Archive for December, 2012

Providing Help and Creating Hope One House at a Time

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Damaged homes by Hurricane Sandy on Patterson Avenue Staten Island NYBy Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities volunteers Jim and Deborah Deats know firsthand of the destruction Sandy caused throughout New York.

While Deborah’s house is on a hill in Concord and escaped undamaged, when she witnessed the devastation across the island, she knew she had to do something. Immediately after the storm, she traveled by car to friends and families to offer help.

Deborah said she drove around “giving hugs, smiles, anything we could, just to tell these people that we’re here for them—that there is hope, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

Deborah’s father, Jim Deats, was in Florida at the time of the hurricane, but he drove up as soon as he could to offer help to the community on his native Staten Island. Teaming up with his daughter, he started volunteering with Catholic Charities to clean up houses on the island that had nearly been destroyed in the storm.

Working with Catholic Charities’ Staci Bruce and Damian Buzzerio, along with over 100 generous and devoted volunteers, Jim and Deborah have now cleaned up nine houses. After assessing what work needs to be done, Jim provides instructions for the volunteers, making sure everyone has a specific job. In addition to mucking out the houses, Deborah also visits with the residents and offers emotional support.

“One house at a time, one family at a time, we’ll get through it together,”Deborah said.

To hear more on how Catholic Charities volunteers give hope and strength to people who are rebuilding after Sandy, listen to Deborah and Jim Deats’ conversation with Monsignor Kevin Sullivan on JustLove.

How to Help New Yorkers in the New Year

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Thank you for everything you do throughout the year to help Catholic Charities provide help and create hope for New Yorkers.

When considering a year-end gift, it’s important to make sure your contribution will make an impact. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York has once again been recertified by the Better Business Bureau’s Charity Review Program, meaning its policies and procedures have been reviewed and meet the standards of the charitable accountability of the Better Business Bureau’s Philanthropic Advisory Service.

While Catholic Charities continues to help Sandy survivors, we need to remember the many others in New York who need help every day. Your 2012 tax-deductible gift can help Catholic Charities protect and nurture children; keep families housed and fed; help immigrants become part of their new home; allow persons with disabilities to find employment; provide necessities for New Yorkers in crisis.

There’s still time to help give families a good beginning for 2013. Donate today, or sign up to volunteer.

What are some ways you’re planning to help your neighbors in the new year?

Interfaith Hunger Summit Calls New Yorkers to Action to Fight Hunger

Friday, December 28th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

In New York City, one in five adults and one in four children don’t get enough food. On December 20th, the New York City Interfaith Hunger Summit brought together faith leaders, congregants and concerned New Yorkers from a diverse cross-section to discuss ways to take action to lessen hunger and poverty in our community.

Regardless of a person’s religion, our faith and beliefs call us to serve the poor and help our neighbors. The Interfaith Hunger Summit was organized to promote concrete solutions and develop a “call to action” which asked “elected officials to create jobs and reduce poverty, strengthen the social safety net, and make healthier food more available and affordable in low-income neighborhoods.”

Along with other faith leaders, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities New York, spoke at the summit. He discussed the importance of enabling people to have the food they need in their own homes, as well as the necessity and lasting effects of children under the age of three getting sufficient food.

While the summit was a start, Monsignor Sullivan noted that the conversation needs to expand to the rest of the community to promote meaningful action, and that food, not hunger, should become part of the debate.

To contribute to the Archdiocesan-wide campaign to replenish food pantries, donate to or volunteer for Feeding Our Neighbors and help ensure no hungry neighbor gets turned away.

Cardinal Visits RSHM Life Center; Brightens Christmas for Children in Need.

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan brightened the Christmas season for children, senior citizens,  women religious, board members and staff during his visit on December 19 to the RSHM Life Center in Sleepy Hollow, NY on December 19.

He stopped by the afterschool classrooms of students grades kindergarten through fifth grade, distributing gifts to nearly 100 children.

The RSHM Life Center, a Catholic Charities affiliate, was established in 1995 to respond to the needs of the immigrant population of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown in Westchester County.  The Center offers educational programs and social services to enable and empower low-income immigrants to acquire the skills and access the resources they need to improve their life situations.

Learn more about the RSHM Life Center.

Share the Christmas spirit with your neighbors in need.

Catholic Charities Partners With Project Hope to Help Sandy Survivors

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Last weekend, staff of Project Hope accompanied Catholic Charities staff and volunteers to the Lower East Side of Manhattan to help New Yorkers who had been affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The New York State Office of Mental Health Project Hope Crisis Counseling Program was created in November to help families, individuals and groups impacted by the storm, offering free supportive counseling and public education services. Project Hope’s confidential services promote resilience, empowerment and recovery.

On Saturday, Catholic Charities and Project Hope staff visited Baruch Houses to speak with residents and leave flyers in both Spanish and English for residents who weren’t at home. They provided information on Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Catholic Charities and other resources, including immigration services. Project Hope staff were available on the spot for those who requested additional counseling.

Collaborating with Project Hope to directly reach people in their own homes is one way Catholic Charities continues to work with parishes, communities and government agencies to get Sandy survivors the help they need. Learn more about Project Hope.

If you’d like to help families and individuals still recovering, text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.

Seventh Grade Student Helps Inspire New Yorkers to Feed the Hungry

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Congratulations to Syleste Alexander, a seventh grade student at St. Teresa’s School in Castleton Corners, Staten Island, who was the winner of the Catholic schools’ 2013 Feeding Our Neighbors art contest.

Ms. Alexander’s own experience in New York was the inspiration for her submission. Her winning entry is being used for this season’s campaign poster, featured at events around the Archdiocese and throughout the school system.

Feeding Our Neighbors, the Archdiocesan-wide campaign to feed the hungry, will take place January 27-February 3, 2013. Parishes, schools and groups around New York, including Theology on Tap, have already begun contributing to the collection, which will provide one million additional meals for needy New Yorkers during the cold winter season.

“When my family goes into the city, I see homeless people and everyone just walks by them,” Ms. Alexander said. “I always think to myself that if everyone could just give a dollar, it would make such a difference in their lives.”

Find out how you can contribute to Feeding Our Neighbors.

Thousands in Need Will Celebrate a Warm Holiday Thanks to St. Nicholas Shopping Day

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Catholic Charities Junior Board Co-Chair Stephanie Bagley shops with Cardinal Timothy Dolan

By Alice Kenny

More than 600 families in need, many of whom don’t have hats, gloves, coats and even blankets to call their own, will be able to celebrate a warm holiday thanks to the Catholic Charities St. Nicholas Project Kmart Shopping Day event at Kmart at Astor Place.

Armed with hand-tailored lists catered to the needs of individual families, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan joined Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, staff and volunteers on Saturday, December 15, 2012 to fill their shopping carts with winter necessities.

During the holiday, the St. Nicholas Project, supported by donations and volunteers from Catholic Charities, provides individuals and families in need with gifts of necessity including warm clothes and household supplies. Caseworkers aid the same individuals throughout the year, providing help and creating hope for New Yorkers from Ulster County to Staten Island through job training, English as a Second Language classes, computer literacy classes, food from Catholic Charities’ many food pantries, and school supplies.

Shopping Day taps into the holiday spirit by providing an opportunity for those from various walks of life to come together to provide gifts for those in need. Approximately 400 volunteers partnered with Catholic Charities. They included individuals and members from corporate and college groups such as Deloitte & Touche LLP, TIAA-CREF, the Junior League, Fordham University, Manhattan College, the Catholic University of America, University of Notre Dame and College of Holy Cross.

Kmart employees, including Store Manager Robert Rothermel and District Manager Stephen Offutt, provided coffee, hot chocolate and donuts for volunteers when they arrived.Volunteers lunched on pizza and soda thanks to the generosity of Famous Famiglia and the Kolaj Family. Paul Kolaj is a member of the Catholic Charities Board of Trustees. And Georgetown Cupcakes donated their special dessert.

Hurricane Sandy Volunteer Roundup

Monday, December 17th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

During this busy and blessed holiday season we want to express our gratitude for taking time out to help Hurricane Sandy survivors.

A big thank you to all who signed up with Catholic Charities to volunteer with hurricane recovery efforts:

  • 500 people already signed up to help
  • 190 volunteers are recorded, active volunteers
  • 15 different volunteer opportunities are currently available.
    Check them out.

Looking for ways to help but have limited time?  Catholic Charities’ Volunteer Coordinator pulled together this list of items in demand:

  • Power Washer
  •  Masks
  • Flashlights
  • Sheet rock
  •  Joint Tape
  • Joint Compound
  • Insulation
  • Home Depot gift cards

For drop-off locations, contact us at cccontactus@archny.org.

Join our team.

  •  Visit our volunteer website. Your time can make all the difference for your neighbors in need.
  • Text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.

Beacon of Hope House Christmas Party Brings Holiday Cheer

Friday, December 14th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

On December 4th, 2012, Beacon of Hope House held their annual Christmas party at the Church of the Epiphany in Manhattan. Over 160 people attended for an evening of holiday celebration.

Catholic Charities staff and volunteers helped set up the party, serve food and drinks and organize a raffle for party attendees. The creative raffle baskets handed out to lucky winners included supplies for a movie night, a spa basket and a healthy eating kit.

In addition to Beacon residents, among the guests in attendance were Executive Director of Catholic Charities Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, who gave the blessing, and Catholic Charities Community Services Board Member John Baldante.

Guests spent the night dancing to Latin music and savoring delicious food. They also had their pictures taken with friends and received a picture frame along with it as a party favor. Denise Bauer, Director of Beacon of Hope House, noted how much the guests enjoyed the chance to be photographed with their friends and how much they appreciated the special keepsake.

Beacon of Hope House operates residences and an employment Clubhouse in the Bronx and on Staten Island for over 430 individuals with mental illnesses.

To volunteer for upcoming opportunities to spread holiday cheer and help those in need, sign up on our volunteer website.

CYO Tips Off Another Win

Friday, December 14th, 2012

CYO Tips Off Another Win

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities CYO basketball is tipping off another win. Enrollment is up for the 2012-2013 girls and boys basketball season, says CYO Director Edwin Broderick.

The teams provide exercise, a healthy recreational outlet, guidance and a sense of community for children and teenagers throughout the more than 4,000-square mile Archdiocese of New York.

Here are some numbers to cheer:

  •  1600 teams throughout the
    Archdiocese of New York
  • 637 teams in Westchester County
  •  403 teams in Staten Island
  •  251 teams in Rockland County
  •   82 teams in Orange County
  •   49 teams in Ulster County
  •   37 teams in Dutchess County

“Our success  and growth would not be possible without the dedication and  support of our 4,000 volunteers, the hard work of our county  directors and the leadership and support of Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Sullivan and Catholic Charities Community Services Executive Director  Beatriz  Diaz  Taveras,” Mr. Broderick said.

Would you like to become a coach or sign up your child for a team?  Contact your local parish or call Catholic Charities CYO at 646-794-3619.