In a year in which the COVID-19 virus had a major impact on the physical, mental and financial health of many throughout the area, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington rose to the challenge, increasing by 34 percent the number of people it assisted in the previous fiscal year.

In its annual report for 2019-2020, the agency reported that it provided a variety of services to nearly 193,000 people in the past year, as compared to nearly 143,000 people served during the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

“This year has been so difficult. But it’s been especially challenging for people in need,” said Msgr. John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charities DC. “Our message is one of solidarity. We stand with each and every person and family in crisis. We walk with them, we support them, and we do our best to help them.”

Catholic Charities D.C. – the charitable arm of the Archdiocese of Washington – is the largest independent social services agency in the metropolitan Washington area, serving people in the District of Columbia and Montgomery, Prince George’s, Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s Counties in Maryland.

In its yearly review issued Dec. 29, 2020, Catholic Charities reported that it:

• provided 3.5 million meals to the hungry and food insecure, an increase of more than 1 million meals;

• provided almost $25 million in pro bono medical, legal, dental and financial services to clients;

• offered employment support and job training to more than 1,450 clients;

• distributed through the Southern Maryland Food Bank almost 981,000 pounds of food (equivalent to 1.2 million meals) to persons in need;

• gave 87,785 SHARE Food Network packages to people in need; 

• provided food, diapers, financial assistance and referral services to 18,417 clients from the Montgomery County Family Center;

• assisted 2,524 people through the Spanish Catholic Center food pantry;

• dispensed medical and dental services to more than 7,800 patients;

• offered civil and immigration legal services to 7,110 people;

• provided behavioral health support to 1,954 adults and children;

• assisted 1,915 returning citizens in transitioning to life after incarceration through the Welcome Home Reentry Program; and

• served more than 33,600 warm meals through the St. Maria’s Meals Program.

“The agency has been a vital lifeline for struggling families during this unprecedented crisis, many of whom sought assistance for the first time,” Catholic Charities said in a statement when it released its annual report. “The organization’s 55 programs quickly adapted to meet the rapidly increasing and changing needs of the area’s most vulnerable people, regardless of belief or circumstance.”

For more information, visit www.catholiccharitiesdc.org . To view Catholic Charities’ full annual report, visit www.catholiccharitiesdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/2020-Annual-Report-Web-Version.pdf.