MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s bishops have restarted an anti-hunger campaign, saying the pandemic has pushed millions of Mexicans into unemployment and poverty.

The Caritas campaign known as Families Without Hunger has provided more than 270,000 care packages of food and household items to families since April and has worked in conjunction with the private sector and foundations.

The bishops also have organized listening lines to provide psychological assistance and jobs banks, which work with unemployed and people losing their livelihoods.

“There are three problems which are completely interconnected, and each one cannot be resolved on its own. We’re speaking of illness, poverty and violence,” Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera López of Monterrey, president of the Mexican bishops’ conference, said in a Feb. 4 news conference.

“The conference’s project has coordinated so many people of goodwill and tried to incorporate all the country’s Caritas chapters, (so) we invite people to continue. We’ve asked for an open heart and outstretched hand, respect for all human beings and the firmness of our convictions,” Cabrera López continued.

“The COVID-19 crisis hasn’t ended. It’s a situation of prolonged difficulties, especially with health along with families’ economic circumstances and violence as well.”

The conference appeal came as the pandemic tightened its grip on Mexico. The death toll averaged more than 1,000 deceased daily during January, and glitches have marked its early vaccination campaigns.

The bishops’ conference has encouraged all Mexicans to be vaccinated. Archbishop Cabrera López said vaccinations should not be forced on those objecting, “but I hope people follow the example of Pope Francis.”

Caritas also issued an appeal for donations of oxygen tanks, as such devices have been in short supply, and the costs of purchasing renting medical equipment is out of reach for many families.