Catholic Charities affiliates across the country have distributed more than double the amount of money they received from Payroll Protection Program loans in emergency assistance, to help those impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The generosity of corporate donors, foundations, and individuals has been overwhelming,” said Sr. Donna Markham, the president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, in a release Monday.

Over the last four months, Catholic Charities distributed nearly $400 million in relief aid in the form of food, rental assistance, personal protective equipment, baby supplies, and quarantine housing. Catholic Charities affiliates are located in most dioceses throughout the country, and, including areas of the country hardest-hit during the pandemic, many have opened pop-up food pantries to assist those in need.

In Washington, DC, Catholic Charities distributed bags of groceries and hot meals to residents of one of the communities hardest-hit by coronavirus.

A July reported from the Associated Press criticized the fact that Catholic parishes, dioceses, and other organizations had received approximately $1.4 billion in Payroll Protection Program loans. The Payroll Protection Program was designed to help employers pay the salaries of employees amidst the economic downturn and the forced closing of businesses.

Catholic Charities affiliates received an estimated $100-$200 million in PPP loans, enabling the organizations to keep staff on payroll and continue distributing aid.

Sr. Donna expressed her gratitude at the workers who stayed on to help out, even when doing so is potentially dangerous.

“I remain edified by so many Catholic Charities staff and volunteers who work tirelessly on the front lines--often at great personal risk--to maintain the distribution of critical supplies,” she said. She referred to these workers as being “truly the embodiment of the Good Samaritan.”