Catholic Charities Update – January 2021
Added Jan 08, 2021

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Recovery Is Just the Beginning

From Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville

Serving our neighbors—whenever and however they need it—is unpredictable work. This was abundantly clear in 2020, with tornados, Covid-19’s myriad tragedies, and now a bomb explosion that devastated the heart of Nashville.

I am proud to share with you that Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville, has been tapped to lead the recovery efforts for the survivors of the bombing that occurred in Downtown Nashville the morning of December 25. Our efforts, named Nashville Strong 2021, dovetail with the larger city-wide recovery initiative involving government and non-profit organizations.

Close to 2,000 survivors have lost a job, a home, or a business – in some cases all three. Since January 1, we have been taking applications from those who need help with rent, utilities, food assistance, counseling, and more.

This is intense work, but it’s try a privilege.

Recovery for survivors will take many months, and specialized counseling will be key to successful recovery. Catholic Charities has created a special fund if you would like to support our recovery efforts. You can donate any amount you would like at any time at

If you would like to stay up to date about the recovery efforts, you can visit the Nashville Strong page on our website or the special website called we have created specifically for the recovery efforts.

Every year may not be as traumatic as 2020—and we pray not—but every year, each day, our community can count on us to serve our neighbors. Our work in 2021 and beyond will surely be shaped by these events. And please remember that all of these unexpected challenges are layered on top of the work we already do to serve thousands each year.

Looking Forward to 2021

As we enter 2021, I want to share a few additional thoughts about our experiences and our future priorities.

The tornadoes on March 3 changed 2020 for many people and businesses. We are fortunate to have Catholic Charities at C. E. McGruder, where we provided coordinated resources to North Nashville as well as a much-needed base for other community partners.

In mid-March, we began work to distribute $1.5 million from the Nashville Covid-19 Response Fund as well as CARES Act funding.

Loaves and Fishes never missed a meal service. We saw first-hand that food insecurity snowballed to be a top issue for many of our neighbors.

In late 2020, we received the largest grant in our history, from the State of Tennessee, and we launched Tennessee Serves Neighbors, which will be the biggest expansion in our history. Catholic Charities will expand to five new counties in 2021 and an additional five in 2022. We just announced the first three team members who will lead this expansion.

Now more than ever, our team is focused on seven core causes important to our mission:

Disaster Relief and Recovery

Last year’s disasters proved how essential it is to be prepared for the next big disaster in Nashville and to have the ability to help our nearby communities when they are impacted by disasters.

Emergency Services

Our Basic Needs program provides an important lifeline to many families facing eviction or utility shutoffs; experiencing food insecurity; and struggling to pay for life’s necessities.

Emotional Support

Many, many people will continue to face psychological and emotional challenges caused by the events of 2020. Our counseling program for individuals, families, children, and older adults are vital to emotional recovery and self sustainability.

Housing Security

Stable housing, especially for young children, is paramount for a successful life, and 2021 will present many more families with this challenge.

Hunger Relief

Preventing food insecurity for everyone – not just the unhoused – will be a priority. We expanded our relief program in 2020 and plan to do much more in the coming years.

Job Training

Job training will receive new emphasis as we emerge from the pandemic and facilitate access to skills training needed for in-demand jobs.

Refugee and Immigrant Support

Catholic Charities was founded to help those new to this country. We will continue to support refugee and immigrant families working hard every day to build a better life.

Love, Hope, Healing

So many of our neighbors need help. If anything, those needs are greater than ever.

It is our moral obligation to provide love, hope, and healing anywhere we can.

We all know that 2020 was hard on everyone. I hope you will consider giving to Catholic Charities at this crucial time when resources are running out for many. The recovery from all that happened in 2020 is just beginning. Every dollar you give matters and will help our neighbors most in need.

If you are able, please help your neighbors by going to

Thank you and may God bless you and your loved ones.

Judy K. Orr
Executive Director
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville

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