Catholic Charities agencies finding it tougher to meet growing demand for services

Catholic Charities supported agencies across the country, such as Brother Hubbard's Cupboard in Cleveland, are having to do more with less thanks to losses of government funding, private donations and investment income. (CNS/Dennis Sadowski)

Catholic Charities supported agencies across the country, such as Brother Hubbard's Cupboard in Cleveland, are having to do more with less thanks to losses of government funding, private donations and investment income. (CNS/Dennis Sadowski)

Although there seems to be a bit of light at the end of the long recessionary tunnel, Catholic Charities agencies are not seeing it yet.

According to the most recent quarterly snapshot survey from Catholic Charities USA, local agencies are continuing to see growing numbers of people from new and underserved populations, including the working poor, the middle class, families and homeless people.

Coupled with the loss of income thanks to cuts in government funding and corporate donations and declining income from investments, the agencies are faced with doing a lot more with less.

Seven agencies reported that states owe between $1 million and $10 million for contracted services.

Covering the second quarter of 2009, the survey of 40 diocesan Catholic Charities programs showed that people seeking assistance also are under more stress and 32 percent of agencies reported that more clients are asking for mental health servies as they feel overburdened because of the economic crisis.

The agencies resonding to the survey said requests for assistance with foreclosure prevention, job training and placement and emergency cash remained high as the year reached the half-way point.

Taking refuge in nature

Former Catholic News Service director Tom Lorsung might have retired in 2003, but he still is using photographic and writing skills honed in more than 30 years at the news service.

Former CNS director Tom Lorsung

Former CNS director Tom Lorsung

Lorsung’s latest product: a 2010 color calendar, featuring shots from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where he has a home.

Lorsung, who began work at CNS in 1972 as photo editor, has always had an interest in photography, and many of his framed photos remain on the walls at CNS. The calendar includes photographs taken at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge or near his home at Cooks Point Cove, where the Choptank River meets the Chesapeake Bay.

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