No matter the cause: CCFW is there to aid parish communities

North Texas Catholic
(Sep 1, 2021) Local

Jimena Estrada

Jimena Estrada, 15, a parishioner of All Saints Catholic Parish, shows off her COVID-19 vaccination card after receiving her first dose of the vaccine at a vaccination site located at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Parish in Fort Worth, on July 17, 2021. (NTC/Ben Torres)

In what has been an unprecedented and challenging time in the past year and a half, Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW) has remained vigilant throughout the Diocese of Fort Worth by continuing to meet its mission to “provide service to those in need.”

Last month, CCFW and its Disaster Response Team closed an urgent five-month effort to support families affected by Winter Storm Uri by providing services from financial and volunteer assistance to collaborating with local and national agencies in meeting individual needs of those families. 

Most recently, CCFW saw the need and reached out to local parishes to assist the COVID-19 vaccination effort to battle the devastating effects of the lingering pandemic.

“Anytime we can do events to help the community as the church — it’s a win-win situation,” said Beverly Oberdorf, business manager at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in north Fort Worth. 

As of August 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website reports that in the United States there have been 36,556,516 COVID cases with a total number of 618,591 deaths.

The need for the vaccine in its own community at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish was illustrated by “the results of a parish survey from April 2021,” Oberdorf said. 

Of the survey respondents from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, 39 percent were already vaccinated, and another 21 percent had already been ill with COVID-19. That led to the decision to team up with CCFW to provide the clinic, Oberdorf said. 

“We had about 100 people” that came to receive the vaccine at the clinic last month, Oberdorf said. “Half of our community is Hispanic, and that was encouraging that they took part.” A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis from July 19, 2021, shows 40 percent of Hispanics in Texas are vaccinated compared to 44 percent of the white population and 65 percent of Asians.
Oberdorf said those who came to the clinic were happy to be there, as many said, “they would not have gotten the vaccine if [the parish] hadn’t offered it.” 

The effort to conduct the vaccination clinics started while the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus was surging across the country, making the vaccination effort even more important. 

According to the CDC website, the delta variant is “much more contagious than past versions of the virus” and places with low vaccination rates are experiencing the most cases and devastating results.

“We just try to encourage everyone that by getting vaccinated you are protecting your neighbors,” Oberdorf said.

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