News: Diocese Launches COVID-19 Relief Fund

April 10, 2020

Father Luis Mejia and Kandice Roethler offer food to ne

The Diocese of Des Moines COVID-19 Relief Fund has been established with a two-fold purpose: help individuals and families struggling with COVID-19, and to help the most pressing needs in Catholic parishes and schools in the diocese. The fund offers an opportunity for those who can, to help those who need a helping hand during this historic time.         

"As we enter the fifty days of the Easter Season, we recognize how much upheaval and loss our society and church has experienced in this pandemic, and the long process it will take to restore human lives," said Bishop William Joensen. "Catholics and Iowans have always shown themselves to be true neighbors to one another as Jesus calls us to be, and this is a signal moment when each of us is afforded the chance to draw closer in prayer and spiritual solidarity, and material support as we are able."               

The Diocese of Des Moines COVID-19 Relief Fund was created in partnership with Catholic Charities and the diocese to provide immediate assistance to the most vulnerable individuals and families. Individuals and families could receive help with their monthly rent, utilities, medical bills, etc. thereby allowing them to spend money on basic needs like groceries, gas and other essentials during this time of uncertainty. Catholic Charities will administer this aspect of the relief fund through a grant application process. Payment will be made directly to vendors such as landlords, utility companies, hospitals/clinics, etc.

"We are grateful to Bishop Joensen in creating this special relief fund for our diocese, to include Catholic Charities. In our 95-year social ministry legacy, our Catholic Charities mission continues to empower individuals and strengthen families through its many programs and services. Thank you in advance to all who can help contribute to this relief fund," said Barbara Q. Decker, executive director, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Des Moines.               

The Diocese of Des Moines in partnership with the Catholic Foundation of Southwest Iowa will identify the urgent needs of the most vulnerable parishes and schools and, in coordination with ministry leaders, offer temporary relief in the midst of declining parish collections.                

"Our parishes and schools are adapting to new challenges both financially and operationally. While many are financially positioned to endure the COVID-19 crisis, some will face difficulties especially as the crisis lengthens," said Maureen Kenney, diocesan director of Stewardship. "The fund will go a long way to strengthen our parish and school communities in their efforts to serve individuals and families."

Parishes and schools are also working to apply for and receive financial assistance from the federal government.