Shown, from left: Aaron Humes, general manager, Cargill Protein, Hazleton; Neil Oberto, director, Catholic Social Services of The Diocese of Scranton serving the greater Hazleton area; Kristen Stufft Adams, operations superintendent, Cargill Protein; Ted Smith, maintenance manager, Cargill Protein; Danielle Matarella, office manager, Catholic Social Services/Hazleton.

HAZLETON (August 4, 2020) – Cargill Protein recently awarded a $60,000 grant to Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton to support the Saint Joseph Food Pantry and Divine Providence shelter in Hazleton and provide essential resources to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant money was made available to help CSS’s Hazleton office respond to several urgent needs as requests for assistance continue to grow. The funding came from Cargill’s corporate offices in Minnesota, and the leadership team at the Hazleton facility chose to make the donation to Catholic Social Services, a front-lines social-services responder to hunger and other human needs. In addition to its food pantry and homeless shelter in Hazleton, Catholic Social Services also operates a Family Center, through which it regularly serves meals to those in need.

The Hazleton office of Catholic Social Services has seen a significant increase in requests for food and other assistance during the pandemic and has shifted its service models to respond quickly and accordingly.

During the month of May 2020, the Saint Joseph Food Pantry served 751 families. In June 2020, that number increased to 789 families. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pantry typically served an average of 400-425 families per month.

The Divine Providence Shelter has also taken numerous safety precautions to ensure the health and safety of all clients. During the months of May and June 2020, a total of 430 nights of shelter were provided to people in need in the Hazleton community.
Cargill is working with nonprofit and NGO partners around the globe to help address food security, health and safety needs and industry challenges due to the spread of COVID-19 and has committed $35 million to COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts.

“We are inspired by the medical professionals, first responders, workers and farmers in our communities who are making sure our essential needs are met,” said Aaron Humes, general manager of Cargill Protein’s Hazleton plant. “Thanks to our partner organizations, such as Catholic Social Services, for ensuring no one goes hungry during these unprecedented times.”

For more information about the programs provided by the Hazleton office of Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton, call (570) 455-1521.