Archive for November, 2012

Beaten, Blinded and Homeless, Young Man Rebuilds Life

Friday, November 16th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Carlos Castro does not remember the last thing he saw before losing consciousness on March 7, 2003. He collapsed onto a sidewalk in Flushing, Queens, after one of the five attackers he had been fleeing stabbed him in his chest, shoulder and stomach.

But the memory of what Mr. Castro, then 16, first glimpsed when his eyes opened next is indelible. “It was black,” he said. “I had no sight.”

Click here to read about his struggle to recover his sight and care for his elderly mother and the crucial help he received from Catholic Charities Guild for the Blind.

People come to Catholic Charities to learn what can be done fast and what can be done now.

Friday, November 16th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

More than 400,000 people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy are lining up for help with the federal FEMA program, the local New York City Rapid Repair program and other first responders.  They come to Catholic Charities to find out what can be done fast and what can be done now, said Michelle LaVignera, director of Staten Island Social Services for Catholic Charities, who, along with staff and volunteers, is helping them navigate the process.

In Staten Island, one of the hardest-hit areas by the super storm, Catholic Charities set up an information booth at the New York City Restoration Center at 1976 Highland Blvd, a main hub established so that hurricane victims can get services and support from first responders at a single site.

Catholic Charities is also offering food and supplies through its mobile food pantry and information and support at the Staten Island Catholic Charities agency MIV / Mt. Loreto.  And now, as temperatures drop and mold becomes an increasing concern, Catholic Charities is obtaining infrared heaters to distribute among those in need.

“Our main focus now is serving people in crisis,” Ms. LaVignera said.  “But we are also planning for the future.  Since we are an agency with locations in Staten Island we will be here long term.”

Seeking Insight and Inspiration After the Turmoil Inflicted by Hurricane Sandy? Read this message from Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan.

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

“The bad news is that the extent of the destruction from the storm seems wider and deeper each day,” Cardinal Dolan wrote in his November 13 blog post.

“…The good news is that God’s people – you – rose to the occasion…Catholic Charities of the archdiocese has been on the front lines, providing not only relief, but coordination of aid, helping as well to renew the spirit by providing counselors for those hit hard by loss.”

Click here to read Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan’s full message.


Do you need help?

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.


Catholic Charities Fans Out to Help New Yorkers in Need

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities staff and volunteers fanned out this weekend across neighborhoods still reeling from the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. They provided information and resources to parishioners at churches in hard-hit neighborhoods in lower Manhattan and Staten Island and offered hands-on support to those still staggering in the hurricane’s aftermath.

Generous donations, large and small, have bolstered our response. Actress Kirstie Alley sent a truckload of goods from the West Coast to the gym at the Staten Island Catholic Charities agency MIV / Mt. Loreto last Friday that are being distributed to impacted families. The following day, Catholic Community Services of Rockland staff and volunteers received much-needed donations of water from Coca-Cola at their Haverstraw emergency food pantry.

Join us to help New Yorkers in need.

  • Click here to make a donation.
  • Text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.
  • Click here to volunteer

Pregnant and Homeless, Teenage Mom Finds Help. Read her story in The New York Times.

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

The New York Times Neediest Cases Campaign kicked off its 101st year of profiling the people Catholic Charities serves.

Lataja James, 18, for example, planned to attend an all-expense-paid volunteer program in Nicaragua the summer before her senior year of high school.  But when she went to her doctor for the required vaccinations, a simple blood test revealed that she was pregnant.

The following day, Lataja’s mother bought her a suitcase.  But it was not for the trip Lataja had planned.

“‘I don’t know where you’re going,'” Lataja recalls her mother saying, “‘but you’re going to get out of my house.'”

Click here to read about the home and help Lataja found at Catholic Charities affiliate Elinor Martin Residence for Mother and Child in New Rochelle, NY and the future she and her baby son, Dillyn, have begun to build.

Hurricane Sandy turned lives upside down. Catholic Charities is helping return them back to normal.

Monday, November 12th, 2012

“A young mother came in yesterday … telling us that her bank account was depleted, she lost everything,” said Karen Reynolds, Catholic Charities regional supervisor for Westchester County, as she offered Catholic Charities service and support on November 9, 2012 at the newly opened Hurricane Sandy Recovery Center in White Plains.

Click here to watch her New York Newsday interview
Click here for more information and resources.

Recovering from Hurricane Sandy and looking for information and support?

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities staff will be available today, Sunday, November 11, 2012, to meet with parishioners and share resource information after mass at the following churches located in neighborhoods hard-hit by the hurricane:

In Manhattan:

  • Epiphany Church, 239 East 21st Street
  • Immaculate Conception Church, 414 East 14th Street
  • Our Lady of Sorrows. Address: 213 Stanton St. (@ Pitt St.)
  • Saint Peter’s,  22 Barclay Street (near the World Trade Center)
  • Saint Peter’s Chapel,  385 South End Avenue
  • Saint Anthony of Padua, 154 Sullivan St.
  • Saint Theresa, 141 Henry St.
  • Nativity, 44 2nd Ave. between 2nd and 3rd Streets

In Staten Island:

  • Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish 90 Third Street (New Dorp, S.I.)
  • St Ann Parish 101 Cromwell Ave. (Dongan Hills, S.I.)

For more information and resources:

  • Call Catholic Charities Toll-free Helpline:  (888) 744-7900
  • Click here for additional information

Would you like to help others recover?

  •  Click here to make a donation.
  • Text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.
  • Click here to volunteer


Live in Westchester County and Hurt by Hurricane Sandy? Check Out the County’s New Recovery Center and These Tips for Help

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Karen Reynolds and Msgr. Kevin Sullivan help open Hurricane Sandy recovery center.

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities, a partner in the Westchester County Long-term Recovery Coalition, took a lead role in opening a multi-purpose Hurricane Sandy recovery center in White Plains yesterday, November 8.

“We developed a strong working relationship with the county department of social services and other first responders after Hurricane Irene hit our area last year,” said Karen Reynolds, Catholic Charities regional supervisor for Westchester County who is helping organize the emergency command center. “Our goal is to help people with basic human needs and restore normalcy to their lives.”

President Obama declared Westchester County a disaster area after the hurricane hit, making residents eligible to apply for disaster aid.

More than sixteen thousand Westchester residents remain without power 12 days since Hurricane Sandy slammed through the region.  Thousands more are trying to reestablish their lives as they sift through damaged homes and search for new jobs after the businesses were destroyed.

You have questions?  We have answers:

Where is the Recovery Center located?

  • The Westchester County Center,  198 Central Ave. in White Plains

When is it open?

  • Seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

What about parking?

  • Parking fees at the County Center have been waived.

Who is there and how can they help?

  • Catholic Charities and other social service agencies to provide residents with recovery assistance.
  • Con Edison to answer customer questions about outages and restorations
  • FEMA to help individuals and households apply for financial aid for losses and damages caused by the storm.
  • The Small Business Administration, which will help businesses apply for low-interest loans for storm-related damages.
  • The Department of Health, which will be giving free tetanus shots to anyone involved with the cleanup at the County Center on Friday, November 9- Sunday, November 11, 2012.

What documents are needed?

  • Social Security number (including that of a spouse, if applicable
  •  Private insurance information
  •  Address and zip code of damaged property
  • Directions to the damaged home or property
  • Daytime telephone number
  • Address where mail can be sent
  • Documentation of losses including photographs and repair receipts

Is it necessary to go in person to register with FEMA?

  • No.  FEMA strongly advises that people register in advance of visiting the disaster center by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or logging in at  Those with speech or heating disabilities can use the TTY number at 800 462 7585 .  FEMA representatives are simply there to help residents with the process.

Catholic Charities, a lead member of Westchester County Long Term Recovery Coalition, helped frame the group’s mission to foster partnerships between community organizations and government agencies to help the most vulnerable, minimize duplication of services and utilize resources through referral, advocacy, education and direct aid to residents in need.


Check out Fox 5 News live interview with Catholic Charities Executive Director and Find Out How You Can Help Victims of Hurricane Sandy

Friday, November 9th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

New Yorkers bearing bags filled with donations for Hurricane Sandy victims, 18-wheeler Coca Cola and Duane Reide delivery trucks and four-door cars stuffed with cleaning supplies lined up outside Fox News at 205 East 67 Street this morning.

They came from across the nation and across the block to contribute to the Fox News Good Day Cares partnership with Catholic Charities to help people whose lives have been devastated by  the super storm.

Staff and volunteers formed conga lines to load donations on to Catholic Charities trucks that will bring these vital goods to neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm.

“We’re a hurting city; we’re a helping city but we’re bringing hope to people,” said Catholic Charities NY Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan during his interview this morning on Fox News.  “We’re going to make lives better and we thank you for your help.”

Click here to watch his interview and get a list of needed supplies.


Do you need help?

  • Call Catholic Charities Toll-free Helpline: (888) 744-7900.
  • Click here for more resources and information


Would you like to help others recover?

  • Click here to make a donation.
  • Text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.
  • Click here to volunteer

Fox 5’s Good Day Cares Partners with Catholic Charities to Help Victims of Hurricane Sandy

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Fox 5’s Good Day Cares is partnering with the Catholic Charities of New York to help people whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Good Day New York is hosting a drive outside the Fox 5 building on Friday, Nov 9th beginning at 7 a.m.

A Catholic Charities truck will be parked outside of 205 E. 67th St. on the Upper East Side.  Good Day Cares is asking members of the community, as well as corporations, to donate needed supplies.

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan from Catholic Charities will be interviewed on Good Day New York throughout the morning.

Want to help?  Click here to learn more and check out a list of needed supplies.