Bishop Blesses New Catholic Charities Van for use in Carbon, Schuylkill Counties

On August 16, Bishop Schlert welcomed guests and offered a scripture reading in the parking lot of the diocesan office at 1515 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive before officially blessing Catholic Charities’ new van, which will be used primarily in its Carbon County and Schuylkill County service areas.

The van will be used by a full-time case manager assigned to the organization’s Schuylkill/Carbon service area to assist those who need safety net resources but are not able to get to its soup kitchen in Pottsville or offices in Pottsville and Lehighton. From day to day the van’s destination and purpose will change, depending on the needs of the community. The van may be stocked with non-perishable food items one day or baby items another; it could be used to dispatch help to homeless or near homeless individuals or allow the case manager to meet with a family who needs to explore options for more affordable housing, or to do an intake assessment.

“This brand new van will help us realize the strategic goal of removing barriers to service. We want to be an organization that, quite literally, meets people where they are,” said Catholic Charities Managing Director, Andrea Kochan Neagle.

Catholic Charities provides direct assistance throughout its five-county service area, Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties, which comprise the Diocese of Allentown.

The organization helps those who are hungry, those battling mental health issues, veterans at risk of homelessness, families seeking disaster relief, and individuals in need of assistance, safety, and compassion. Catholic Charities operates soup kitchens in Allentown and Pottsville, a community center in Allentown, and multiple food pantries. Catholic Charities helps everyone in the community: seventy-five percent of Catholic Charities’ clients are non-Catholic.

Poverty rates for adults in Carbon and Schuylkill counties exceed national and state averages. 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data shows that 18.6 percent of adults and 38 percent of children (those under the age of 18) in Carbon County live in poverty. In Schuylkill County, those rates are 12.8 and 18 percent, respectively.

Visit the Catholic Charities website at


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