TRENTON — Serving 300,000 New Jerseyans annually, Catholic Charities in the Dioceses of Camden, Metuchen, Newark, Paterson, and Trenton provide assistance to residents seeking counseling for behavioral health or addiction, or who may be facing homelessness, food insecurity, or lack of access to proper clothing.

Nancy Tompkins, director of development and marketing for Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton, said not all five organizations are the same in terms of the services they offer, but they are all nonprofits which help cover basic needs through grants, state and federal funding, and the significant donations of individuals and corporations.

Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton covers Mercer, Burlington, Monmouth, and Ocean Counties; the Diocese of Camden serves Camden, Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties; Diocese of Metuchen — Middlesex, Hunterdon, Somerset, and Warren; Diocese of Newark — Essex, Bergen, Hudson, and Union; and the Diocese of Paterson — Passaic, Morris, and Sussex.

"People don't really know what we do, which is one of the reasons we decided to, all five of us together, pool our resources," Tompkins said, adding that information on all five Catholic Charities can be found at

On that website, those who may need help can see just what specific services are available county-by-county, and get the phone number to call their local branch.

Tompkins said Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton is "extremely fiscally efficient," with more than 90 cents of every dollar donated being put right back into programs and services.

Some examples of the ways volunteers serve the community are: paying a resident's rent or utility bills for a month when possible, to keep that person from being evicted, and also participating in certain counties' Rapid Re-Housing programs.

To that effect, Tompkins relayed the story of a 79-year-old woman who could not afford a rent increase, and for whom new housing was quickly and successfully found in Hamilton, in Mercer County.

"We're all called to help the poor and the vulnerable, and those are the people that we really serve, the people that really have gone through an extreme amount of trauma and adversity," Tompkins said.

Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton is continually seeking grants, but features key fundraisers throughout the year, like a gala which routinely raises $300,000. The nonprofit also relies on planned giving and legacy gifts as supplemental funds.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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