March 27, 2020

Catholic Charities continues to serve through coronavirus crisis

By John Shaughnessy

As the coronavirus crisis continues, so do the efforts of the archdiocese’s Catholic Charities agencies to help people who are especially vulnerable during this time.

“We are here for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in need—our clients,” said David Bethuram, executive director of Catholic Charities in the archdiocese. “Our plan is to continue to provide them with the services and support they need. This is especially important during unprecedented and challenging times like these, where anxiety and uncertainty are at a peak as things seemingly change daily.”

(Related: Catholic Charities agencies continue to offer various services)

Bethuram noted that the archdiocese’s homeless shelters for families, women and children continue to stay open in Indianapolis, New Albany, Bedford and Terre Haute.

Boxes of food and sacked lunches have been prepared for families and individuals to carry out at archdiocesan locations in Tell City, Terre Haute and Indianapolis, while the Catholic Charities staff in New Albany is making food deliveries to residential programs.

During this stressful and uncertain time, counseling and mental health services are being offered by telephone and teleconferencing by the Indianapolis and Bloomington agencies.

And while the Catholic Charities staffs for programs involving seniors, refugees, immigrants and adoptions are working at home, they are available to help by phone or in person when a critical need arises.

“We recognize that this is an evolving situation, and our action plan will continue to evolve with the changing environment,” Bethuram said.

Changes in the approach of Catholic Charities have already begun in response to the coronavirus.

In distributing food to clients in need, Catholic Charities agencies are not only providing prepared boxes and sacked lunches that people can pick up, they’re also including more food in the boxes than usual, “so they will not have to return to the pantries as quickly,” Bethuram said.

He also noted that the Catholic Charities shelters in the archdiocese are taking extra measures during the coronavirus crisis.

“They are using bleach and disinfectants every six hours on common areas, doorknobs, surfaces,” he said. “They are securing an isolation room in the event that someone in the shelter is experiencing symptoms. If this is the case, the local county health department will be notified.”

That approach reflects the priority that guides all the efforts of Catholic Charities agencies in the archdiocese, Bethuram said.

“The health and safety of our staff, volunteers and clients is our highest priority. We will continue to serve those most in need in our community the best we can.

“During times like these, we are acutely aware of the importance of our mission to provide charity and compassion to each of our clients in order to promote the sanctity and dignity of their lives.”

(For more information about Catholic Charities in the archdiocese—including how to donate and volunteer—visit the website,

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