By Greg Kepferle, CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County is excited to announce two investments by Comcast to help close the digital divide and help vulnerable community members connect to each other and resources in times of crises. Comcast, a member and supporter of San Jose’s Digital Inclusion Partnership, supported Catholic Charities’ new digital inclusion and education programs. Also, Comcast has helped the deployment of a new mobile response van, sponsored by the Rotary Club of San Jose, to increase the agency’s outreach and capacity to serve the community quickly during a disaster.
The digital inclusion programs, offered through Catholic Charities’ three Family Resource Centers and the Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative Community Center, educate clients on how to use the internet, how to connect through various devices and the importance of connectivity. “Making it clear why digital connectivity is a necessity, rather than a luxury, is the key to success,” explains Elizabeth Alvarez, Managing Director, Children’s Initiative for Catholic Charities. Clients learn how to go online to apply for new home leases, access community benefits, find resources, navigate their citizenship processes, and even connect with their children’s teachers and schools, demonstrating the importance of connectivity in today’s world. Funding was received through San Jose’s Digital Inclusion Partnership, of which Comcast is a key funder.
Comcast also sponsored the WiFi hotspot on Catholic Charities’ new mobile emergency command center. “By providing WiFi for mobile emergency internet access, those impacted can gather vital information, check on loved ones, report their status and connect to resources,” explained Araceli Gonzales, Program Director, Disaster Services for Catholic Charities. The new van, which provides the ability for teams to set-up at practically any outdoor public location, expands Catholic Charities reach for critical services to individuals and families, including during non-emergency times.
“When your office is a parking lot, you need a dedicated vehicle with a reliable internet connection for many users to bring people in need to the site for services,” Gonzales said. “We have a lot of ground to cover in Santa Clara County – from Mountain View down to Gilroy. This van is going to mean so much to so many people who see the Catholic Charities name when they are in crisis and know they can trust us.”
For information on Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County’s programs seeking to address emergencies and alleviate poverty, please contact David Russo, email@example.com or (408) 325 -5248.
About Greg Kepferle
Gregory Kepferle is the Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, which he has proudly served since 2005. Greg is a founding member of the Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative. He currently serves on the Governance Committee and Board of Educare California at Silicon Valley and President of Charities Housing.
About Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County (“CCSCC”) serves and advocates for families and individuals in need, especially those living in poverty, and works to create a more just and compassionate community in which people of all cultures and beliefs can participate. Since 1955, CCSCC has worked to strengthen families and build economic self-sufficiency for the poor and vulnerable in the County. Prior to the pandemic, each year we served 40,000 individuals through more than 30 direct service programs, including job placement, meals and food distribution, senior services, mental health, financial education, immigration legal services, refugee foster care, supportive housing, after-school expanded learning, and youth and family services. Since the pandemic, that number has increased tenfold to nearly 500,000 served.