In an effort to facilitate social-distancing, Catholic Charities has implemented changes in several programs:
- Food pantries in Burlington, Lakewood, and Trenton continue serving people in need, but staff are distributing pre-packed bags at the door. The food pantries have modified operating hours:
- Mercer Community Services Food Pantry (located at Mount Carmel Guild)
73 North Clinton Avenue Trenton, NJ 08609
Mondays through Fridays 9:30am to 11:30am
- Burlington Community Services Food Pantry
450-460 Veterans Drive Burlington NJ 08016
Mondays through Thursdays 9:00AM to 12:00pm
- Ocean Community Services Food Pantry
200 Monmouth Avenue, Lakewood, New Jersey
Mondays through Thursdays 9:00AM to 12:00pm
- Group counseling and support groups have conformed to the guidelines set by state and local public-health officials. Clients can directly contact their specific program to learn of specific limitations.
- The free tax preparation offered at 39 N. Clinton Ave., Trenton, is indefinitely suspended.
- Programs with evening hours have suspended those hours (excluding residential programs) to ensure that staff and clients comply with the governor’s 8 p.m. curfew.
- Fix It, a volunteer-run program that provides minor home repairs to help Ocean County senior citizens live independently in their homes, is operational but limited. Questions: Contact program director John McCrone at (732) 363-5322 – option 5 on the menu.
- New Choices young adult group was on Thursdays from 6:00PM-7:30PM. It will be moved to 5:00PM-6:30PM effective immediately.
- Project Free evening IOP (Intensive Outpatient) groups were Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 5:00PM-8:00PM. They will be moved to 4:00PM-7:00PM effective immediately.
- All trainings by our Human Trafficking team are suspended in March and April.
- Safety Steps with Surf, a program in which our facility dog Surf visits Monmouth County schools to teach students about safety, is suspended.
- Effective March 25th Early Intervention Support Services (EISS) hours will now be 8am-6pm; accepting new walk in clients from 8am-4pm.
- Regular CFS office hours are now from 9:00am to 4:00pm daily.
- El Centro is open on Saturday mornings from 9am to 12pm.
- Family Growth availability on Saturdays is by appointment only.
In an effort to facilitate social-distancing, Catholic Charities has postponed the following events:
- The scheduled Census Parties at Community Services (Ocean and Burlington) and El Centro are canceled.
- The Good Friday procession and Stations of the Cross held annually by El Centro is canceled.
- The Open House for the Family Growth Program that had been scheduled for April 22 has been postponed, but will still take place at a future date.
- The Monmouth County 2020 Ray of Hope Gala that had been scheduled for May 8 has been moved to Friday, August 7, 2020.
- The Guardian Angel Dinner Dance Kick-off Reception that had been scheduled for May 14 has been moved to Thursday, July 9, 2020.
Need will grow
Specifically, the need for Catholic Charities and other social services is expected to grow in several ways:
- As schools close, vulnerable students who rely on schools for breakfast and lunch will be home without that critically needed support. Consequently, food pantries likely will see more families, and those families will need additional groceries.
- As employers implement social-distancing measures and this crisis impacts the economy, low-wage workers may go for an extended period of time without a paycheck – or may lose their jobs altogether. That could create a surge in the number of people who need basic-needs services such as rental assistance and employment assistance.
Because the need for basic-need services is expected to rise, Catholic Charities welcomes donations of money and gift cards to help us continue to serve people in need through this crisis. To give, click here.
Clothing donations are suspended at Community Services until further notice. But people can still donate clothing at Catholic Charities’ publicly accessible clothing bins. Locations: Catholic Charities administration building, 383 West State St., Trenton; Burlington Community Services at 450-460 Veterans Blvd., Burlington; Linkages at 4261 NJ-33, Tinton Falls; and Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Burlington County at 595 Rancocas Road, Westampton. Bins at several church locations listed here also benefit Catholic Charities programs.
2020 Census sites still open
The coronavirus crisis is unfolding as the federal government undertakes its once-a-decade census. In fact, the 2020 Census opened for reporting just last week.
To help improve census reporting by historically under-counted groups like immigrants, Catholic Charities opened up three public-access centers where the public can come for assistance in completing the census. Those public-access census-reporting centers remain open, for now, as Catholic Charities consults with census officials on best strategies moving forward. Locations: El Centro, 327 S. Broad St., Trenton; Community Services-Ocean, 200 Monmouth Ave., Lakewood; and Community Services-Burlington, 450-460 Veterans Dr., Burlington.
Census parties planned at those locations have been indefinitely postponed.