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St. Stephen’s CARE Center sees rise in need for basic necessities

On the one-month anniversary of St. Stephen’s CARE Center recently, Catholic Charities updated the community about the rising need for basic services. A recent report from the Census Bureau states that San Antonio’s poverty rate increased to 20 percent and the median household income dropped to $49,024.

On September 9, Catholic Charities opened the St. Stephen’s CARE Center to provide basic needs like food, clothing, and diapers with Compassion, Aid, Respect, and Empowerment. Clients were already walking through the doors at the press conference and ribbon-cutting grand opening on that day.

With Food Pantries around the city, Catholic Charities witnessed a rise in need for basic necessities like food, clothing, and diapers creating a purpose for additional space to provide services to those who need us most. Consistent with the mission to serve the community selflessly under the sign of love, Catholic Charities leadership, Board of Directors, and partners had a vision to open a community supercenter with a large food pantry, clothes closet, and Texas Diaper Bank where clients could choose what food they wanted, like a grocery store, at no cost to them.

Over the last 12 months, Catholic Charities experienced a sharp increase in clients served. In September 2019, Catholic Charities provided food through the client-choice Food Pantry to 1,196 individuals, up from 878 clients the previous year. Transient food distribution also sharply increased from 238 to 595 in the past year.

Catholic Charities’ President/CEO, J. Antonio Fernandez said, “Catholic Charities is here to help those who need us. The cost to live as one or as a family is increasing forcing people to make choices between quality food and other necessities like utilities. There simply is not enough income to feed themselves and their children causing them to fall behind with their homes, at work, or in school. We want to provide basic needs so that moms and dads can concentrate on paying their bills, working toward self-sufficiency, and raising healthy children.

Catholic Charities requests canned food and dry goods donations to continue to offer a client-choice food pantry. Food donations can be dropped off at St. Stephen’s CARE Center at 2127 S. Zarzamora from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.