Feeding the Hungry

We believe that access to adequate, affordable and nutritious food is a basic human right. Freedom from hunger is a prerequisite for individuals and families to live productive, healthy and dignified lives.

The Problem

Today, more than 49 million Americans face food insecurity. Hunger affects families across the country in urban, rural and suburban communities. Barriers of access and affordability prevent low-income families from purchasing the nutritious food necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Children are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, which can have long-term negative impacts on their health, education and social well-being.

A volunteer sets out donated food at a Catholic Charities client-choice food pantry.

Our Approach

Catholic Charities agencies strive not only to feed the hungry for a day, but also to help them build long-term food security. They help low-income and vulnerable people access adequate and nutritious food through a range of services from pantries and soup kitchens, to healthy eating and cooking classes, to creating food stands and gardens. Committed to food for all, Catholic Charities agencies:

  1. Distribute food through community food banks or pantries, many of which operate like grocery stores with a variety of food options for clients to choose from.

  2. Serve meals at congregate dining sites such as soup kitchens, senior centers and summer camps.

  3. Deliver meals to home-bound seniors and effectively serve remote, rural communities.

  4. Provide food to children during out-of-school hours, including daycare and after-school meals, weekend food backpacks and summer meals.

  5. Offer healthy eating initiatives including cooking and grocery shopping education programs, community gardens and medically-tailored food packages.

Approach to Advocacy

Catholic Charities USA believes that ensuring food security for all requires a strong partnership between nonprofits, businesses and government. We urge lawmakers to prioritize and strengthen programs and policies that help feed the hungry. In particular, we support adequate funding for federal nutrition programs; policies that increase access to affordable food that is fresh and healthy; and measures to strengthen food programs that support children, seniors and pregnant women. With Caritas Internationalis, we are working to elevate the right to food through the "One Human Family, Food for All" campaign.

Stay Informed, Show Your Support, Make An Impact

Get the weekly updates we send to our advocates while Congress is in session, and we’ll let you know when there’s an opportunity for your voice to make a difference.

Seniors build community while sharing a meal at a Catholic Charities congregate dining site.

The Impact

Catholic Charities agencies' anti-hunger programs and services not only address an immediate need for food, but also afford people the peace of mind to face other challenges in their lives. In 2015, Catholic Charities agencies provided more than nine million client services that strengthened food security.

  • 1,440 Food Banks and Pantries

  • 2.2M Home-delivered Meals

  • 638 Congregate Dining Sites