LAFAYETTE - Following CDC guidelines, Catholic Charities of Acadiana is implementing proactive measures throughout its programs to minimize large gatherings and practice social distancing, intended to minimize the risk COVID-19 poses to their clients, volunteers, and staff in the communities they serve while continuing to operate essential programs.
Each night Catholic Charities of Acadiana provides the safety of shelter to 150 individuals experiencing homelessness, which is 50 individuals above bed capacity. For the last two years, the community room floor at St. Joseph Shelter has served as a temporary emergency overflow shelter, however the limited space combined with the high number of individuals does not allow enough square footage to implement necessary social distancing protocols. In an effort to reduce a high concentration of individuals living in close proximity, the dining room at St. Joseph Diner is being repurposed into an additional temporary shelter. During this time, St. Joseph Diner will limit its meal services to only those within the Catholic Charities homeless programs. The majority of those served at the diner are in the homeless programs. This change in operations will impact a small population of individuals supplementing their fixed incomes by seeking lunch services at St. Joseph Diner. The Supplemental Disaster SNAP benefits are expected to be initiated early this week, as a way of supporting those individuals impacted by this situation.
In an effort to minimize the number of people on the campus and the risk of transmission from personal contact, Catholic Charities of Acadiana is not accepting any physical in-kind donations and has suspended volunteering until further notice, which includes St. Joseph Diner, Stella Maris Hygiene Center and FoodNet Food Bank.
The safest way to support Catholic Charities of Acadiana and those they serve during the COVID-19 pandemic is through an online monetary donation that will enable them to directly purchase the essential supplies to equip our facilities and for financial supportive services that will be greatly needed in the days, weeks, and months to come. Donations can be made at http://give.classy.org/catholiccharities
"On behalf of those we serve with serious chronic medical conditions, we ask our community for their prayerful cooperation and support of our efforts during this critical time." said Catholic Charities of Acadiana CEO Kim Boudreaux. "Those experiencing homelessness are among the populations most vulnerable to the virus and stand to suffer disproportionately at the hands of COVID-19. Their health and safety are our greatest priority at this time. Please join us in praying for those we serve and for our committed staff who continue to work diligently to make our services possible during these difficult times."