Catholic Charities Provides Groceries to 1,500 Families Weekly During COVID-19 Pandemic

VOLUNTEER HELP: This volunteer with Catholic Charities provides food for a local family during the COVID-19 situation.

 Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma, the state’s largest distributor of food to the poor, is continuing to provide groceries through its food pantry to 1,500 families weekly during COVID-19. 
In a normal week, the food pantry services around 300 families, but during this crisis, there has been a 500 percent increase in families coming for help. The organization’s five other food pantry locations in outlying communities are also experiencing an exponential increase in need. To safely provide groceries during the pandemic, the organization shifted to a drive-through delivery pantry in mid-March.
A long-term partnership with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma has played a significant role in meeting the unprecedented need for food. A current surplus at the Food Bank helps Catholic Charities keep its food pantry stocked at a decreased cost or, in some cases, at no cost. 
Additionally, Catholic Charities’ working relationship with the Walmart distribution center in Ramona continues to churn an abundance of fresh produce into the organization’s pantries for distribution. About 85 percent of the Walmart donations are fresh produce, but sometimes meat, eggs and dry goods such as toilet paper, paper towels, snacks and cereal are included.
The generous financial support of individuals, foundations, like the George Kaiser Family Foundation, and businesses, including Bank of Oklahoma, is helping to create a much-needed cushion to help with the added expenses that are occurring during the crisis.
“I’m heartened by the support and collaboration happening in the Tulsa community,” said Deacon Kevin Sartorius, CEO of Catholic Charities. “Without the support of so many in our community, we wouldn’t be able to quickly fulfill the demand we have. Our partners are helping us feed families that would otherwise go hungry.”
The pandemic has also impacted Catholic Charities volunteers. While the organization has implemented an enhanced safety process with social distancing, masks and gloves for all volunteers, many of Catholic Charities’ 4,500 volunteers are still unable to volunteer due to age or other health-related risk factors. Fortunately, others have stepped up and the vital work of distributing food to those in need continues.
Through collaboration and the generous support from the community at-large, Catholic Charities is adapting to the changing needs of our community. For the latest list of hours and services available and for information on how you can help, please visit