Archive for December, 2012

Catholic Charities Volunteers Visit Home-Bound Seniors to Provide Help

Friday, December 14th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities staff and volunteers continue to partner with parishes and communities to assist people affected by Sandy, identifying those who still need help throughout the Archdiocese. For example, the storm presented a particular hardship for home-bound seniors on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, leaving them not only stuck in their houses but all alone as well.

This weekend, Catholic Charities staff and volunteers will go door-to-door among several especially hard-hit buildings in the neighborhood to assess the needs of residents. In addition to handing out informational flyers, volunteers will check in on individuals and determine how many seniors are in need of help or company.

With the information they learn from residents, Catholic Charities will plan new programs to meet the long-term needs of Sandy survivors.

If you would like to volunteer for one of the ongoing opportunities, sign up on our volunteer website:

 

Sadness Tempered by Solidarity

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Sadness tempered by solidarity are sentiments Sherise Alleyne, Disaster Case Management Supervisor in Middletown, NY, says she senses most among Hurricane Sandy victims.  To bolster hurricane recovery efforts and team up with Catholic Charities Staten Island, she, along with dozens of fellow Catholic Charities NY staff and volunteers normally stationed north of Staten Island, make four-to-six-hour round trips from their offices to the flooded island.

“Shell shocked is an understatement,” she said describing disaster victims she has met at the Staten Island Disaster Recovery Center manned by staff from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Sunday.  “We’re working with people who suddenly have nothing; no home, no clothing, no food.”

A widow drenched in tears approached her recently.  The elderly woman, she said, just learned that the home she once shared with her husband who died five years ago — the same home he had grown up in and was filled with most of their memories – had been tagged “red” by inspectors, shorthand for beyond repair and scheduled for demolition.

Catholic Charities Staten Island has taken a leadership role partnering with first responders and nonprofit organizations to speed services and support to this widow and other residents devastated by the super storm. They provide everything from heaters, clothing and furniture vouchers, counseling, information and referral and volunteer help with removing water damaged sheet rock and insulation.

To make sure that displaced families can still celebrate the holiday season they also provide gifts and donated Kmart gift cards. Catholic Charities also created a volunteer framework so that residents can help residents, fostering the sense of community so crucial for the long recovery process.

“People need our help now more than ever,” Ms. Alleyne said after her most recent visit to Staten Island.  “They need to know the community is with them.”

Young Widow Lives for Her Newborn & Toddler

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Simone McCray with her two children

By Alice Kenny

Hours after learning of the death of her children’s father, Simone McCray said, she called his cellphone, thinking he might answer.

Once reality sank in, the hard part came. Mr. Williams had left behind a son, Micah, then just 3 months old, and a daughter, Leyoura, who was 4 and who would need to be told of her father’s death.

“Word had gotten back to our pastor,” Ms. McCray recalled. “He asked if I wanted him to be there when I told her. I said yes. So he came when she got out of school and he more or less told her. I could not. …”

Read their story published in The New York Times and learn how Catholic Charities affiliate Grace Institute stepped in to help.

Catholic Charities Piles Shopping Carts High at Second-Annual St. Nicholas of Westchester Shopping Day

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

 

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and Catholic Charities Board of Trustees member Susan Salice

By Alice Kenny

Equipped with wish lists from people in need, Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and Deputy Westchester County Executive Kevin Plunkett raced down K-Mart aisles at 399 Tarrytown Road in White Plains with staff, family, friends and volunteers today, December 11, at the second annual St. Nicholas of Westchester (SNOW) shopping day event spearheaded by Catholic Charities Board of Trustees member Susan Salice.
“How great it is to give up a couple hours to give people supplies they need to have a better holiday,” said Ms. Salice.

She joined the group as they piled shopping carts high with winter necessities – gloves, coats, boots and blankets — and household essentials to make sure families in need have a warm and happy Christmas.

While associated with Christmas, donations to the St. Nicholas Project named after the Bishop of Myra in the third century, help provide services  year round to people in need.  This year, Hurricane Sandy survivors are also included among those targeted for gifts of essential items purchased at the St. Nicholas of Westchester shopping day event.

“Hurricane Sandy put into perspective that we can quickly lose things we considered necessities of life,” said Karen Reynolds, Catholic Charities Regional Supervisor for Westchester County.  “This event around the holidays gives those who lost so much a sense of Christmas hope, that people care about them.”

Missed Shopping Day but still want to bring Christmas cheer to those in need?

Click here to discover more New York volunteer opportunities.

Click here to donate to this year-round project.

Seven for Sandy; Compassion Is Not Just a Word

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan receives hurricane-recovery donation from Sr. Margaret Anderson, O.P.

By Alice Kenny

Educators are inspiring students, children are inspiring parents and together through the “Seven for Sandy” hurricane recovery campaign begun at Academy of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School they are working to help those hardest hit by the super storm.

“The mission of our school is compassion,” said Sr. Margaret Anderson, OP, Executive Board President of Newburgh Ministry, an affiliate of Catholic Charities, and Director of Guidance at the high school in White Plains. “This is not just a word for our students. We provide ways for them to live it, to reach out to people and have it become a way of life.”

Sr. Margaret gave Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan a $500 check at the Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon held last week at the Waldorf=Astoria, a third installment of funds collected by the students.

The Catholic high school draws 387 students from Westchester, the Bronx and Putnam counties. A large percentage of them lived without heat, electricity and water for days or weeks after the hurricane whipped through New York on October 29. Yet none of them lost their homes.

They play sports, however, with many who did. The girls varsity soccer and volleyball teams had been scheduled for playoffs with Notre Dame Academy and St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School in Staten Island the week the storm touched down.

Their Seven-for Sandy campaign asks each student to contribute at least $7 to help Staten Island students in need. At the rescheduled playoff games, students gave the Staten Island high schools their first two installments of nearly $500 each plus donations of much needed toiletries and cleaning supplies. Good Counsel students also raised Staten Island students’ spirits – not intentionally, Sr. Margaret said – by losing both games.

Inspired by the students, the school’s parent association developed a Sandy recovery fundraiser as well.

“You think $7 isn’t going to do anything but if everyone puts $7 together it can do something,” said Academy of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School Principal Sr. Laura Donovan, RDC. “We want to be part of the action and inspire others to help.”

Would you like to help others recover?

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

Celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on JustLove, Sirius XM Channel 129

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on JustLove, the Catholic Charities radio program aired weekly on Sirius XM Channel 129.

He interviewed Sr. Mary Christine Athans, BVM, professor emerita at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, a Marian scholar and a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary who recently authored the upcoming book, In Quest of the Jewish Mary: The Mother of Jesus in History, Theology and Spirituality.  The last chapter of the book – available in March 2013 — includes reflections in Mary’s own voice, using Hebrew prayers and readings.

Also on this week’s show Tom Price, Senior Communications Manager at Catholic Relief Services, spoke about devastation Hurricane Sandy inflicted outside the tri-state area.

Listen to the show on JustLove.

Surviving a Stroke; Facing Eviction

Monday, December 10th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Marianela Toro always served as her family’s caregiver.  But when a massive stroke permanently paralyzed the left side of her body, the family she used to care for suddenly struggled to care for her.

Ms. Toro’s sister, Ana Ventura, earns less than $1,000 per month by bringing food carts to patients at Roosevelt Hospital.  She asks for overtime to help meet expenses.  Her son, Yadriel, 12, pitches in by buying chocolate bars in bulk and selling them to classmates.

Yet together, they were unable to pay their rent while caring for Ms. Toro, now wheelchair bound.

Click here  to read her story published in The New York Times and learn how Catholic Charities helped the family keep their home.

MBX Systems Sponsors Donation Drive for Hurricane Sandy Survivors

Monday, December 10th, 2012

By Chelsee Pengal

Parishes and communities within the Archdiocese of New York and beyond continue to show generosity toward their neighbors who are still rebuilding after Sandy. Donations from far and wide have helped with Catholic Charities’ disaster relief efforts, from funding emergency food and water for families and individuals on Staten Island and in Lower Manhattan to providing volunteers with supplies to clean out houses on Staten Island.

MBX Systems, a Libertyville, Illinois-based technology manufacturer, has set up a donation drive to benefit both Catholic Charities Community Services, Staten Island and Gerristen Beach Cares, Brooklyn.

They will be collecting items survivors need the most:

  • Muck-out and safety supplies, including industrial-contractor grade refuse bags, N95 face masks, fire extinguishers and smoke/CO2 detectors with batteries
  • Cleaning supplies like shovels, rakes, brooms, work gloves and disposable gloves
  • Toiletries and pharmaceuticals, including Tylenol and Advil
  • Baby supplies such as diapers, wipes and baby food and formula
  • Clothing, including hats, gloves and socks
  • Miscellaneous items, including can openers, batteries and disposable cameras with flash

In the Libertyville area, donations are being accepted at MBX headquarters Monday to Friday through December 12th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. A truck full of the supplies will then deliver the goods to Staten Island and Brooklyn on December 13th.

Whether you are in the New York area or across the country, you can contribute to the Sandy Relief Fund online or text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation. For those in the local area, you can also donate your time by volunteering to clean up houses or help with sheet rock and debris removal on Staten Island.


Tour of Sandy-Damaged Staten Island Community Helps Catholic Charities Provide Individual Assistance

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

After Sandy devastated the New York area, Father Robert Aufieri, pastor of Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, led Jeanne McGettigan, Catholic Charities Coordinator of Emergency Food Service, on a tour of the hard-hit South Beach area of Staten Island. During the visit, Ms. McGettigan and Father Aufieri viewed devastated houses and spoke with survivors to hear their stories first-hand. They also dropped off supplies to community members who desperately needed them.

“When you lose everything you don’t know where to start,” said Ms. Dunn, a parish volunteer who was staying with eight relatives and five animals after her own apartment was ruined by the storm.

Holy Rosary Church itself was undamaged and served as a hub for collecting and distributing donations throughout the community. With the help of Catholic Charities and generous parishioners, those who had lost everything were able to start rebuilding.

At the end of the parish visit, Ms. McGettigan had a list of items most needed by Sandy survivors, which she then shared with the rest of the organization. Catholic Charities staff and volunteers continue to work with parishes and communities on Staten Island and in Lower Manhattan to assess the changing needs as families and individuals work to recover.

Read more about the visit to South Beach.

To help with the ongoing needs of Sandy survivors:

Or, text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.

Meet Famed TV Chef Lidia Bastianich & Help Her Team Up with Catholic Charities to Benefit Hurricane Sandy Victims

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Photo Credit : Kim Navarre

By Alice Kenny

Lidia Bastianich, the famed television chef, cookbook writer and restaurateur – who was born in Pula, a city in Croatia that was then part of Italy – credits Catholic Charities for bringing her and her family from persecution to safety after World War II.

Now she is partnering with Catholic Charities to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

You can meet her and help Hurricane Sandy victims at her “Lidia’s Favorite Recipes” book signing at Shoprite, 2424 Hyland Boulevard, Staten Island, NY this Saturday, December 8 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

She will raffle ten gift baskets with 100-percent of the proceeds going to Catholic Charities’ Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts.  Gift baskets include three signed cookbooks — Lidia’s Favorite Recipes, Lidia’s Italy in America and Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy — along with Lidia’s Pasta & Sauce and Shoprite private label Italian products.

If you can’t attend the book signing but want to see the baskets and purchase $2 raffle tickets to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims, stop by the Hyland Blvd. Shoprite any time from now until the raffle is held on Sunday, December 9, 2012.

“The Catholic Charities brought us here to New York…we had no one,” Chef Lidia said during an ABC News Nightline interview. “They found a home for us. They found a job for my father. And ultimately we settled. And I am the perfect example that if you give somebody a chance, especially here in the United States, one can find the way.”