Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark traces its roots back to 1903 of providing assistance to the poor and vulnerable in Essex, Hudson, Bergen, and Union Counties. 

  • Tell us what's so great about the Garden State using the form at the end of this story.

The charity is constructed as several corporations and programs under the one umbrella of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark. The group touches the lives of nearly 80 thousand people across the 4 counties with 70 programs offering aid with food, shelter, and workforce development, just to name a few.

While the word "Catholic" dons the name of the charity, CEO Phillip Frese points out one misconception.

"The one that I really want people to know is that we don't ask whether you're Catholic or not," he explains, "We ask whether you're hungry, or your need clothing, or you need shelter."

The groups of people they serve include:

  • Men, women, and children who are homeless
  • People in need of low-income and traditional housing
  • Individuals living with HIV-AIDS
  • Adults, youth, and children with cognitive, psychological or physical challenges
  • People looking for work and who need job-readiness skills
  • Immigrants who need legal services
  • Individuals who want to adopt or place a child for adoption
  • Senior citizens
  • People facing economic emergencies
  • People needing information on community services

The charity has seen a rise in the amount of people needing their help because of the current economic climate. Frese especially noticed a rise in the amount of food being consumed from their food pantries.

"It was amazing on the number of people that needed to eat, and didn't have enough food for their tables," he said.

The shelters had also seen an uptick in the amount of people needing a place to stay over the last few years. However, that number has dipped a bit this winter because of the mild winter.

On the donation side, the charity was getting equally hit over the last few years. However, things have improved on that front recently, as we hear constantly conflicting news on the economy.

"We're up considerably," Frese explains, "so people have gotten to work and are giving back to the charities that have helped them throughout the difficult times."

Catholic Charities is funded mainly through local, state and federal grants, but still about 10% of their budget needs to be filled with the donations. They are appreciative of any donations, no matter how big or small.

"I sign letters constantly thanking people for five and ten dollars," he says, "and I'm very happy to be receiving that."

Learn more about how you can help the charity or receive their help by vising their new website at



Cause An Effect - State Farm New Jersey

State Farm is looking for New Jerseyans who want to make a difference in their neighborhood for their Cause An Effect program. Cause An Effect is a new philanthropic initiative that relies on local, nonprofit organizations to create solutions to community issues identified by consumers. The initiative invites consumers to submit their neighborhood cause via Facebook for a chance to win one of 40 grants, totaling $25,000 each. Click here to learn more.

It Takes Two to Talk - The Hanen Program - Mercer County

Is your child struggling to communicate? Mercer County resident Elaine Tirello is joining hands with an international workshop, It Takes To to Talk - The Hanen Program, designed specifically for parents of children ages five and under who have been identified as having a language delay. A certified speech therapist, Tirello runs the program with Newtown resident Maryellen Aland. Together, they teach parents techniques to increase the communication skills of their children. Parents interested in learning more can attend a free information session on March 19 at the Straube Center in Pennington. Please RSVP by e-mailing

"Paint the Pony Purple" - Stone Pony

One of New Jersey's historic landmarks is helping to raise awareness of epilepsy. On March 18, The Stone Pony in Asbury Park plans to sponsor a concert to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey. "Paint the Pony Purple" will include performances by several local cover bands and musicians. Click here to learn more.