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Diocesan Regional Offices Respond to Growing Need of Unemployed

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Catholic Charities’ regional offices working to meet growing demand of unemployed for emergency assistance

The nation’s unemployment rate is at its highest level since 1983 standing at 8.5 percent in March. The situation in North Carolina is more critical with the most recent statewide rate at 11.3 percent, with every job sector being affected by the recession. According to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, 99 of the 100 counties experienced unemployment increases. Examples include Wake County increasing 0.9 percent to 8.3 percent, Granville County up a full point to 11.0 percent, Vance County up a point and a half to 14.4 percent and Warren County up to 15.2 percent.

As the jobless rate increases, so does the need to provide assistance. Catholic Charities regional offices in the Diocese of Raleigh report a 28 percent increase in emergency assistance for the first six months of the 2008-2009 fiscal year compared to the previous fiscal year. Offices report that people who donated to Catholic Charities in the past are now knocking on the door for help.

In the Raleigh Deanery, Catholic Parish Outreach served 7,936 people in the month of March, a staggering 49 percent increase of March, 2008. A comparison of the first quarter of the last three years further illustrates the plight of North Carolinians.

Catholic Parish Outreach Comparison
of 1st QRTR 2009 vs 2008 vs 2007
Jan-Mar of Year 2007 2008 Increase over 2007 2009 Inc. over 2008 Inc. from 2007 to 2009
Families Served 3169 4425 39.6% 6319 42.8% 99.4%
Indiv. served 11540 16198 40.4% 22639 39.8% 96.2%

Rick Miller-Haraway, Raleigh Regional Director of Catholic Charities, says the increased demand for food assistance is being met in several ways, most importantly the donation of 47 tons of food by parishioners in the Raleigh Deanery since July, 2008 in addition to cash donations of $35,000. Miller-Haraway says the parishes “have really stepped up and helped us respond to this demand.”

As the number of unemployed continues to rise, he says we will do our best to meet that demand. In addition to food and money to purchase food supplies, Miller-Haraway says CPO is also in need of more volunteers to help serve clients. He says 25 people are needed each day to run the food pantry during its 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. hours of operation. Another need is for three additional Spanish-speaking volunteers to assist with clients who come to the Hispanic Family Center, located with Catholic Parish Outreach. The Center serves approximately 50 households each day providing assessments, referrals and direct services.

As noted, each of the seven regional offices of Catholic Charities is experiencing a sharp increase in requests for assistance. Donations of food and money can be made at the regional offices. View listing and addresses.