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Area Catholics assist those in need during COVID-19 pandemic
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Area Catholics assist those in need during COVID-19 pandemic

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Parishes and Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Arlington, including those in Culpeper, provided nearly $2.4 million in emergency rental and utility assistance, food and medical services to more than 101,000 individuals over the past five months, according to a news release from the diocese.

Members of Precious Blood Catholic Church, located on Main Street in Culpeper, helped on average 50 to 60 people each week between March and July and distributed $650 in gift cards for food needs, in response to the significant increase in the number of families and individuals requesting assistance as the pandemic continues its economic toll.

In addition, the parish has an active food bank that has given about 1,300 bags of food in just over four months. The bags include a mix of shelf staples, canned, boxed, fresh and frozen foods. Each family receives five to eight bags, depending on size, with an average of eight families each pantry day.

“As a church, we are called to accompany our brothers and sisters on their earthly journey, to bear one another’s burdens, and to help illuminate hope for the future,” said Diocese of Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge in a statement. “We do this not on our own but through Christ’s love that overflows in us by his grace.”

“Our parishes, food pantries and ministries are reminders that we are called to serve our neighbors and that help is never far away,” he added. “When we humbly offer our time, talent and treasure, we are sharing and experiencing Christ’s love in a tangible way.”

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According to the diocese, all parishes provide some level of assistance to people in need. About half of the Diocese’s 70 parishes reported they have collectively provided a total of $784,151 in emergency rental and utility assistance, $323,787 in food assistance and $6,090 in medical assistance, serving some 91,455 individuals.

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, a largely young adult parish in Clarendon, Va., provided $115,636 in food and emergency rent and utility assistance, up more than $99,000 from the same time last year. From March to July, Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Sterling, Va., provided $144,755 in emergency rent and utility assistance alone, and Holy Family Catholic Church in Woodbridge, Va., offered some $106,000 in food assistance, the news release stated.

During that same timeframe, Catholic Charities provided $281,325 in emergency rental and utility assistance, $797,341 in food assistance and $193,164 in medical assistance, serving some 9,575 individuals. Catholic Charities’ services and impact also expand well beyond this, including providing mental health counseling and assistance for immigrants and refugees.

Catholic Charities operates 21 programs throughout the 21 counties and seven cities of the Diocese. In March, the organization modified services for the safety of clients, volunteers and employees in order to continue supporting individuals and families during the response to COVID-19.

More information may be found on Precious Blood Catholic Church’s website, www.pbcconline.com, or visit Catholic Charities’ website at ccda.net.

The Catholic Diocese of Arlington was established on August 13, 1974, and is home to 70 parishes and more than 460,000 Catholics. There are currently 276 priests serving in the Diocese and 49 seminarians discerning a priestly vocation. The Diocese has 37 parish (K-8) schools, four diocesan high schools, four independent Catholic schools and five free-standing (not connected with a parish school) pre-schools, serving more than 17,000 students.

The Diocese includes the seven cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester and the 21 counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren and Westmoreland.

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