1. What kind of resources does Catholic Charities need in order to provide programs and services? Are there any challenges in managing the resources?

Catholic Charities does not directly provide the programs and services. The services offered to the community are provided by CCAT member agencies, affiliated organizations, and funded non-member agencies. To effectively perform our role, we need financial, technical, and human resources. Aside from the primary and obvious resource of funding, Catholic Charities and its agencies also rely greatly on the generous support of their volunteers.  The time, talent and treasures of the volunteers have significantly helped Catholic Charities and its agencies. Donations of food, clothing, computers and even furniture are often needed, but specific needs vary from agency to agency.  The challenge and responsibility of our office is to recognize and determine where the resources are most needed and distribute where these will be best utilized.

2. What are some outcomes that Catholic Charities can create for people?

This can vary greatly since the work of our agencies is so diverse.  The overarching immediate outcome is to provide service to the most marginalized members of our society,  inspired by Catholic Social Teaching.  In the long run, these services are provided to effect a change in the service users, which can be increased knowledge, better attitudes, upgraded skills, improved behaviours, or improved quality of life.  However, what that outcome looks like differs within each agency.

3. What could Catholic Charities do with your donation?

While all our agencies would welcome more funding, Catholic Charities has a Strategic Plan that we are implementing over the next few years that we think will make our agency stronger, while addressing the needs of our communities.  The plan centres on three initiatives: expanding our shared services between agencies, expanding collaboration amongst our agencies (with a focus on seniors and palliative care) and engaging Catholic leadership.  Shared Services help member agencies meet current and emerging needs though networking with other agencies, sharing resources, providing group services, or consolidating office operations. Donations would be directed at projects and initiatives that would strengthen these goals.

4. What makes Catholic Charities effective?

In our case, being effective means being able to support our agencies both financially and operationally, while upholding a strong Catholic identity.  We achieve this by thoughtfully allocating the funds that are raised for us through ShareLife campaign.  We identify services that can be shared across all agencies, thereby creating efficiencies, and decreasing redundancies. Our collaborative projects have been adopted to make more efficient use of funding and to ensure a member agency’s programs will do the greatest amount of good and create the most effective means of outreach to the people they serve. None of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of our volunteers, who ensure that the neediest members of our society are being served.  Last year alone they collectively donated more than 150,000 hours of their time.

5. How has Catholic Charities improved over the years? Are there any plans to make it better?

Throughout the history of Catholic Charities, we have grown our membership as agencies are established in response to societal needs.  As needs change, the agencies also evolve.  Some agencies merge to create a stronger singular entity and to provide more services to their clients.  Change is a constant and efforts are made to develop our agencies to be sustainable over the long-term.

6. How has Coronavirus affected Catholic Charities? Have there been any problems? If so, how were they fixed?

Like most organizations, we have pivoted to working remotely.  Our agencies, wherever possible, have also transitioned to provide services virtually.  This in turn, has highlighted the need for more access to technology by the agencies, but also for clients of our agencies.  As a community, our agencies have worked together to help address this need.  I have included a link to that story, that ran in The Catholic Register. Other agencies have felt the increased demand for services on multiple fronts including struggling with food security, isolated seniors, mental health concerns, and increased incidents of domestic violence.  The pandemic did not reveal new issues, it merely exacerbated the existing issues of the community.

7. How can I volunteer with Catholic Charities?

Catholic Charities does not provide direct services; that work is accomplished through our wonderful member agencies, who are always looking for volunteers.  You can find out more about our member agencies by clicking on this link.  This lists all the agencies within Catholic Charities and the services they provide, location, etc.  Should you decide that you’d like to volunteer your time at any one of them, please contact the agency or agencies directly.  For specific opportunities with Catholic Charities, please email a resume to info@ccat.ca for our consideration.