Needs grow for Catholic Social Services across the Charlotte diocese
CHARLOTTE — The three regional offices of Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Charlotte saw a flood of requests for help this past fiscal year that ended in July. The greatest area of need? Requests for food assistance.
In the Charlotte regional office, more than 109,258 pounds of food were distributed to 2,476 adults and 1,951 children. The Piedmont Triad regional office distributed 106,039 pounds of food to 1,751 adults and 2,114 children. In Asheville, the local regional office provided 75,492 pounds of food to 1,641 adults and 901 children. The need for food has increased by more than 25 percent from last year.
Pregnancy support and adoption services are also an integral part of Catholic Social Services. Twenty-five families and babies were served by programs designed to help develop healthy children and healthy families.
The Hand to Hand first-time teen parenting program in the Winston-Salem area assisted 63 birth mothers and four fathers, spending hundreds of hours training and counseling them on parenting skills and helping them to achieve educational and employment goals.
Counseling services are another important aspect of Catholic Social Services. The CSS Host Homes program helped 71 at-risk youth deal with personal and family crises by providing 406 hours of counseling and guidance.
In all, more than 2,614 hours of counseling were also provided to 369 individuals, couples and groups this past year.
Couples preparing for marriage, 502 of them, came through the Marriage Preparation program and received instruction in natural family planning.
Seniors in the community also benefitted, as across the diocese 750 seniors participated in 11 events of prayer and renewal.
The Refugee Resettlement Office provides services to the larger community, resettling more than 257 refugees from 14 different countries last year. A total of 3,473 hours of English language instruction was provided to them to assist them in their resettlement into American culture. Legal immigration services were provided to 544 people.
Catholic Social Services employs more than 60 full- and part-time employees who work tirelessly to use the resources given to them to assist all those who come to them in need.
"We literally couldn't assist the community the way we do if we didn't have the mix of the donations from the Diocesan Support Appeal, donated materials and financial support, and the help of volunteers," said Dr. Gerard Carter, executive director of Catholic Social Services. "We couldn't do it. It simply wouldn't happen."
For more information about Catholic Social Services, the diocesan affiliate of Catholic Charities, go to www.cssnc.org.
-- SueAnn Howell, staff writer