catholic charities dallas

Catholic Charities Dallas Needs Volunteers for Food Pantry

The nonprofit has served more than 6 million meals in the last year

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Catholic Charities Dallas celebrates its 70th year in 2021. The nonprofit sees itself as first responders to the community's most vulnerable and in the pandemic, it's meant getting more food to more people fighting hunger.

"There people who don't have jobs, don't have money to buy groceries. That's why they come over. we serve them. We don't care how they look, what they have. We're just proud to give 'em food," said Carlos Vacio, a Dallas resident who helps out at the mobile food pantry at St. Cecilia Catholic Church.

He started volunteering a year ago.

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"To fight hunger, that is to make sure people have something to eat on their plates at their houses," he said.

The nonprofit has "a massive need" for more volunteers like Carlos especially at the Jan Pruitt Community Pantry in Lancaster.

"We saw a big drop in volunteers as people started returning to work and school at the end of last summer. This has been our most difficult location to get enough volunteers for - due to weekly schedule conflicts," wrote Jeremy Bermender, Director of Marketing and Communications, in an email to NBC5.

Bermender says since the pandemic, Catholic Charities Dallas has distributed 6.1 million meals which is a 140% increase compared to the first week of COVID.

Carlos doesn't keep track of the numbers but he can tell you about the people.

"I see the people, whoever comes to us for groceries, you can see their faces. They're so happy to have something to eat," he said.

Every month, the Diocese of Dallas provides more than 500,000 meals in its nine-county area. There are mobile pantries and fixed pantries, and Carlos even takes on home delivery.

"I live in North Dallas, 635 and Forest. So, I have to take food to people there. So, my job isn't finished right here. My job finishes around 7:00 in the afternoon," he said.

Whatever it takes to serve and help in a time of need.

Anyone interested in getting more information about volunteering and to sign up, can go here.

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