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Church assistance programs in Butte County and Chico.

One of the missions/goals of churches in Butte County  is to serve families and individuals who are facing hunger, homeless or that need new employment skills. They also provide support to senior citizens, children, the disabled, immigrants and those that are less fortunate in Butte County. Other support may also be given to people who live by the church or in the parish.

The resources from the churches are generally used to provide a combination of very short term, immediate emergency financial aid along with ongoing support. This guidance from a church will help their clients achieve fiscal stability and ideally prevent a future crisis.

Of priority is on the vulnerable in Butte County. This means that the assistance is targeted at children as well as the elderly, and it can tackle the ravages of chronic poverty. All help is given in confidence, and clients are treated with respect and affection.

Food and holiday help from Butte County churches

The church food pantry or soup kitchen helps low to moderate income families and individuals as well as the underemployed living in Chico or Butte County County during times of crisis. There are several services run, but all of them are somehow or another involved in providing nutritious perishable and non-perishable groceries, toiletries such as soap, and household items. Applicants are seen on a first come, first served basis and are required to provide proper identification, proof of income and proof of residency.

When seeking help, trained interviewers assess each applications. Many criteria are used to determine how clients can best be served. Referrals are needed for the church food pantry or soup kitchen, and they may come from area churches, social service offices, or congregations. Some of the programs available are noted below.

  • Partnerships - Clients receive a large order of fresh food compliments of groups such as Feeding America or other non-profits, and this assistance is not zip code restricted.
  • Emergency boxes may be passed out by Catholic Ladies Relief Society. A family may get enough groceries for approximately four days, and the items are tailored for the applicant. There may also be laundry detergent, paper products, holiday food baskets, and toiletries.
  • Free, supplemental food includes bread, diary, baby formula, milk and other staples.
  • Senior sacks and meals on wheels provides senior citizens in Butte County with groceries or hot meals for weekend.




A major focus is on serving hot meals to the hungry, poor, and less fortunate in Butte County. This is where a soup kitchen can be helpful. Churches will often serve small meals to the hungry, pass out food boxes, and work to keep low income families fed. Immigrants, the elderly, migrant workers and others often get financial help, advice, as well as a hot meal at the same time. Often a church, along with the Salvation Army, will serve holiday meals too. Read more on free hot meals from soup kitchens.

Limited emergency assistance

Bus passes or even gasoline vouchers may be issued. The fact is that in many instances newly hired employees often lack the funds for the transportation needed to get to work. The church Employment Support Program helps by providing these clients with public transportation passes for local opportunities in Butte County. This is only done once their new jobs have been verified and applications approved.

Butte County Churches can direct residents to one-time energy-assistance programs. One of the options in the territory are the donation services. These can go by the name of Energy Share or Operation Round Up, and they are funded using either monthly or one time donations. There may be money provided by local non-profits such as the the Salvation Army as well for paying utility bills. Or the agency will refer the customer to an application site.

To apply, the customer income must not exceed the income guidelines, which are around 100 to 200%  above the federal poverty guidelines. Also, assistance for utility bills is only offered once per year, unless the applicant is disabled, a senior, or has a child. Also, the applicant needs to prove they have an uncontrollable crisis that stops them from paying their electric bills, they can't live in subsidized housing, and grants are one time only. Note exceptions can be made in almost all instances.

Emergency, one-time prescriptions – Churches may be able to help, but support provided will not include ongoing prescriptions for a patient and it will not of course include narcotics. A voucher may be given, or the staff can help a person apply for a pharmaceutical discount plan.

A focus of Butte County churches and religous organizations is to offer antibiotics to help a low income family. Maybe they were prescribed during a hospital and the applicant's health insurance doesn't cover it. Or other critical medications may be offered.





To apply, the agency will need verification of client’s address, ID, original prescription from a doctor, insurance status, income/expense information, and whether they have a job or not. Other supporting documents may be requested too.

Applying for help

Churches generally have limited hours, and most are open certain days from Monday to Friday.  Send an email to for referrals to a church in Butte County to determine whether qualified or if funds are available.


By Jon McNamara











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