Become an advocate

Poverty Campaign

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. - Mother Teresa

Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Inc. shares the opinion of Catholic Charities USA that poverty in America is a moral and social crisis. It threatens the health and economic well-being of our families and our nation as a whole. In 2006, responding to this crisis, Catholic Charities USA has launched the Campaign to Reduce Poverty to create the political will to cut poverty in half to make our nation whole. Catholic Charities will continue its advocacy efforts through public education and outreach to make our community aware of the issue of poverty that affects us all and how we can all participate in the reduction of poverty locally, at the state level, and nationally.

Goals of Catholic Charities USA’s Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America:

  • Call upon the government to do more to serve those who are poor, and to improve public policies that strengthen and support families.
  • Educate policymakers and the public about the struggles of those living in poverty and the good work of those who serve them in local communities.
  • Engage those who are most impacted by government policies to be active participants in developing solutions to reducing poverty.
  • Work with individuals and organizations across the country to address poverty in our country.

The Focus Areas of the Campaign:

  • Health Care: Reduction of the infant mortality rate. Increase the number of children with health care coverage.
  • Hunger: Increase access to healthy, nutritious food.
  • Housing: Reduce the number of families in emergency shelters. Increase the number of affordable housing units.
  • Family Economic Security: Increase median personal earnings/assets. Increase father involvement in families.
  • Workforce/Training and Education: Increase access to quality affordable early childhood education. Increase rate of high school completion. Increase the number of youth participating in postsecondary education or workforce training.

Your Call to Action: Do you support our goals? Do you believe poverty is a moral outrage and a social crisis? Here are a few things you can do to help reduce poverty...

1. Pray

Prayer to Reduce Poverty in America:

Good and Gracious God, we pray for your assistance in alleviating the pain and needless struggles of our brothers and sisters in need. Working together and with your grace, we know that each person deserves and should have affordable housing, adequate food, health care, and economic security.
Loving God, we know that "what ever we ask, in your name, it will be granted to us." So help us in trying to alleviate poverty, and may our efforts give you praise and be a sign of your kingdom on earth. Amen.

2. Learn

Learn more about campaign issues through the activities listed below

3. Food Stamp Challenge

The Food Stamp Challenge was created by the Food Research and Action Center in Washington, D.C., and is an attempt to live one week on the average food stamp benefit - approximately $1.33 per person per meal, hardly enough for an adequate nutritious diet.

Most SNAP benefits are used up before the end of the month, with 90% of benefits redeemed by day 21. Additionally, 58% of food pantry clients currently receiving SNAP benefits turn to food pantries for assistance for at least 6 months out of the year. A September 2011 Feeding America study found that the sooner a household’s SNAP benefits run out during the month, the more frequently they visit a food pantry.

The Food Stamp Challenge gives participants a view of what life can be like for millions of low-income Americans. Most participants take the Challenge for one week, living on about $4.00 per day worth of food—the average food stamp benefit. Challenge participants are forced to make difficult food shopping choices, and often realize how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy. The cost of a container of coffee and fresh fruits and vegetables will never be looked at the same way. For more information, please click here.

4. Advocate

The Tennessee Catholic Public Policy Commission (CPPC) was founded in 1983 as the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Tennessee. The CPPC serves in this capacity so that the Catholic Church's position on public policy matters may be presented with one voice to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government. Learn about how you can advocate with CPPC by visiting their website. On their website you will find helpful resources to help you track legislation of interest, learning how to advocate effectively and linking to the Tennessee State Legislature. Please also sign up for Catholic Advocacy Network Mailing List so you can receive action alerts and participate in advocacy to help reduce poverty in Tennessee.

Join our local poverty advocacy group "A Voice" at

5. Participate

There are many activities and events happening in Middle Tennessee to address the issue of poverty. Please see the listing of events below and help spread the word. If you know of an event please contact Fran Rajotte at

6. Give

There are many opportunities throughout the year to make a difference in the lives of those that are in poverty through giving. Contact local nonprofits who provide services related to poverty and find out how you can make a donation. To give to Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Inc., please visit our Donation page. For more information, contact: Fran Rajotte, Assistant Administrator, Catholic Charities of TN, (615)352-3087 x 229, or visit Catholic Charities USA's Campaign to Reduce Poverty.

Did you know that Catholic Charities around the country are facing huge increases in the demand for services?

  • 64% of Catholic Charities reported an increase in requests for emergency financial assistance
  • 52% of agencies reported more people asking for help with utilities
  • 70% saw more people requesting mortgage, rental, or temporary housing assistance
  • 76% recorded an increase in requests for food assistance

The economy affects us all, but it especially affects those who are already struggling to get by.

Who is their voice?

Catholic Charities USA hopes that we can lift up the voices of those living in poverty and inspire all people to take action to reduce poverty in this country. Please watch the video clips from some of the 11 Catholic Charities agencies (including Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Inc.) participating in a project that aims to capture the hopes and dreams of the clients that they serve. Check back often for new clips.

What is going on in your community? Do you have video or audio to share? Let your voice be heard. Please send your audio or video files to or upload your videos to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development YouTube page. You can also add your voice by writing your story on the discussion board.

Making a difference since 1962. CATHOLIC CHARITIES

2806 McGavock Pike
Nashville, TN 37214
Office: (615) 352-3087
Fax: (615) 352-8591

© 2019 Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Inc.