By Peter Bradley
For the last 35 years, Catholic Charities San Bernardino-Riverside has provided critical basic needs assistance and transformative social services for families in crisis in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Every day, Catholic Charities is fighting poverty and its consequences. It is a visible example of the Catholic Church’s commitment to the Corporal Works of Mercy.
“There are unanticipated disruptions in all our lives. The fully self-sufficient families have the resources to get them through the tough times, but the families we serve do not,” says Catholic Charities CEO Ken Sawa. “Despite their pride, their situation forces them to seek help from the community.”
Catholic Charities’ programs and services are grouped into three categories:
Families and Community Services has 27 programs, including rental and utility assistance, food pantries and food vouchers, and family burial assistance.
Counseling Services has 14 programs, including family counseling, parent education, and domestic violence support groups.
Refugee and Immigration Services has seven programs, including refugee resettlement,and citizenship preparation classes.
In 2014, over 53,000 people were served through these many programs. It takes a wide reaching organizational network to serve this number of people. Catholic Charities has eight full time locations and over 100 part time sites that include parishes, schools, hospitals, local cities and public/private entities. It is a faith-based organization that is also community based, with a strong reputation among the social services groups in the two counties.
Catholic Charities hopes for the future include greater support and recognition for all non-profits and the work they accomplish, as well as a permanent facility in each of the six vicariates in the Diocese.