Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge on Saturday launched its “Catholic Charities Care Cards” initiative, releasing $10,000 of gasoline cards to health care workers who are selflessly serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. “These workers are putting themselves at risk to protect the rest of us. We hope this action not only helps financially but shows our thanksgiving for their tireless work,” said David C. Aguillard, Executive Director.
The agency has initially dedicated $10,000 of cards earmarked for distribution after disasters which in the past helped evacuees or sheltered families return home. “But with the COVID crisis, the need for transportation assistance is for health care workers,” Aguillard said. “They need to get to and from work and home. They are our ‘troops’ headed to the front line, and our lives depend on them getting there…and home. We owe them our support.”
Aguillard invited others to donate to this program at www.CatholicCharitiesBR.org. “We try to be nimble, and use our disaster assistance resources in the immediate aftermath of a crisis while governments and large organizations are mobilizing. With the rapid spread of COVID into our community this past week, we thought now is the time to act,” he said.
Interested health care managers or executives who wish to distribute these cards to their workforce–or individual workers–can e-mail for more information: CareCards@CatholicCharitiesBR.org. Aguillard emphasized that with the agency working remotely, this will be the only way it can respond to inquiries.
The Care Cards are for use by front-line workers currently earning 100% or less of the Area Median Income, about $78,000 for a family of four in the Baton Rouge area. The agency expanded its usual guidelines to adapt to this crisis, a crisis in which too many families have suddenly been hit by economic hardship that one month ago was barely even imaginable.
Aguillard added, “I am hearing of front-line workers on a limited income who all of a sudden are working multiple shifts, traveling to distant facilities, and at home may have spouses and family who have lost their jobs. Our hearts and prayers are with them, of course, but we also wanted to show material support, as we are called to by our Gospel Mission. As Bishop Duca recently said, during this crisis, we should respond to needs, while also building a Community of Love.”
For more information about Catholic Charities response efforts to the COVID crisis, go to www.CatholicCharitiesBR.org.
[This article was written by Carol Spruell, director of Administration, Catholic Charities Baton Rouge, and used with her permission.]