650 people received nearly 8,300 pounds of food from Catholic Charities’ Beacon of Hope Center in Galveston
GALVESTON – The hallways at the Island Community Center at 4700 Broadway are eerily quiet, but Catholic Charities is bustling with activity, virtually and in real-time.
Under the shelter-in-place order for Galveston County, Catholic Charities’ Beacon of Hope Center is considered an essential service for the community, providing emergency food and financial assistance to Islanders and county residents in need. It’s currently the lone office open at the community center.
“Catholic Charities in Galveston has been up and running without interruption since the Coronavirus was first identified as a threat to our community,” said Catholic Charities’ Elizabeth Kinard, executive director at Galveston’s Beacon of Hope Center. “What has changed is how we’re providing help. Our primary concern is protecting the safety of our clients, volunteers and staff while we serve.”
Beacon of Hope food pantry staff take care to maintain safe social distance from clients by asking them to make appointments by phone, then call before coming to pick up their packaged food. The food is placed on a table in the entry way while the client waits from a safe distance, then the staff can step back while the client collects nutritious nonperishable food, fresh produce and meat.
During the last two weeks in March, Catholic Charities took more than 450 COVID-related calls and provided 8,290 pounds of food to 651 individuals using its social distancing distribution.
In addition to serving through the food pantry, Catholic Charities interacts strictly by phone or e-mail with clients seeking financial assistance for rent or utilities, again to ensure client safety.
“We expect to see the need increase very quickly due to lost wages from jobs that disappeared as businesses closed,” said Kinard. “Catholic Charities adapted what we are doing to ensure we can do more to help the people who need it most.”
On a year-round basis, Catholic Charities’ Beacon of Hope Center is the only food pantry open to anyone on the Island. The service is especially vital during the COVID crisis. The pantry is open for appointments Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., by calling 409-762-2064.
“Through the grace of God, not even a pandemic can keep Catholic Charities from providing our life-changing services,” said Catholic Charities President Cynthia N. Colbert, MSW. “We are people of faith relying on God’s protection as we help people during this time of great need.”