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Social services and assistance from Union County Catholic Charities.

The Union County Catholic Charities organization is part of the wider network in the region, including the Newark Diocese. They administer a number of social services for seniors, the working poor, children, and the less fortunate. Most of what they provide focuses around employment, education, and self-sufficiency. If financial aid is available, it will be limited. However case managers from the Union County Catholic Charities may have referrals and information on places to turn for help with energy bills, rent, or prescription medications.

Job search skills and sessions are held. Clients will work with specialists and be given the opportunity to gain the skills necessary for a successful job search. This includes, but is not limited to, computer literacy, resume development, and the free use of the Internet.

While the job program above is helpful, education is even more important. So GED Preparation services are available in a classroom setting in Union County and other regions. Participants of this Catholic Charity resource work on the skills needed to pass the state of NJ high school diploma equivalency examination.

Other employment and Workforce Development services include Commercial Driver's License Training; Office Technology Skills Training; English as a Second Language; Supportive Assistance for Individuals & Families (SAIF) and training for food service, nursing, and other careers.

Union County Emergency Food and Nutrition Network is a key Catholic Charity service. There are dozens of church and parish-based soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters in the Archdiocese of Newark region, which includes Union County. The program provides the low income in the region with food and grocery assistance from a wide network of food pantries.

The program, known as EFNN, uses federal government emergency funds as well as private donations for pantries. Some of the other resources available include Catholic Relief Services' Operation Rice Bowl Lenten, Healthy Eating program, and others.

Food Shopping and maybe even Meals on Wheels is for homebound older adult residents or the disabled of Union County. Key partners of Catholic Charities includes Agency on Aging centers. This is a program for those who are unable to shop for themselves or prepare a meal. Applicants also can't have any other primary caregiver.




Help a Family at Christmas project is administered by Catholic Charities and its member churches. Donors from Union County are linked with needy families and children who would not be able to celebrate Christmas without outside support. Free gifts, meals, toys, coats, and more may be available for children, seniors, and infants too.

Housing Services can include referrals to emergency shelter for the homeless, children, single parents and others. They can arrange for housing and supportive services to homeless men and families in Union County. Some of the transitional housing programs or shelters in the region include Franciska Residence, St. Rocco's Emergency Family Shelter, Canaan House, St. Lucy's Emergency Shelter, and many others.

As part of the housing solutions, some locations may have linkage to partners that can provide emergency assistance. This can include funds for a partial rent payment, landlord mediation, or money for utility bills, if it will prevent homelessness.

Caregiver support offers people looking after a disabled or senior family member with short-term guidance, support and counseling. It can help minimize the distress, hardships, and stress that many caregivers of elderly individual's experience. This is operated out of 505 South Avenue East in Cranford New Jersey.

Immigration assistance is available across the state. The Union County Catholic Charity Refugee & Immigration service provide help and guidance on immigration problems. This is done by coordinating low cost legal assistance for immigrants. It will deal with all steps of the process, including naturalization proceedings, or if needed representation in exclusion proceedings or deportation before the state of New Jersey Immigration Court.




Catholic Charities can help with issues such as family petitions, Temporary Protected Status, consular processing, fraud waivers, work permit requests, and many other cases. They also can rely on their nationwide network for additional support if needed.

Other programs from the charity can include educational workshops on nutrition and life skills areas; Case management services; Advocacy services; and government benefits. The main center is at 505 South Avenue East, Cranford, New Jersey 07016, dial (908) 497-3950.



By Jon McNamara

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