“People are really concerned and scared,” according to Betty Regalado, who serves as the Coordinator for the St. Mark Outreach Center in Kenosha, as she describes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on those served by the center.
The St. Mark Outreach Center provides outreach and direct services to residents of Kenosha who often do not qualify for assistance from other programs due to their legal status, language barriers or their financial status. In May, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Coronavirus Emergency Fund provided a $2,000 grant to the Center to provide support for their Pantry Program.
“Many people who have lost jobs are in the restaurant industry and they have families to feed,” explains Betty. “Also, some of them have been personally impacted by the virus.”
The need for food and financial assistance was immediate as safer-at-home orders went into effect and people lost their jobs. The grant funding enables the center to provide non-perishable food and grocery store gift cards to families in need every two to three weeks.
The need is especially great at this time, as the Center is not receiving regular donations of food from parishioners attending Mass due to the requirements that churches are closed. Betty said that volunteers, parishioners and friends are stopping by with donations. “We are so grateful for that support,” she said.
Betty knows the need is going to increase. “People are scared about what’s going to happen. Prices are going up. There will be an increased need for rent assistance.”
“These dollars will help a lot of families. Eighty percent of those we serve do not quality for other assistance. That’s why we are here for them,” she said.
Betty shared that even small gifts make a difference. “We do miracles with it,” she said.
Those receiving food donations from St. Mark’s are so grateful. Betty said it provides them peace of mind. “We always trust in God,” Betty shared.