between March and June.      

“God never ceases to care for his creation, and, by his grace, Catholic Charities is continuing to strengthen our communities. Many families face unprecedented need. The burden this pandemic has placed on those already suffering hardship is heavy, and others are experiencing an inability to put food on the table or pay their rent or utilities for the first time,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Catholic Diocese of Arlington. “By offering support to our neighbors in need, Catholics and people of goodwill throughout the Diocese are living our Lord's call to bear each other burdens and to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Food has been the most significant need during the pandemic. Most of the more than 6,000 individuals who received food have returned each succeeding month. Since March, there have been 20,917 visits to one of Catholic Charities' pantries or its partner pantries, a 154% increase from the same time period in 2019. Catholic Charities' St. Lucy Food Project supplies food to families served by three Catholic Charities pantries - Loaves and Fishes in Front Royal, Christ House in Alexandria, and the Leesburg Regional Office in Leesburg - as well as some 60 parish, interfaith, community and government pantries throughout the Diocese.    

Catholic Charities has also responded to the urgent need for rental and utility assistance to prevent homelessness. Its emergency assistance program saw a 288% increase in rental aid between April and June. Additionally, with unemployment still high and given more than 30% of clients requesting assistance report they have lost their jobs entirely, the economic impact of the virus is expected to be longer-term.   

Food and emergency rental assistance are two significant ways the Catholic Church, through Catholic Charities, has provided direct assistance to those in need during the pandemic. Catholic Charities' services and impact also extend well beyond this, including providing free medical care, pregnancy and adoption services, mental health counseling and assistance for immigrants and refugees.

Overall, Catholic Charities operates 21 programs serving the 21 counties and seven cities of the Diocese.  In March, the organization quickly modified services for the safety of clients, volunteers and employees in order to continue supporting individuals and families during the response to COVID-19. To offer material or financial support to Catholic Charities, visit here

Additionally, many of the Diocese's 70 parishes continue to operate their own food assistance programs and provide financial support, including St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Falls Church, All Saints in Manassas, St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church, and Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Winchester. Individuals interested in donating food or in need of assistance should go to the website of their local Catholic parish or visit Catholic Charities' website at

For more information, contact Amber Roseboom, Director of Media Relations, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 571-215-8731 or

*Data revised up on July 24, 2020.

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Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington serves the poor and vulnerable who live within the 21 counties and seven cities of the Diocese of Arlington, which is led by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. Catholic Charities provides food for the hungry, a free medical clinic for adults including prenatal care, adoption services, transformational housing for the homeless, mental health counseling, emergency financial assistance, prison ministry, workforce development, and immigration and refugee services. Catholic Charities serves all, regardless of faith.