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COVID-19 Services/Response:

Our thanks to the remarkable staff, partners, donors, and volunteers who are helping us meet the needs of those least able to navigate these unprecedented circumstances. We are in your debt.

Service Update:

  • For urgent needs, please call 312-655-7700
  • Meals to go are available at Congregate Meal sites and Senior Centers. Catholic Charities has suspended all senior group activities and adult day care amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Our home care services continue, and are following a more sophisticated protocol as there are seniors who have no one to drop off groceries and provide basic hygiene assistance.
  • Food pantries and evening meal programs will continue to provide food depending on supplies and safe distribution protocols. Please check under Our Services/Emergency Services for locations and phone numbers.
  • Counseling, case management, and other services that can be provided remotely are being delivered accordingly. Please call your case worker or program contact if you need assistance.

How You Can Help:
Due to COVID-19 exposure risks, we are unable to take donations of clothing or food from individuals or groups at this time.  

  • Please consider a contribution. The need for financial assistance and program support for those who were only just making ends meet will grow significantly with lost wages and other impact from the pandemic.
  • Masks, hand sanitizer, paper towels, or bleach wipes are needed and can be dropped at any Catholic Charities location. 
  • When shopping on Amazon, please use Amazon Smile and choose Catholic Charities so we might benefit from your purchase. 
  • Volunteers needed to pack food at pantries.  If you are not in a high risk category and are willing to help, please email Andrew McKernin at Protective gear provided. Health protocols enforced. 
  • Thank the human service workers, first responders, and grocery/gas station/coffee vendors in your life and when you see them in action.

For more information on COVID19, visit the CDC website.

Our History

All About Help and Just About Everywhere...

Catholic Charities began in 1917, when a group of Catholic businessmen petitioned Cardinal Mundelein to create a central Catholic charity in Chicago to relieve the burden on Catholic  parishes, which were struggling to meet the needs of the poor in their communities. World War I had  just ended, the Spanish Influenza Epidemic was sweeping the globe, and immigrants were arriving daily in a city growing by leaps and bounds. The organization was chartered in January 1918, and Cardinal Mundelein addressed the 200 board members at their first annual meeting in April of the following year. He reported on the agency’s immediate success in raising funds and serving the poor: “During the past 12 months, 50,000 people in this city and diocese have contributed their money, their time and their services that we might efficiently carry out these works of mercy, that we might feed the hungry, nurse the sick, protect the orphan, shelter the homeless and help the poor in our midst.”

Changing Over Time with the Needs of the Poor

During the Great Depression, Catholic Charities was a key partner in a city- wide effort to aid families struggling to survive prolonged unemployment. Along with helping people access private and public “relief” programs, the agency became well-known for feeding the hungry and caring for orphans and children of unwed mothers, as well as the mothers themselves. By 1945, a group of 48 individual program sites fell under the auspices of Catholic Charities.

Over the latter half of the 20th century, Catholic Charities grew and changed to reflect societal needs and trends. During the "War on Poverty" years of the 1960s, the agency began to provide Head Start services. In the 1980s Catholic Charities became one of the largest providers of foster care and other child welfare services in the area.

Through the 1990s and into the 21st century, the agency grew its programming for seniors, and built many affordable residences for this population. At the same time, Catholic Charities partnered with state and federal programs on a new model for distributing food and social services through Women, Infants and Children (WIC) centers in Chicago. Along with the new initiatives, the agency continued to provide emergency assistance, counseling, addiction services, and employment and training.

Today, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago is one of the largest private, non-profit social service agencies in the Midwest, annually assisting more than one million people, without regard to religious, ethnic or economic background. We offer 150 programs at 164 locations across Cook and Lake counties. Our programs are organized into five service areas which cover human needs from “cradle to grave” and every point in between. And, 92 cents of every dollar we raise goes directly to our programs.

Often people in need are facing multiple challenges and need a holistic approach to reach stability. Our broad range of programming, professional staff, and scores of dedicated volunteers allow us to reach out and embrace many of the area’s poor and to walk with them for as long as they need us, with the goal of helping them become as self-sufficient as possible.

About Us:

Ways to Change Lives


Phone: (312) 655-7525
721 N. LaSalle, Chicago, IL 60654