Volunteers Rally to Shop for Those in Need

December 19th, 2014



Over 500 volunteers teamed with Catholic Charities’ Junior Board and staff to purchase over $100,000 worth of basic necessities for more than 3,000 needy New Yorkers at K-mart in lower Manhattan during the agency’s annual St. Nicholas Project Shopping Day.

Cheered by Christmas music sung from store speakers, volunteer shoppers checked personalized lists to fill their carts with winter items including coats, hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters, pajamas and blankets to stay warm.

“Today is one of the most joyful of the Catholic Charities activities of the year,” Msgr. Sullivan said.

The St. Nicholas Project, supported by donations and volunteers from Catholic Charities, provides individuals and families in need with gifts of necessity including winter clothing and household supplies.  This support continues throughout the year thanks to Catholic Charities caseworkers who aid the same individuals through job training and classes, immigration assistance, food from Catholic Charities’ many food pantries and support for children, adults, the elderly and those with special needs.

Looking for friends, family and fellow volunteers?

Check out this Facebook photo album.

URGENT – Your Help Is Needed This Christmas

December 18th, 2014

dolan-shoppingdayWe’re shopping now for those in need. Will you help this Christmas ?

Every year, Catholic Charities sponsors the St. Nicholas Project – providing warm coats, hats, sweaters and blankets for children and families in need. Our volunteers are out there shopping now – and we need your help.

Your donation of $65 helps us shop for one child – $260 will help a family of four. So many are experiencing economic hardship this year. We’re counting on you to make a difference.

This Christmas, please help us keep children warm.

Celebrate Christmas Now

December 17th, 2014

christmas volunteerLooking for a great way to kick off the Christmas season? Check out these volunteer opportunities. They extend from the Lower East Side all the way up to Yonkers and include helping with holiday parties, wrapping gifts and painting faces. Find the holiday volunteer opportunity tailored just for you.


Christmas Party Volunteers  
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Friday, Dec 19th 5-8:00 PM
(South) Bronx, NY 10454

Carolers for Christmas Party 
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Friday, Dec 19th 5-8:00 PM
(South) Bronx, NY 10454

Wrapping Gifts
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Tuesday, Dec 23 various times
East Harlem

Three Kings Day Party
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Sunday, Jan 4
Yonkers, NY
Annual Children’s Party
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Sunday Jan 11, 2:30 pm
Lower East Side, NYC 10009
Balloon Artist/Face Painter
Learn More
Sunday, Jan 11th, 2:30-6 PM
Lower East Side, NYC 10009

For Young & Rubicam Volunteers: Four Days, Four Catholic Charities Programs & a Big Difference Made

December 16th, 2014

In a single week last month 31 volunteers from Young & Rubicam spent 146 hours over four days in four different locations to help Catholic Charities and our affiliated agencies improve the lives and environments of those we serve.

At Incarnation Center on Audubon Avenue in Washington Heights, at Our Lady of Sorrows Food Pantry on the Lower East Side, at Catholic Guardian Services on Grand Concourse  in the Bronx and at our own building at 1011 First Avenue in Midtown East, the Young & Rubicam volunteers showed their spirited enthusiasm to help in diverse tasks and locations throughout the city.

Would you like to volunteer?

Join us now during the holiday season and throughout the year.

Find a volunteer opportunity just right for you.

Stoking Her Children’s Creative Fires, and Struggling to Stay Warm

December 15th, 2014

photo 4Natasha Mohammed pulled from the oven in her West Harlem home a piping tray of cakes baked with oatmeal and coconut from her own recipe. The youngest of her seven children, Jahanna, 15, costumed in her mother’s old polka-dot dress, walked a plate of the cakes into the living room, where they were set upon by her sisters, Leah, 17, and Hannah, 19.

In addition to love, food and plans for the future, the family now has another essential — heat.

Last winter, Ms. Mohammed struggled to pay her heating bill. At times, she fought the chill with two electric heaters and her oven.

“I had to prioritize what bills to pay,” Ms. Mohammed, 52, said. “We were cold, we were extremely cold.”

Ms. Mohammed sought out Catholic Big Brothers and Big Sisters (an affiliate of Catholic Charities) to pair her three youngest daughters with mentors because their fathers were largely absent.

When a caseworker learned of Ms. Mohammed’s struggle to heat her home, she secured $270 from the fund to pay the electric bills.

With her unpaid bills taken care of,she can now focus solely on her children. And on new recipes, which she hopes will lead to another job.

“Going forward it’s about my kids,” she said. “Making sure they live up to their potential and their opportunities.”

Read the full New York Times story now.

Help us help our fellow New Yorkers.

Catholic Charities’ Mario Russell Speaks About Immigration on NPR Radio

December 12th, 2014

“Crossing the U.S. Mexican border is a harrowing journey for many Central Americans,” reports Alexandra Starr on National Public Radio (NPR).

“More than 57,000 child migrants made that trip this year and many reported being physically and sexually abused.”

The State Department launched a program this month that creates a safe passage to the United States from Central America. It would give some U.S.-based Latino parents the chance to bring over children they left in their home countries…

Parents who want their children to interview to come to the U.S. will have to submit the requests through organizations like Catholic Charities.

Mario Russell, with Catholic Charities in New York, says he thinks this new program acknowledges how bad things are in some Central American countries.

“The old models, I think, by which families were divided, that is to say that some children stayed in the home country were raised by a grandparent, just don’t work anymore because the conditions have become really unsustainable, and that’s why I think they’re leaving in large measure,” Russell says.

Listen to the full program on NPR.

Day Laborer Holiday Celebration

December 11th, 2014

poasadasMembers of Obreros Unidos, day laborers and their families served by Catholic Charities in Yonkers have begun Posadas, a Mexican Christmas season tradition that dramatizes the search of Joseph and Mary for lodging. They were joined this year by six monks from the Franciscan Friars of Renewal, three seminarians and a host of others including the Fátima choir from St. Peter Church.

So many joined along because they wanted to mark this special time for these laboring men and their families who, during the frigid winter and all year round, wait on street corners hoping for work.  During this holiday they talk, sing and pray as they carry a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe from home to home. Nine families chosen to host the statue place it on uniquely decorated alters.  After that, they share personal prayers, the Holy Spirit and a welcome for their fellow travelers.

During the feast, they share a little about their current hardships, challenges, and hopes for the future. This process continues night after night until December 12, the date the Virgin of Guadalupe is commemorated and put to rest at St. Peters Parish.

“The goal of the Posadas, aside from the commemoration and ability to celebrate a tradition, was to create another environment where workers could unite, share their beliefs, and discuss their challenges,” says Catholic Charities Day Laborer Organizer Janet Hernández.

Volunteers Buy Holiday Gifts for Needy

December 10th, 2014

Dozens of volunteers gathered Saturday (December 6, 2014) to shop for holiday gifts for the needy.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York held its annual Westchester Shopping Day at the Kmart in White Plains, reports News 12 Westchester.

Volunteers stocked up on hats, gloves, coats, boots and more to donate to needy families throughout the county.

The volunteers’ shopping lists are based on specific family profiles and bought with donations previously made to Catholic Charities’ St. Nicholas Project.

Watch this News12 exclusive here – and log in with your Optimum ID  or sign up if you are a Time Warner, Comcast or Service Electric customer.

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Join us – live – this Saturday for the Big Bonanza – Shopping Day at Kmart in downtown Manhattan.

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Luncheon Unites 1,000; Kicks Off Christmas Season

December 9th, 2014


More than 1,000 people attended the 69th Annual Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City on December 8, 2014. This famed holiday affair draws generous New Yorkers to benefit women and children served by the agencies and programs affiliated with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

The event, sponsored by Catholic Charities and the Ladies of Charity and hosted by His Eminence, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, raised nearly $900,000. Author Mary Higgins Clark chaired the lunch. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities offered the Invocation.

As Honorary Luncheon Chairman, Cardinal Dolan along with Nancy Waters of the Ladies of Charity presented Ana Laffont with the “Christmas Angel” award. The annual award honors individuals that manifest generosity of spirit evidenced through compassionate outreach to those in need. Ms. Laffont serves as Chair of the Board for Mary’s Meals USA, a non-profit organization that provides meals for poverty-stricken children from around the world.

Also honored were Robert and Joyce Giuffra with the Spirit of St. Nicholas Award. This award is presented annually to individuals who have brought the light and hope of the Christmas season into the lives of those who too often go without them, not just during the holiday, but all year long. The Giuffra’s join a roster of other inspired and committed New Yorker’s who have received this honor. Joyce was former press secretary to Senator Bob Dole and Bob is a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. They and their 3 children are members of St. Thomas More parish.

“Standing here, I can’t help but think about the sacrifices of my grandparents, the long hours they worked, the fears they had to overcome,” Mr. Giuffra said as he accepted the award. “Thanks to the work of Catholic Charities, today’s immigrants have a home in America…My grandmother was a fierce believer in the awesome power of Catholic charity. Thank you all so much.”

The afternoon event, filled with carols sung by professionals, children and guests, provided the perfect kick-off for the Christmas season. Noted Mezzo-Soprano Isabel Leonard from the Metropolitan Opera performed. Our Lady of Pompeii Children’s Choir sang “Silent Night” with guests as they entered and exited the luncheon. And students from Saint John Chrysostom performed the Christmas tableau while Cardinal Dolan narrated the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. Martha MacCallum, Co-anchor America’s Newsroom, (FOX News Channel), tied it all together as the event’s emcee.

The annual holiday event raises funds for Catholic Charities to support programs that help thousands of needy women and children of all religions throughout the 10 counties of the Archdiocese.

Looking for inspiration?  Read Msgr. Sullivan’s invocation. 

Check out this Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon slideshow on FaceBook. 

Have Questions About Immigration Reform?

December 9th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

With tempers flaring and others cheering President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform, online commentator Joe Torres dedicated an entire WABC 7 Tiempo show to explain the action’s ins and outs.

To help break it down, he turned to Catholic Charities Community Services Executive Director Beatriz Diaz Taveras and fellow experts during this recent Sunday televised round-table discussion.

The executive action grants special legal status to up to five million immigrants.

The order protects from deportation mostly parents of children born in the United States who

  • Have lived here for 5 years or more
  • Pay a $500 fee
  • Have no criminal record

“This is a humanitarian effort and its really keeping families together,” Ms. Taveras tells Torres.“It’s keeping those United States citizen children and lawful permanent resident children with their parents. …I really think we have to focus on the families as a whole unit and keep the families together and that is exactly what this executive action does.”

Do you have questions about immigration reform?

Call Catholic Charities-administered New York State Immigration Hotline at 800-566-7636.