Permanent Deacon Anthony Willoughby (left) of St. John’s Hospice hands a new pair of boots to Mark, a client at an Oct. 23, 2021 community giveaway organized by archdiocesan Catholic Social Services (CSS). In fiscal year 2021, archdiocesan Catholic Human Services (of which CSS is a part) aided more than 639,000 area individuals, an 86% increase over the previous year.  (Gina Christian)

Humanitarian agencies operated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia saw an 86% increase in their reach last year, according to a newly released annual report.

James Amato, secretary for archdiocesan Catholic Human Services (CHS), said his organization – which oversees Catholic Social Services (CSS), Nutritional Development Services (NDS) and Catholic Housing and Community Services (CHCS) — “made a positive change in over 639,000 lives throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding counties during 2021.”

That figure was up from just over 344,000 in 2020, during which the first three waves of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S.


The expansion impacted clients of all ages, from children to senior citizens, and spanned an array of services, such as meal distribution, rental and utility assistance, and residential programs serving at-risk youth, persons with disabilities and those experiencing homelessness.

According to the report, more than 35,000 area households received groceries, while NDS provided a total of some 8.5 million meals: 6.3 million through federally funded child nutrition programs, and 2.2 million through the agency’s community food program.

CSS continued its longstanding commitment to pregnant women and expecting families, offering classes and counseling to more than 3,900 families and distributing close to 8,500 baby care items. Last month, the agency was named the 2022 Service Provider of the Year by Real Alternatives, a non-profit, charitable organization in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that administers pregnancy and parenting support services. The honor is the 10th consecutive one for CSS.

The agency has also begun to tackle “period poverty,” or the inability to afford or access menstrual products, through its “Take Back the Month” and “Ladies Locker” initiatives, which saw almost 8,400 personal care and feminine hygiene products given out.

Some 500 area youth enjoyed afterschool and summer camp activities organized by CSS, while 386 at-risk teens received care in group homes and another 821 benefited from in-home services.

Close to 5,900 seniors enjoyed meals, social gatherings and general assistance through CHCS senior centers and parish-based programs. Just over 300 seniors called one of the agency’s six affordable housing complexes home – a number set to grow as CHCS looks to build more residences through a blend of tax credits, community development grants and monies from federal home loan banks and local lenders.


For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, revenue for CSS and NDS ministries, which totaled $143,112,304, derived from government funding (74.8%); archdiocesan support (16.3%); grants, donations and bequest (5%); and fees for services (3.9%).

Among CHS’s government partners, which range from the federal to the municipal level, are the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania’s Department of Education and Office of Developmental Programs, the Philadelphia Department of Human Services and the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, a private nonprofit that operates through federal and state funding.

The annual Catholic Charities Appeal, the Connelly Foundation, the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia, Catholic Charities USA and the United Way, along with trust fund disbursements and other donors, are key sources of charitable support for CHS, collectively supplying more than $30 million for CSS and NDS outreach in 2021.

Expenditures for CHS added up to $143,112,304 in 2021, with CSS’s developmental programs division comprising almost half of that at 46.3% through its Communities of Don Guanella and Divine Providence (DGDP), St. Edmond’s Home for Children and the DGDP Community Day Program.

Youth services accounted for 17.9% of spending, followed by NDS’s Community Food Program and Child Nutrition Programs (16.1%) and CSS community-based services (8.5%).

CHCS’s programming represented 6% of the total figure, with CSS housing and homelessness services tallying 5.1%.

But the numbers only tell part of the story, as CHS strives to “respond to people’s material, relational, emotional and spiritual needs,” said Amato.

That mission is made possible by CHS supporters and their generosity, he added.

“You are a blessing to the families and individuals being impacted every day,” Amato said.