CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Catholic Charities West Virginia says it is still working to serve communities while abiding by the social distancing guidelines set by the CDC.
The group says many of the tens of thousands of people it serves each year fall into the categories that the Centers for Disease Control considers at risk to contract the coronavirus.
“The health and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers, are of upmost importance to us,” says Beth Zarate, chief executive officer of CCWVa.
CCWVa says it continues to provide programs and services to the extent possible during these extraordinary circumstances. However, programs and services have had to be modified or altered as new information becomes availabl regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout all sites, CCWVa is diligent in meeting the CDC standards.
“Catholic Charities West Virginia has worked hard to modify our services across the state in line with Centers for Disease Control regulations and to keep our staff, volunteers and clients safe,” says Zarate.
Food pantries have changed from a casual “shopping-like” experience to pre-packaged bags and boxes with pick-up at the door. Hot meals, typically served buffet style, are now pre-packed in “to-go” containers and distributed at front entryways. Meal deliveries from the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center are being placed at recipients’ front doors of recipients, according to the organization.
Case management and emergency assistance services are provided by phone rather than in-person visits, and the CCWVa Mobile Food Pantry has shifted to a drive-through model in all counties that it serves.
“CCWVa is committed to staying present and working through this health crisis with the vulnerable populations we serve,” said Zarate.
CCWVa adult education centers are assisting learners in continuing their studies independently and online with follow-up phone calls from instructors. Child Care Resource Center offices are assisting clients and providers via telephone and email.
CCWVa HomeCare services have been modified with in-home caregivers wearing personal protection equipment and diligently adhering to CDC recommended guidelines for infection control.
“Now more than ever, we are called to be people of faith and to reflect the love of Our Lord and Savior to each person we encounter,” said Zarate.
CCWVa’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Outreach program services continue to be offered remotely. West Virginia Birth to Three services are provided through phone or virtual/video visits. Child Care Food Program continues to provide services via telephone and email. CCWVa Disaster Services Program continues to provide assistance via telephone and email.
“We hope to continue providing essential services to the Mountain State, knowing that the impact of illness and layoffs will be dire to many families,” said Zarate. “The work we do is critical; without it, people go hungry.”
The agency’s Migration and Refugee Services Program still provides active case management services to refugees and other eligible populations through phone and email. The program still provides immigration legal services through phone as well.
Staff members who do not work directly with clients are working remotely as possible and all work travel has been canceled.
Upcoming fundraising events for the next several weeks have been postponed or canceled; the Neighborhood Center Spaghetti Dinner in Wheeling has been postponed; the Derby Party event in Huntington has been canceled; and the Sabika Bingo fundraiser in Bluefield has been postponed.
Anyone seeking more information about the CCWVa and their services or looking can call their local office or visit their website.
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