Archive for December, 2012

Christmas Luncheon Raises More Than $600,000 for Women and Children in Need

Friday, December 7th, 2012

The Ladies of Charity in collaboration with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York hosted the 67th Annual Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon on December 6th raising more than $600,000 to support women and children in need whom Catholic Charities serves throughout the Archdiocese of New York.

Nearly 800 guests attended the luncheon, which was held at The Waldorf=Astoria.

Carla Harris was honored with the Christmas Angel Award, celebrating her service to those in need.  Ms. Harris leads a long and distinguished career as Managing Director in the Institutional Advisory Group at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, as chair of the board of the Morgan Stanley Foundation and as a well-known philanthropist.  She was named to Fortune Magazine’s list of “The Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America”, U.S. Bankers Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance (2009, 2010, 2011), Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business (2010) and has received numerous other awards and distinctions.

“I’m a 25-year veteran of Wall Street; I believe in returns” she told the audience.  “There is no greater return that you can receive than investing your life to serve others.”

Also an accomplished singer who recently released her third gospel CD, Ms. Harris drew on this talent to belt out a gospel rendition of the traditional “Happy Birthday” song to celebrate the birthday of Shirley Dolan, mother of Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, who was present in the audience.

After that, Kathleen and Dean O’Hare were honored with the Spirit of St. Nicholas Award.   Mr. O’Hare is the retired Chairman and CEO of the Chubb Corporation based in Warren, New Jersey.  He is also deeply involved in several philanthropic activities including serving as Co-Chair of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.  His wife, Kathleen, also committed to philanthropic endeavors, previously served as Director of Catholic Charities in Metuchen, New Jersey.

His Eminence, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Dorothea McElduff, Archdiocesan President of the Ladies of Charity, and Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities New York presented the awards.

“We’re honored to recognize Ms. Harris and Mr. and Mrs. O’Hare for their devotion to helping New Yorkers in need,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. “Because of their service and the generosity of our supporters, Catholic Charities is able to continue helping families during the Christmas season and throughout the year.”
The event was rounded out by a host of distinguished speakers and performers.  Rosanna Scotto, co-host of Good Day New York, served as the luncheon emcee. Author Mary Higgins Clark served as the event chair, Joseph E. Spinnato, President and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. served as corporate chair, and philanthropist Anna Murdoch-Mann served as honorary chair.  Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton sang traditional Christmas carols as did students from the Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary School Chorus.

Cardinal Dolan brought home the holiday spirit by narrating the Christmas story from the Gospel of St. Luke as students at Saint John Chrysostom School performed the Christmas tableau.

Visit Santa and Save on Your Holiday Shopping

Friday, December 7th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Christmas Celebration at the Catholic Charities Community Services  Thrift Store at 402 E. 152nd Street, Bronx, NY 10455. An event for the entire community:  Saturday, December 22, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.


  • Free photos with Santa Claus
  • Special holiday discounts
  • Holiday music for all to enjoy
  • One free children’s book per child

To donate new toys, contact Robert Crocker by dialing 718.292.6214 ext #3 or email,

Click here for more ways to save and serve others during this holiday season.


Catholic Charities and Empire City Casino Help Sandy Survivors Stay Warm This Winter

Friday, December 7th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

As Christmas approaches and we prepare to celebrate the joyful holiday season, our thoughts remain with those affected by Sandy.

So many families in the Archdiocese of New York were impacted by the hurricane, and money that would typically be spent on gifts is now needed to restore and repair homes or replace essential belongings that were destroyed in the storm. More adults and children than ever are in need of a warm coat to protect them from the cold, and many families will simply not be able to afford a Christmas gift for their children this year.

Empire City Casino’s Annual “Christmas Spirit” Toy and Coat Drive holds even greater importance this year in the face of the catastrophic hurricane. Donations of gently used coats and new, unwrapped toys are being collected at Empire City Casino’s main promotions booth through December 9th. These gifts will help needy New Yorkers give their children a Christmas and stay warm throughout the season.

Empire City Casino has a long history of working with Catholic Charities to help New Yorkers in need, non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

To volunteer your time or donate to the Sandy Relief Fund:

Catholic Charities Partners with Our Lady of Sorrows to Provide Personalized Disaster Relief

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Many New Yorkers are still experiencing great struggles during their recovery from Sandy. Catholic Charities continues to partner with parishes and local  communities to meet these long-term needs.

At Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Lower Manhattan, for example, Catholic Charities has initiated an extensive partnership. A Catholic Charities case worker is currently stationed there three days a week and there will soon be another in place for assistance on all weekdays. Going forward, a Spanish-speaking case worker will attend morning mass to ensure survivors who do not speak English also get the help they need.

In addition to helping families with individual issues, Catholic Charities volunteers are also going door to door to canvass a particularly hard-hit building in the community. These visits allow staff and volunteers to identify those who need extra help, whether as a result of the storm, or beyond that to everyday hardships, as well as those who could simply benefit from a visitor.

As the partnership continues, Catholic Charities will keep reaching out to help families and individuals on the path to recovery and working with parishes to ensure communities receive the help they need, both immediately and for the long term.

To get help, view available resources.

To give help:

Healthy Eating on a Budget? Catholic Charities and Credit Suisse Show How

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

It can be difficult to adopt a healthy lifestyle on a budget, particularly when it comes to food. At Catholic Charities’ Washington Heights Food Pantry, visitors learned to do just that.

Fourteen employees of Credit Suisse volunteered at the pantry to host a “Healthy Living” Workshop. In the morning, Jeanne McGettigan of Catholic Charities introduced the volunteers to the significance of making affordable healthy meals accessible.

As visitors to the food pantry arrived, the volunteers demonstrated various affordable ways to keep the kitchen clean, such as using vinegar and baking soda. They also showed safe cooking habits, like using separate cutting boards for each type of food.

Gabriela Alvarez, a Community Chef from Just Food, led the volunteers in cooking a healthy coconut kale recipe for visitors, filling the room with the fragrant scents of coconut, carrots and spices. Just Food is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to make sure healthy and nutritious organic food is accessible to everyone.

After learning easy and safe tips for the kitchen and eating their delicious meal, all visitors received a shopping bag, courtesy of Credit Suisse, filled with supplies for creating their own affordable, healthy meals, including fresh vegetables, chopping boards and an ergonomic salad spinner.

To sign up for opportunities like this one or find other volunteering options, visit our volunteer website.Your time can make all the difference for your neighbors in need this holiday season.

What are some of your favorite tips for preparing healthy, affordable meals?

Working, Studying and Seeking a Home

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Latoya Ford

By Alice Kenny

Latoya Ford lived with seven foster families before finally being adopted at age 7.

Then, when Latoya turned 13, her adoptive mother, an older woman and “the only woman I ever called ‘mom’,” died of cardiac arrest .

After that, it seemed that no one really wanted her.

Fortunately, Latoya found her way to Covenant House, a shelter for teenagers and young adults affiliated with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York.  Finally housed, she also received counseling, support and studied to become a certified nursing assistant.  She recently found full-time work at Beth Israel Medical Center and is now rebuilding her life.

Click here  to read her story published in The New York Times.

Empire City Casino at Yonkers Contributes $500,000 Toward Catholic Charities Sandy Response

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Over the past five weeks since Hurricane Sandy arrived, Catholic Charities has been leading parishes and communities in their ongoing recovery efforts.

In addition to delivering food and crucial supplies to survivors on Staten Island and in Lower Manhattan, Catholic Charities has also arranged temporary housing for over 100 individuals and families on Staten Island and in Washington Heights. Among other recovery efforts, Catholic Charities worked with FEMA and the New York City government to set up and run disaster relief centers on Staten Island, coordinate hundreds of volunteers and provide multiple services including counseling and housing assistance.

To help with these and other Catholic Charities relief initiatives, Empire City Casino has contributed $500,000 toward the Catholic Charities Hurricane Sandy Relief and Recovery Fund.

“We are grateful for Empire City Casino’s generosity,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities New York. “This donation has enabled Catholic Charities to respond early, but will also help our commitment to assist in meeting long-term needs.”

With the generous donation, Catholic Charities can continue to provide ongoing services to Sandy survivors, rebuilding lives and touching almost every human need promptly, locally, day in and day out, always with compassion and dignity.

“There are no greater deeds than charity and service,” said Timothy J. Rooney, President and CEO of Empire City Casino. “The devastation New Yorkers suffered from this storm is unspeakable and they need our help. Whether you donate $2 or $2,000, it will make a difference. No act of kindness or generosity is ever too small.”

To donate to the Sandy Relief Fund or contribute your time:


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

Day Laborers Served by Catholic Charities Begin Christmas Season with Blessing of Virgin of Guadalupe Statue

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Fr. Elio blessed La Virgen de Guadalupe statue on Sunday, December 2, 2012, at St. Peters Church in Yonkers after day laborers served by Catholic Charities collected funds to purchase it.

The laborers plan to bring the statue of the Blessed Virgin to the homes of neighbors during Posadas, a Mexican tradition during the Christmas season that dramatizes the search of Joseph and Mary for lodging.

Catholic Charities volunteers wage battle to restore hurricane-ravaged bungalow

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Armed with hammers, crowbars and compassion, a troupe of volunteers joined forces with Catholic Charities last Friday, November 30, in their battle to restore a Staten Island bungalow ravaged last month by Hurricane Sandy.

They included white-haired retirees who drove 25 hours from Montevideo, Minnesota, staff from Six Flags Corporate Office and neighbors from Midland Beach, a disaster zone slammed by last month’s super storm.

“You have to restore people’s spirit; give them hope,” said Staten Island resident and volunteer Deb Deats.

Working nearly nonstop, volunteers and staff pulled out mold-covered sheet rock, insulation and tiles.  The sturdy plastic bags they pushed the debris into formed a heap 7-feet high and 25-feet long.

“I came to realize why America is so rich,” said Charlie, who was born in Korea and raised his family for the past seven years in the now-sodden pink bungalow.  “God bless America,” he said, choking back tears.  “You helped me.”

Watch their video.

Do you need help?

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.

Congratulations to WCBS Radio Women’s Achievement Award Winner from Catholic Charities Affiliate Grace Institute

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Congratulations to Jolene Varley Handy, WCBS Radio Women’s Achievement Award Winner for her work at Grace Institute, a Catholic Charities affiliate that helps women become self-sufficient through job training, skills and career assistance.

Handpicked  from hundreds of nominees, Ms. Handy was chosen based on the leadership, influence and dedication she demonstrates and shares with Tri-State area businesses and communities.  WCBS said they were particularly impressed by Ms. Handy and Grace Institute’s commitment to serving women in need, as well as partnering with the Clinton Global Initiative to serve female veterans.

Looking for help kick starting your career?

Grace Institute offers

  • Tuition-free, practical job training programs for women
  • Valuable, up-to-date office, computer, and business skills
  • Career advice and job placement assistance to help you land a good job with benefits

Click here to learn more.

Listen to her interview on WCBS.