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Navigating the Pandemic with Catholic Charities

Navigating the Pandemic with Catholic Charities

The emergency shelter at Daybreak Center has added many barriers throughout the facility to ensure social distancing, as shown in this photo of the men’s shelter space.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of the operations of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet. Last March, the agency made quick modifications to their programs and services in order to meet the needs of the community while keeping clients, staff, and volunteers safe and healthy. 

As the year progressed, the agency witnessed clients facing job loss and health struggles that resulted in great need throughout the diocese. One year after these adjustments began, Catholic Charities continues to reassess the best ways to safely serve the poor and vulnerable. 

Serving a high-risk population, Catholic Charities’ Aging and Disability Services switched from in-person meetings with clients to phone visits in most cases. Jennifer Wick, the director of Aging and Disability Services, said, “Shifting to virtual or telephonic programming has proven to be a challenge at times as the personal connection is often lost over a virtual format.” 

In addition, some older adults struggle with the technology. To better serve clients who are homebound or at high-risk for COVID, Catholic Charities provided cleaning supplies and food to help keep them safe at home. Meals and prescription medication are delivered by volunteers to the doorsteps of clients. Some volunteers even have “window visits” to help clients feel less lonely. The staff also make around 500 well-being check phone calls each week to clients, many of whom are isolated and rarely have contact with others.  

Catholic Charities’ Daybreak Center in Joliet has experienced a high number of calls requesting rental and mortgage assistance from people who have lost their jobs or had hours cut due to the pandemic. Clients staying in the emergency shelter last year were temporarily moved to hotels for social distancing. Today, a limited number of clients and staff have returned to the building. In order to keep everyone safe and socially distant, the shelter has had to decrease the number of available beds. 

Thank you, donors!

During this uncertain time, Catholic Charities is grateful for the outpouring of generosity and support from the community. Donors are helping the agency continue to provide support, compassion, dignity, and services to assist in shaping a positive future for their clients. Thank you for supporting the mission of Catholic Charities to provide care to the poor and vulnerable. 

After Catholic Charities purchased a new stove for a long-time client, they received this email: “I LOVE the new stove! We are so grateful to Catholic Charities! You are our angels! May you have a very blessed Christmas!”

This note was received from a recipient of gifts from Catholic Charities’ Sharing the Warmth Christmas program for seniors: “Thank you so much. It has been a beautiful day. I never thought Santa would come, and you’re my Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus all in one. I didn’t think I would ever get anything for Christmas like last year when I didn’t get anything. I’m so thankful and happy. Bless you and your family and Catholic Charities. I no longer feel sad. I am happy today.”

Please Help.

As the pandemic continues to impact the community, Catholic Charities serves an increasing number of individuals and families. Many who seek help are in an emergency situation and need food, rent, warm clothing, and help with utilities. Our neighbors are struggling. Will you help? To make a donation to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet, visit; call 815-724-1140; or send a donation to:

Catholic Charities

16555 Weber Road 

Crest Hill, IL 60403

The agency’s Head Start centers have adapted services to provide the safest and healthiest environment for children during the pandemic.

A series of flu shot clinics was provided over the winter to help protect high-risk seniors.

Cars lined up in Joliet for a Mobile Food Pantry in February, which served 228 families. Catholic Charities has increased the number of Mobile Food Pantries provided throughout the diocese to meet the growing need for food assistance.