Catholic Charities volunteer continues serving those with disabilities despite pandemic

May 13, 2020

Over 250 volunteers help Catholic Charities, Diocese of Paterson advance their mission through selfless giving.

While some volunteers continue to assist at Catholic Charities’ three pantries and a handful of other programs, most have had to stay home because of COVID-19.

Social distancing and sheltering in place have not slowed volunteer Jenn Minervino, who  assists the Department for Persons with Disabilities (DPD) and the Fight for the Right Group.

The Fight for the Right group is the DPD’s service recipient community service group. The name was created by a member of the group and implies fighting for what is right and providing service to those in our local communities, nation and worldwide who are in need.  The group is led by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live at the DPD.

Past projects include planting flowers at nursing homes, making get well cards and gifts for the sick, buying holiday presents for children of domestic violence and donating mom and baby gifts for Mother’s Day to a pregnant women’s shelter.

Jenn volunteers remotely and has motivated members of the group to support causes from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All of DPD’s 12 group homes and supervised apartments have decorated and sent thank you cards to first responders, essential employees and local hospital workers including brave women and men who are on the front lines of New Jersey hospitals that are overrun with COVID-19.

“We can’t be together but we’re home and we can do something,” Minervino said. “The residents are awesome, great and loving people and have showed others they care. I am blessed to be a DPD, Catholic Charities volunteer.”

One of the recipients of the thank you cards – a nurse – wrote a reply: “I can’t thank you enough for sending me such kind words of gratitude and encouragement, especially during the challenges I face each day walking into a hospital where people are so sick with COVID-19. Your letter brightened my day and gave me strength to keep fighting the illness for my patients.  I am keeping the letter visible to give me more strength every day.”

“We thank all of our selfless volunteers, including Jenn, who are supporting us through this challenging time,” said Scott Milliken, CEO of Catholic Charities.  “For those who are unable to volunteer, know that you are in our prayers and we are looking forward to when this pandemic has passed.”


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