Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Catholic Charities assistance programs.
Resources provided by the Mecklenburg Catholic Charity organization focus on addressing food, holiday, and immigration needs. Other services provided can include referrals, case management, and information on local and federal government financial assistance programs. Families of all religions, backgrounds, and culture can contact Catholic Charity centers across Charlotte and surrounding communities for help.
Christmas and Thanksgiving assistance is offered from a Holiday Outreach program. This program is offered in Charlotte and the nearby cities of Asheville and Winston-Salem. Families, in particular those with children or senior members, can receive free gifts, toys, and meals. It relies heavily on donations and contributions from the community. If you can and would like to sponsor a family, a child, or to donate money, please do so. To learn how to apply, or contribute to the Catholic Charity Holiday Outreach program, dial 704-370-3232 in Mecklenburg County.
The Mecklenburg Food Pantries that are administered by Catholic Charities are open to families on a first come, first serve basis. The centers operate during normal business hours, and provide walk-ins with groceries, food boxes, and items to prepare a meal.
The food pantries are fairly unique in that they allow clients the ability to choose the items they need from the groceries that are available on site. So it is similar to a grocery store in that regards. First time clients of the food pantry will need to apply, and this is done from a one-page application. An applicant will need to provide basic household member as well as demographic information. This Catholic Charity program is in high demand, and due to the overwhelming needs placed upon it, the organization can only distribute free food to an individual at most once per month.
As with most programs, donations are always appreciated. If you can contribute, grocery items or monetary donations are accepted at any time and are greatly appreciated. They can even help people unload their car. Telephone 704-370-3232, or find other free food pantries in Mecklenburg County.
Burial Assistance is offered. This can help with paying funeral costs and expenses incurred in the burial of a very low income or indigent family member. Dial 704-370-3232 for details on this resource. most of this is government funded, but there may be some charities that offer it too. More on free burial assistance
Social services, including referrals are offered from Catholic Charity centers. While it is rare for the Mecklenburg County locations to provide direct financial assistance for basic needs such as rent or utilities, they will usually have information on who people can call for help with paying bills. As a number of emergency assistance programs operate in the region, such as the Crisis Assistance Ministry.
Assistance for immigrants is offered in Charlotte as well as other locations of Winston-Salem, Asheville, and Morganton North Carolina. The federal government has approved and accredited the Catholic Charity Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) program, and it is one of the nation’s most respected and effective resources.
Immigration specialists who are part of the program are accredited by the BIA to represent clients in immigration transactions and also provide a number of high quality, yet affordable immigration services. Catholic Charity staff help clients improve their understanding of their legal status and possible immigration benefits. Staff members are also bilingual in both English and Spanish. The Mecklenburg office is supervised by an immigration attorney. Staff have access to the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC), which is a nationwide network of immigration attorneys.
Services are offered for refugees too. The Catholic Charity Refugee Resettlement Office, which is based out of Charlotte North Carolina, can help refugees and newcomers to the US navigate and understand the local immigration system. Get help and guidance obtaining the documentation and support that you need to live and thrive in North Carolina and anywhere in the United States. A Refugee Assistance Program also operates in the Asheville area.
Whether you are an immigrant or a refugee, obtaining legal representation and documentation is the first step in empowering clients. An individual’s immigration status affects all areas of life including filing income tax returns, school enrollment, eligibility for a driver's license and public benefits, and it is also key to people obtaining medical care or health insurance. Specifically, specialists from Catholic Charities will assist clients of any nationality or culture with immigration documents including Legal permanent residency; Family-based petitions; Document translations; Temporary protected status (TPS); Change of address; Work authorization documents; Consular processing and also help with obtaining citizenship.
These programs will usually have a small fee that a client needs to pay in order to gain broader access to immigration services within the Mecklenburg County community.
Refugee and Immigrant Resettlement Office in Charlotte is another important resource. It can provide newcomers with financial assistance for housing, social services, school registration, social security registration, affordable health care, and even community and cultural orientation.
The main goal is to help refugees and immigrants adapt to the state of North Carolina, and this is done by helping them become self-sustaining and productive members of their community. Other services provided by Catholic Charities include employment orientation and job placement, interpretation and even transportation to job interviews or appointments. Understanding English is very important to someone obtaining a job, so the organization will provide instruction in English as a Second Language. This program is available through referrals and partnerships to the community college.