Mission Goes into Overdrive as Pandemic Pushes Families into Poverty

Central Union Mission



Contact: Deborah Chambers

VP, Development and Partnerships
Cell: 202-534-9965

Mission Goes into Overdrive as
Pandemic Pushes Families into Poverty


Washington, DC—December 15, 2020—During its 136 years as DC’s oldest private social service agency, Central Union Mission has helped the city and its people through social unrest, economic downturn, disease, unemployment and poverty. This year’s COVID-19 pandemic encompasses elements of all of those societal problems, and the number of people in need is only increasing. In fact, some estimate that the pandemic could cause 50 million people nationwide to be at risk of hunger in 2020.

According to Mission President & CEO Joseph Mettimano, “We are seeing families coming to our Family Ministry Center who have never been to a food pantry before. In general, an economic downturn first affects the most vulnerable, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made previously stable groups of people struggle with sudden food insecurity.”

Many of our program participants work in the service industry, and many of them were either laid off or forced to take health risks to stay employed. Paying for childcare is a burden at any income level, but for minimum-wage workers, leaving jobs to keep their families safe and in school are added pressures. Approximately half of the adults laid off when the pandemic started remain unemployed today.

Central Union Mission relies on the generosity of our neighbors through private contributions, not government funding. “We are grateful to see increased donations in response to the needs, but it may not be enough for the long haul,” remarked Mettimano. “Parents are facing desperate choices of what bills to pay, so it’s our privilege to come through with nutritious food for their children.”

Through partnerships with grocery stores like Safeway, Aldi, Giant, Costco and others, the Family Ministry Center is often able to provide fresh produce, eggs and protein, which is vital for good health. Financial donations allow the Mission to purchase what is lacking and also provide PPE and sanitation supplies. However, we need to prepare for increased demands as stimulus money and rent subsidies end and the cold weather settles in the area.

Interviews with families and photos are available during our regularly scheduled food distributions, Monday through Thursday between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. To coordinate socially distanced interviews with families affected by the pandemic or with Mission President & CEO Joseph Mettimano, please contact Deborah Chambers at 202-534-9965 or dchambers@missiondc.org.

About Central Union Mission:

Central Union Mission is a faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the oldest private social service agency in Washington, DC. In addition to its emergency shelter, which provides more than 60,000 bed-nights each year, the Mission operates holistic, Christ-centered transformation and workforce development programs for men, provides benefits for veterans, helps people overcome addictions, operates a food and clothing distribution center which provides food for over 4,000 people each month, runs a camp for underprivileged children, and offers a ministry to families and senior citizens. Charity Navigator has rated Central Union Mission a three-star charity, GuideStar awarded Central Union Mission a Gold Seal for our financial transparency and GreatNonProfits has given Central Union Mission a Top-Rated award.


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