by Connie McMullen
Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada has grown dramatically the past year helping people in need.
Matt Vaughan, Marketing and Public Relations Director for Catholic Charities and St. Vincent's Program says the nonprofit is now in 16 counties providing services to seniors and families.
"We have grown quite a bit. We have 12-different poverty assistance programs, and work with the homeless, low-income families, seniors and children, people from all walks of life."
Specifically, Catholic Charities is focusing on seniors more than years past. The nonprofit has entered into a contract with Washoe County to expand the nutrition program.
"We have partnered up with the Washoe County Senior Nutrition Program to provide hot meals daily, Monday though Friday, at the different congregate sites. We're also partnering on the Meals-on-Wheels Program. In just the last half of 2015 we delivered more than 112,000 meals to 500 homebound seniors."
Vaughan said there is a great need in the community. "I don't think people realize there are a lot of seniors who need help. We're giving them a hot meal while they are stuck at home; they have disabilities or medical issues," he said. "We try to go out in the community and find these people in need of help. A lot of them come to us as well, and when they do we try to fill those gaps in services where maybe they haven't had luck in other places. We try to make sure we get them whatever assistance they need."
Vaughan says what's great is the outreach Catholic Charities is providing in the rural communities. "We're doing outreach with our One-Stop Shop Community Outreach Program, St. Vincent's Food Pantry. We are partnering with 45 other agencies, food pantries and nonprofits, providing food and social services."
Catholic Charities recently received a $170,000 grant from the National Council on Aging, allowing them to partner with other nonprofits to service people in their area. "We will get them food, pay utility bills, and immunizations, we want to help them in anyway we can."
Vaughan added, "It is really eye opening once you get out there and see it for yourself. Many seniors are just falling through the cracks, and we're trying to assure that doesn't happen."
Catholic Charities is also working to make sure people are not ending up on the streets homeless. Partnering with the city of Reno Motels to Homeless Program, case managers provide people with the first months rent to help them find a place to live.
"A lot of time seniors do not have extra money lying around. We will put those funds together to help them live in a more stable living environment, so they can get back on their feet."
With the weather getting colder outside, Vaughan says he sees more people who are homeless on a daily bases. "It is a problem not going away anytime soon. It is definitely on the rise in Washoe County."
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2016-17 Golden Pages
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