Archive for November, 2012

Waves Pounded the Block as Roseann Harris and Her Children Escaped Hurricane Sandy.

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Waves of water pounded down both ends of the block when Roseann Harris, and her children, Richard, Robert and Rachel, floored the gas pedal on their cars to make their escape from Hurricane Sandy.  When they returned the next day, they found their once-cozy, blue-sided home in to New Dorp, Staten Island ravaged by the super storm.  Their son’s bedroom, family room, and laundry room in their once-finished basement were submerged from floor to ceiling.  The force of the rapids turned over their washing machine.  Walls were ripped off and windows broken. Ceiling tiles floated alongside baby photos and grandma’s china.  Along the street, ocean reeds a half-foot deep mingled with garbage and memories.

“I went to St. Charles Church on Sunday and heard Monsignor read the names of people who died during the storm,” Ms. Harris recalled, “and I said ‘I’m okay.  I’m okay.’  My children are here.  My house is destroyed but we can rebuild.”

And rebuild, thanks to friends, family, and volunteers from her sons’ high school, St. Joseph by-the-Sea, is what they are doing.  Within a half hour of learning what happened to the Harris home, football players from her sons’ past and present high school teams showed up with coaches, a generator, gas, clean water and tools.  They gutted the basement and began to rebuild.

“Our church always says we’re family,” Ms. Harris said.  “It’s more than just words.  It’s action.”

From Budgeting to Business Help, Catholic Charities Connects Sandy Victims to Local Resources

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

By Alice Kenny

At the NYC Restoration Center on Staten Island, there are several social service providers available to offer assistance and information to victims of Hurricane Sandy. As the only Staten Island-based provider at the center, Catholic Charities plays an essential role in helping people get the information they need because its case workers are especially knowledgeable about local resources.

The areas of service Catholic Charities covers at the center are varied. Counselors connect people to local organizations and community resources and help them understand and access public benefits. They also offer budget counseling to those who are starting over and need to figure out how to manage their finances in a situation they hadn’t planned for. In addition to helping people navigate the complex processes of filing for service from FEMA and Rapid Repairs, case workers help business owners apply for assistance from the Small Business Administration.

For those who would simply like to tell their stories to an empathetic listener, counselors are also on hand to comfort victims.

To contribute to ongoing recovery efforts:

Text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.

Thanksgiving Dinner for Those in Need: The More the Merrier.

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Temperatures are dropping; thousands remain homeless and recovery needs from Hurricane Sandy are changing by the day.

“Our main concern now is the weather getting cold again, “says Michael Neely, assistant to the director of Catholic Charities Staten Island.  “We need to help people get through the week and somehow have a Thanksgiving to celebrate.”

So Catholic Charities CYO Center, in partnership with Our Lady Help of Christians Church, Project Hospitality, El Centro Del Inmigrante and the Hispanic Federation, are preparing a free Thanksgiving dinner celebration today for hundreds of persons in need at the CYO Center, 120 Anderson Ave.  Doors open at 11 a.m. The multi-course dinner includes everything from turkey and stuffing to deserts and gifts for children.  Perhaps, best of all, it offers a warm place to celebrate.

“The more the merrier,” Mr. Neely said.

Hurt by the storm? 

If you need help and don’t know where to turn, call our toll-free number, (888) 744 – 7900, and we will guide you through the recovery process.

Click here to learn more.

Would you like to help others recover?

Text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation

This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Your Time

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

By Chelsee Pengal

With Thanksgiving upon us and Christmas arriving soon, many people’s thoughts turn to giving. While there are countless material items available for purchase, one present that lasts long after the holidays is the gift of your time. Catholic Charities has multiple volunteer opportunities that allow you to dedicate your talents to helping needy New Yorkers.

Some of the ways you can get involved include:

To sign up for these and many other volunteering options, visit our volunteer website. Your time can make all the difference for your neighbors in need this holiday season.

Torture Survivor Rebuilds Life

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Ahamed Idrissou was imprisoned for five weeks in Togo, a military dictatorship in Africa.  He was beaten and humiliated; some of his teeth were pulled out.

With help from Catholic Charities, he gained asylee status in the United States and brought his family to safety.

Now, donning a sun-yellow City Sights jacket, he stands at Times Square street corners in the sun, rain and snow hawking tickets for tourist bus rides to feed his family.

Click here to read his story published in The New York Times and learn about crucial intervention he received from Catholic Charities.

 

Day Laborers help Hurricane Sandy Victims

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Fifteen volunteers from Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of day laborers in the Yonkers area served by Catholic Charities, accompanied Catholic Charities staff on Sunday, November 18, to help people in the New Dorp neighborhood in a Staten Island whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.  Donning work gloves and masks they responded to requests, moving from house to house to break down walls, remove crumbling sheet rock and pull out destroyed furniture.

Catholic Charities has an ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area. Through this program, Catholic Charities educates workers on employment rights and responsibilities in order to prevent exploitation and abuse. Catholic Charities also assists in the collection of unpaid wages, helps workers get access to healthcare services, provides emergency food, and offers English language and computer skills instruction.

Cardinal Dolan Leads Catholic Charities Annual Distribution of Thanksgiving Meals

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

In the midst of Catholic Charities’ efforts to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy and left without adequate food or shelter, Catholic Charities continues to meet the basic human needs of thousands of New Yorkers. On November 20, 2012, Timothy Cardinal Dolan led the annual Catholic Charities distribution of Thanksgiving meals to more than 400 needy New Yorkers at the Kennedy Center in Harlem.

“We don’t ask people what their creed is,” Cardinal Dolan said. “We don’t ask people where they come from. We love everyone and we open our doors to them–there’s always another chair at the table.”

Calling attention to the plight of the hungry throughout the year, Cardinal Dolan also announced the 2013 Feeding Our Neighbors campaign to replenish New York’s stretched food pantries and soup kitchens.

This year, UJA-Federation of New York will join with Catholic Charities to make Feeding Our Neighbors 2013 an interfaith campaign on behalf of New York’s hungry.  John S. Ruskay, Executive Vice President and CEO of UJA-Federation of New York, joined Cardinal Dolan and Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, for this announcement.

During the Thanksgiving season and beyond, we remember New Yorkers who must turn to food pantries, soup kitchens and senior center meal programs in order to sustain themselves. To contribute to this year’s Feeding Our Neighbors campaign:

  • Donate to the campaign online by specifying “Feeding Our Neighbors” in the comments field
  • Contribute food
  • Volunteer at a food pantry
  • Text CCHOPE to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation to the Feeding Our Neighbors campaign

Manning the frontlines; Catholic Charities takes the forefront of Hurricane Sandy Relief

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg shakes hands with Catholic Charities Staten Island Director Michelle LaVignera at the Staten Island Restoration Center.

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities is manning the frontlines, going door to door and staffing newly established restoration centers to help those hurt by Hurricane Sandy.

Staff are assisting at the New York City Restoration Centers now open every day, Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., in neighborhoods hardest hit by the super storm.  The Centers provide a single site to gather information, referral and support from government programs such as FEMA, private programs such as homeowners insurance and nonprofit and volunteer services.

Catholic Charities staff and volunteers have also mobilized to canvas the needs of homeowners struggling in neighborhoods hardest hit by the super storm.  This past weekend volunteers fanned out throughout Midland Beach in Staten Island, knocked on residents’ doors, assessed needs, and brought food, water, and other supplies from the Catholic Charities donation and distribution outpost established at the Disaster Assistance Service Center at the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin (MIV) Mount Loreto in Staten Island.

We are here to serve the multiple needs of everyone in the community, non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

We are here now and we will be here for the long term.

Do you need help?

Come to our new Disaster Relief Site:

1976 Hylan Blvd

Staten Island 10306

Call Catholic Charities Toll-free Helpline: (888) 744-7900

Click here for more resources and information

Would you like to help others recover?

Text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation


Cardinal Dolan Visits Sandy Recovery Centers on Staten Island as Archdiocese Continues Sandy Relief Efforts

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Nearly three weeks after Sandy left the New York area, victims are still struggling to rebuild their lives. On Saturday, November 17th, Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities New York, visited disaster recovery sites and Holy Rosary Parish on Staten Island to continue assessing ongoing needs and providing help to individuals and families.

Mount Manresa, a temporary housing facility for Sandy victims, is currently housing 30 families who lost their homes. At FEMA’s NYC Restoration Center on Hylan Boulevard, Catholic Charities workers are staffing the case management service at the center.

Catholic Charities, in conjunction with parishes and communities, will continue assisting Sandy victims with everything from the basics like food and clothing to long-term services such as counseling and legal assistance.

“We know that it will take time for people to be able to put all of the pieces of their lives back together, but the Church – our parishes, Catholic Charities, the Al Smith Foundation, and so many dedicated volunteers – will be there with them every step of the way,” Cardinal Dolan said. “I am particularly grateful to those who contributed to our Sandy relief fund, because that will enable us to provide direct assistance to those who need it most right now.”

The Sandy Relief Fund, which has so far raised close to $1 million for relief efforts, is being distributed to the parishes so pastors can put the money directly into immediate services the nearly 1000 families and individuals need.

If you’d like to contribute to the ongoing relief efforts:

Text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation

Chased from their homes by Hurricane Sandy, families find shelter and safety.

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

A father whose home in Midland Beach was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy sat in the main lounge of Mt. Manresa Jesuit Retreat House’s in Staten Island on November 7, the night of the nor’easter, watching out the window as his young daughter laughed and made snowmen with other children.  Just over one week earlier, the dad huddled on his roof with his three young children while storm winds whipped around them and waves lapped their feet.

”I’m so glad she can be out here and all she’s thinking about is snow balls and snow men and going to school tomorrow,” he told the retreat house Executive Director Fred Herron.

Thirty-one families chased from their homes in Midland Beach, Staten Island, one of the neighborhood hardest hit by the super storm, have found shelter and safety at Mt. Manresa, the oldest retreat house for laity in the United States.

“People say to me that ‘I’m not Catholic but I feel special here; I feel safe here,’” Mr. Herron told Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan on JustLove, Catholic Charities weekly radio program. Listen to their conversation aired today, November 17, on Sirius XM Channel 129.