Kern and Fresno County Catholic Charities assistance.

The poor, low income and disadvantaged in Kern, Fresno, and Merced County California can look into assistance from Catholic Charities. The non-profit agency provides social services and emergency assistance programs to the needy. The types of emergency assistance and social services provided by Catholic Charities in the San Joaquin Valley region are wide ranging, and include food, budgeting, senior assistance, and much more.

A food pantry operates in the area. Struggling individuals or families who are experiencing a financial hardship or difficult economic times can contact the Catholic Charities for help. Assistance provided includes meals, groceries, free emergency food boxes, and more. The soup kitchens and food pantries are created to ease the burden of feeding peoples families. The non-profit strives to give nutritional food that will sustain families, children, and seniors until they can get back on their feet.

Many of the distribution centers reply on donations from the greater Fresno and Kern community, and more items are always needed. Qualified individuals can stop by a Catholic charity pantry to pick up cereal, canned goods, rice, soup, beans, pasta, sauce, tuna, and peanut butter. Special items may be distributed around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Emergency assistance and social services can assist individuals with meeting their basic needs during times of hardship and when they are faced with a crisis. All aid provided by Catholic Charities is limited, short term, and funding is not always available.

There are three main components/needs that can be met from the emergency financial assistance. The programs can provide shelter, bus fare, clothing, and food items (from the pantry listed above).

You need to be referred by a social worker. If this occurs, you may be able to receive a voucher that can be redeemed for items at the Catholic Charities, Fresno Area Thrift Store, which is located next to their main Social Services office. The Thrift Store sells gently used and very affordable household items, second-hand clothing, furniture, etc. The Catholic Charity Thrift Store supports the efforts of the previously mentioned emergency assistance programs.





The stores serve a dual purpose. Families and individuals who are faced with a crisis and who are in need of food, clothing, or household items can receive vouchers redeemable for quality items. The store is open five days a week. As with any resources available by Catholic Charities, donations and contributions of gently used furniture, clothing, household goods, and other items are always appreciated.

Other services administered or that can be referred to in the Fresno and Kern County area include:

  • The Cal Fresh / Food Stamp Program
  • Prescription medications from the Pfizer Prescription Drug Program
  • Utility and energy bill help from PG&E Care Program or the SCE and PG&E CARE/ FERA Program
  • Save on phone bills from Universal Lifeline Services

Senior Companion Program is run mostly by volunteers, and the goal is to assist the elderly and seniors with staying and living independently in their own homes as long as possible. In order to apply for this assistance program, a senior needs to meet income levels and be over 55 years of age.

The program does not place clients directly into the homes of volunteers. What happens instead is the senior program offers referrals, which is done in collaboration with local non-profit partner agencies and charities which are called Volunteer Stations.

The people who volunteer and work with Catholic Charities will help seniors in a wide range of areas. They can assist them with light household tasks, shopping, light meal preparation, transportation, respite care and even companionship. The senior program is headquartered at Catholic Charities Diocese of Fresno. To apply, volunteer, or learn more call (559)489-6377.





Another effective program for seniors is the Adult Protective services program, which focuses on protective services that are aimed at the disabled population as well as elderly. This Catholic Charity service deals with the issues involving emergency housing, shelters, home care, food services, emergency prescription assistance, utility bill assistance, and transportation.

Representative Payee Program is also available in Fresno and Merced. This is a basic financial management type program and can help people with the management of their monthly resources. For example, get support with credit repair, Pension Benefits, Social Security, or Veteran Administration.

You will work with a trained professional to develop a budget. Benefits are received from your program, such as SSI, and then will be paid out for monthly living expenses. The program maintains an accounting system/budget of how client’s funds are used for each individual.

Most of the referrals come from Veterans Administration, Hospital Social Services Departments, Social Security Administration, and other non-profit agencies in the community.

Catholic Charity locations in Merced, Kern, and Fresno

  • 149 North Fulton Street  Fresno, California 93701, (559) 237-0851
  • 825 Chester Avenue  Bakersfield, CA 93301, dial (661) 281-2130
  • 336 W Main St # 1  Merced, California 95340, telephone (209) 383-2494




By Jon McNamara

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