(Baltimore – March 16, 2020) – As Marylanders find themselves increasingly restricted by the dangerous community spread of COVID-19, Catholic Charities is working to provide agile and creative responses to ensure care for those most in need.
Catholic Charities’ 16 Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Baltimore City, Harford and Carroll Counties are closed, but several are providing grab-and-go meals to their families, nearly all of whom meet federal poverty guidelines. Safe Streets Sandtown-Winchester and Brooklyn-Curtis Bay, which frequently hold mealtime community events, have cancelled those events and moved to distributing takeaway meals in their communities as well.
To make room in hospitals for possible influxes of COVID-19 patients, St. Elizabeth Rehabilitation and Nursing Center is preparing to accept uninfected patients transferred from those hospitals. St Elizabeth’s is also maintaining space for quarantine or isolation of its residents, in case it’s needed. Both the center and Caritas House Assisted Living are following all of the state, federal and operational requirements imposed on all nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“We are working to stay ahead and be proactive in this crisis so that we can provide the greatest level of service we are able to provide,” said Executive Director William J. McCarthy Jr. “At the same time, we are working to help ‘flatten the curve’ of the infection rate by prioritizing essential services and personnel, enacting phone and video conferencing for our therapists and other consultations, restricting or cancelling visits, and other measures.”
Catholic Charities has more than 80 programs in 200 locations across nine counties and Baltimore City. Each program and location has a plan for continuing service in specific types of emergencies. While a pandemic like this is unprecedented, the pre-pandemic planning allows the organization to adapt and adjust.
“The circumstances develop, but our commitments don’t change,” said McCarthy. “We still honor each person’s dignity and treat each person with compassion. We still work in a spirit of collaboration. And we never lose sight of our values to love, serve and teach. As long as we are able to be there for our neighbors responsibly, we will be.”
Since so many people will be unable to work or will see their hours cut back during the most restrictive phases of the pandemic, Catholic Charities expects to see an increase in the number of individuals and families who struggle. The organization has a crisis coordinator for goods donations, and a direct way to donate financial gifts. Both of these will allow gifts to be used immediately in the areas that need them most.
To stay updated on Catholic Charities programs and services, donate goods, or making an unrestricted financial gift to the Catholic Charities Coronavirus Emergency Assistance Fund: cc-md.org/covid19