Integrated Health & Nutrition

"If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,' but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?" James 2:15-16

The Problem

Catholic Charities believes that access to equitable and affordable health care and nutrition is a basic human right. Catholic Charities agencies provide a wide spectrum of integrated health and hunger services for individuals and families in need.

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 also help low-income and vulnerable people protect their health by providing a number of health services. Committed to integrated health and nutrition for all, Catholic Charities agencies:

  1. Maintain food banks and pantries; some agencies also offer government bulk food distribution, donated food, and food cooperatives.

  2. Operate specialized food programs to reach children during out of school time, including summer meals, when children are most likely to be food insecure.

  3. Provide health education on such topics as nutrition, disease prevention, and infant and child care.

  4. Offer health-related services such as medical and dental care; and behavioral health care including counseling, addiction recovery, and support groups.

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.

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

The Impact

Catholic Charities agencies' health and food related services address immediate needs and provide programs and education to support people's physical, spiritual, and mental well-being.

  • 8M Food Services

  • 422K Behavioral Health Services

  • 191K Pregnancy Services