WACO, TX — As we make our way through the new year, people are still struggling due to the pandemic.
Thankfully organizations like Caritas of Waco are serving the need, and their efforts are only ramping up.
"If they weren't here, there would be more people struggling right now. They would have no food. They've helped me out quite a bit on everything from meals to clothes to food to everything," said Marine Corps veteran Ray Gonzales, who relies on Caritas' services to get by.
In 2020, Caritas of Waco served 40,680 households. That's 8,000 more than they did in 2019, and staff anticipates the need will only be bigger in 2021.
"A lot of our clients, what we're seeing is they got behind. They got behind back in March and April and they've just never been able to catch up," said Alicia Jallah, Caritas of Waco's co-executive director.
Last year Caritas gave out 5.2 million pounds of food. They are currently on a wait list to help people with financial assistance.
"Thank you to the community. There's no way we could've served all of those families without our donors, our volunteers, our stakeholders," said Jallah.
Right now Caritas is in need clothing and food donations, as well as volunteers to help in their pantry and hand out food to people waiting in line.
"I'm here every day, man. It's a good feeling to give people food that ain't got no money in their pocket or no food stamps. It's good to give back to the community. I've been seeing lines all the way to the bus station," said Caritas worker Dennis Gidson.
Caritas is also in need of financial donations to buy essential items and to help pay for much needed repairs, like to the damaged roof at their thrift store.
"Even a penny helps. One penny from one person. That's 200,000 people here, that's a lot of money," said Gonzales.
If you'd like to donate or volunteer, click here.