With the opening of the CARITAS Center on Stockton Street in 2020, CARITAS added several new programs to its portfolio of housing and recovery services. 47 Recovery Residences offer 125 beds to those seeking a sober living community. The women’s shelter moved into a permanent home, offering 24/7 emergency housing to 28 women at a time. The Healing Place program, which had been successfully helping men recover from addiction for 15 years, was expanded to welcome women for the first time.

This significant growth allows for more than 450 people to live under the CARITAS umbrella on any given day. Residents in the shelter and The Healing Place receive 3 meals a day and a snack without cost to them. Providing this quantity of food on a daily basis requires a coordinated effort between full-time kitchen staff, corporate partners, and hundreds of community volunteers.

In October 2023, CARITAS hosted a breakfast for nonprofit members of ChamberRVA. One attendee was Raymond LeBlanc, Community Engagement Manager for Mercy Chefs. Mercy Chefs had recently stood up operations for a community kitchen in the Richmond area. Raymond met CARITAS Senior Operations Director Paul Start and began discussing a partnership between the two nonprofits. In December, Mercy Chefs began providing lunches each weekday to the residents of the CARITAS Center at 2220 Stockton Street. In January, they added the men’s campus at 700 Dinwiddie Avenue. Mercy Chefs now provides 300 meals each weekday across the two campuses. Hear more in our interview with Raymond, Paul, and Managing Chef MarBeth on our YouTube channel.

In addition to this incredible support from Mercy Chefs, CARITAS receives significant food donations from FeedMore, Walmart, Target, Publix, Save A Lot, Ukrops, University of Richmond, Yellow Umbrella, Altria, and the Humanities Foundation. These corporate partners donate nearly 163,000 pounds of food each year to keep the CARITAS pantries stocked. CARITAS also receives meal donations each week from congregational partners, companies, families, and neighborhood groups interested in feeding their residents. For more information on providing a meal at CARITAS, please visit caritas.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/ to see available dates.