Archive for January, 2013

Feeding Our Neighbors; We Need to Help

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

By  Alice Kenny

Track stars, cheerleaders and lacrosse players joined teachers, students and administrators  at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx to produce a synchronized two-minute PSA spotlighting their support for the Feeding Our Neighbors campaign.

“We need,” says one lacrosse player as he passes the ball, “to help” says his teammate as he scoops it up.

The Feeding Our Neighbors  campaign, launched by Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan  at mass on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, aims to collect by this Sunday, February 3,  more than one million meals for those in need.

“In one week’s time we’ve collected tons of food,” says Kathy Alexander, Cardinal Spellman High School Director of Christian Services.  “We invite everybody to be a part of this marvelous opportunity… because feeding our neighbors, helping our food pantries and our soup kitchens is essential to the gospel message.”

Do your part to make sure no hungry neighbor is turned away

  • $11.16 helps feed a child for one day.
  • $45 helps feed a family of four.
  • Text “CCHOPE” to 85944 to make a quick, easy $10 donation.

Help feed our neighbors:

 

Dennis Scimone Honored for Services Provided on Behalf of Catholic Charities to the Mentally Ill

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Dennis Scimone, honoree, with Beacon of Hope House Director Denise Bauer

By  Alice Kenny

Dennis J. Scimone, director of residential services for Catholic Charities Beacon of Hope House, was honored by the Staten Island Behavioral Network, a not-for-profit agency dedicated to providing case management services and affordable housing to the mentally ill, at their tenth anniversary celebration held on January 23, 2013 at the Staten Island Hilton.

A native of New York City, Dennis joined Beacon of Hope House, a Catholic Charities organization that operates residences and a club house program for the mentally ill, in 1989.  He recently completed his thirty-eighth year of service in the mental health field.

“We all must learn to understand, accept, respect and appreciate the differences of all members of society,” he said, “regardless of race, religion, culture, gender, age, sexual orientation, ability or disability.”

At Catholic Charities, Dennis was initially appointed to manage Beacon of Hope House residential services for the mentally ill in Staten Island including community residences and scattered-site apartment programs.  He was appointed as the agency’s Regional Director for Staten Island- Brooklyn Services in 1995.  He has served as the Director of Residential services since 2002, providing oversight for multiple levels of housing programs in Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

He has a Master of Social Work Degree from Hunter College and a Masters Degree in public Administration from Long Island University.  In the early stages of his career, he worked with youngsters with development disabilities, and adolescents in drug-prevention programs and adults in methadone maintenance programs.  He later worked in a psychiatric inpatient setting, partial hospitalization programs, mental health clinics and management service.

Dennis has been affiliated part-time with Neighborhood Counseling Center since 1985 where he has served in a variety of roles including psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, instructor and administrator.  Dennis served as chairperson for the Mental Health Council of Staten Island from 1999- 2001.

A resident of Staten Island, he says he enjoys local cultural events, eateries and historic sites with his wife, Linda.

Dennis is credited with consistently advocating for mental health services and funding to address gaps in existing services.  He strongly believes, he says, that the active practice of tolerance is essential to all communities.  He would like to see this as a standard topic included in all the curriculums of the nation’s educational system.

“Our efforts to succeed in this area will make our communities stronger and will improve the quality of life for every member of the community.”

Critical Issue of Immigration Reform Moves to Top of Washington Agenda

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

President Barack Obama plans to lay out his vision for immigration reform in Las Vegas today, January 29, 2013, a vision, CBS news reports, that he originally laid out in a major immigration speech in El Paso, Texas in May 2011.

A group of bipartisan senators formally unveiled their framework for comprehensive immigration reform yesterday that is said to be similar to the president’s plan.

“It is both overdue and heartening that the critical issue of immigration reform is moving to the top of Washington’s agenda,” said Catholic Charities Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. “Each day Catholic Charities responds to many calls for assistance from immigrants who needlessly struggle and are threatened by the dysfunctions in our current system.”

Day in and day out, Catholic Charities helps immigrants reunite legally with their families, obtain proper work authorization, learn English and civics, and prepare to pass citizenship exams. Catholic Charities also assists immigrants in avoiding exploitation by unscrupulous practitioners by providing correct information and realistic counsel about immigration status.

In any given year…

3,378 families counseled and protected from exploitation
40,651 calls answered in 18 languages with accurate information
445 breadwinners helped to obtain authorization to work
417 immigrants reunited with their families
281 refugee and asylee families resettled
291 immigrants taught English

“Keeping families together, fair and humane legal immigration policies, reducing illegal immigration, protecting against exploitation and an earned way out of the shadows for the undocumented are all parts of broad immigration reform that this country needs,” Msgr. Sullivan continued. “Catholic Charities is ready and willing to work with many partners to achieve this critical goal.”

Do you need help? Get correct information in 17 languages:

Call Catholic Charities at the New York State New Americans Hotline: 212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (toll-free in NYS).

For more information please visit the following web links:

Catholic Charities Launches Feeding Our Neighbors Campaign to Collect One Million Meals for Those in Need

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Catholic Charities New York Executive Director shakes hands with John Ruskay, Executive Vice President and CEO of UJA-Federation of New York

By Alice Kenny

Responding to already-strained food pantry shelves further depleted by Hurricane Sandy, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan launched the second annual Feeding Our Neighbors  campaign aimed at collecting more than one million meals for those in need.  Cardinal Dolan began this year’s campaign on Sunday, January 27, 2013, during Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities NY concelebrated the mass.

This year, the campaign, which runs through February 3, 2013, represents an interfaith initiative with the UJA-Federation of New York. The Wall Street Journal reported that officials said this was one of the largest interfaith efforts of its kind.

“So often today…we see signs of religion as a cause of hate and division,” Cardinal Dolan told a packed Sunday Mass. “But in New York we are so proud that religion brings people together and that it takes care of God’s most forgotten people.”

Following Mass,  John S. Ruskay, executive vice president and CEO of UJA-Federation of New York, and William E. Rapfogel, executive director and CEO of Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council), a UJA-Federation of New York beneficiary agency, joined Cardinal Dolan and Msgr. Sullivan in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to load food donations onto Catholic Charities’ Mobile Food Pantry and Met Council trucks for delivery to food pantries, soup kitchens and meal programs that serve New Yorkers in need.

After that, Msgr. Sullivan, Mr. Ruskay and Mr. Rapfogel kicked off UJA-Federation’s “Super Sunday” phone-a-thon to solicit additional donations.

During this time of great need, one in five New York State children grow up in poverty and more than one million New Yorkers do not have enough to eat.

This campaign grows out of an awareness and concern that embraces New Yorkers of all religions who must turn to food pantries, soup kitchens and senior center meal programs, to sustain themselves and their families.

Listen to Msgr. Sullivan’s interview with Mr. Ruskay about the Feeding Our Neighbors campaign aired Saturday, January 26 on JustLove, The Catholic Channel 129 Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

Help feed our neighbors:

 

 

 


Upstate Catholic Charities Agencies Are Reaching Out to Help Downstate Sandy Victims

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Upstate non-Catholics  and  Catholics alike came together to support those downstate affected by Superstorm Sandy.  Through special collections, fundraisers, school events, and generous individual contributions, the total amount raised by the Catholic Church and its ministries in the five upstate dioceses was $1,364,822.

“The response has been overwhelming,” said Bishop Howard Hubbard of the Albany Diocese and representing the five upstate bishops.  “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are still recovering from this storm, and these donations will be put to work right away.  We want our fellow New Yorkers, and all affected by the storm, to know that we stand in solidarity with you during this period of recovery.”

Bishop Hubbard, along with his colleagues throughout all New York, issued a special collection for Sandy Relief shortly after the storm wreaked its havoc.  Schools, parishes and the community quickly pulled together vital supplies and arranged to bring them to the disaster zone. A large symbolic check representing the donations raised was presented to Catholic Charities representatives in the three downstate dioceses hardest hit by Sandy including the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, and the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The response is especially noteworthy, considering that at a similar time the previous year gifts were coming into upstate New York to help with recovery efforts from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.  Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York is the overall managing agency administering outreach efforts to help people in 34 counties throughout New York State still recovering from these earlier storms.

In accepting the check from the upstate dioceses, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of the Catholic Charities of the New York Archdiocese, said, “In every community of New York State, every day, Catholic Charities helps individuals and families to resolve problems and rebuild lives. When Sandy devastated so many communities in New York City and Long Island, Catholic Charities was present to be able to respond immediately to alleviate hardships and help hurting families. In the immediate aftermath and for the long-term, the range of Catholic Charities services are available to meet critical human needs.”

Help Feed Your New York Neighbors

Friday, January 25th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Do your part to make sure no hungry neighbor is turned away. www.CatholicCharitiesNY.org/FeedingOurNeighbors

  • $11.16 helps feed a child for one day.
  • $45 helps feed a family of four for one day.

From January 27th-February 3rd, you can help answer the call to feed the hungry through Catholic Charities annual Feeding Our Neighbors campaign to replenish New York’s stretched food pantries and soup kitchens.  Your contribution can do so much.

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s Work Personified

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

More than 600 people gathered last week at the Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center to celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.  This central Harlem landmark hosted celebrations sponsored by multiple groups that regularly meet there including, the Harambee Dance Company and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center New York Support Group.

“Harlem is the central point in the New York Archdiocese of Dr. Martin Luther King’s work personified; he walked the streets of Harlem,” said Kennedy Center Director Deacon Rodney Beckford.

The Deacon also served as the master of ceremonies at the at the Central Harlem Vicariate-sponsored interfaith service held last week at All Saints Roman Catholic Church in Harlem.

“The community was not only familiar with Dr. King as a national figure but as a personal figure; at this time every year all the institutions in Harlem rise to the occasion of remembering him and promoting the justice, peace and equality he espoused,” Deacon Beckford continued. “We at Catholic Charities Kennedy Center have always been at the forefront of that celebration.”

Partnership Forged between Westchester County and Faith-Based Organizations

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Karen Reynolds – front row, right – represents Catholic Charities.

By Alice Kenny

Karen Reynolds, Catholic Charities regional supervisor for Westchester County, represented Catholic Charities when County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced on Wednesday, January 16, the appointment of a liaison for faith-based organizations in the county, part of a community partnership that he hopes will help clergy and their affiliated organizations cut through government red tape and share information.

“Helping the neediest among us is greatly enhanced by strengthening the bonds between county government and religious organizations in our community,” Astorino said.

Find out more.

Despite Hard Times, Veteran Still Lives Independently

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Nearly seven decades later, Charles Daubek Jr., 94, still remembers the “wonderful feeling” of first seeing the house – their first – that his parents saved, scrimped and borrowed to buy while he served as a private first class during World War II.

An only child and never married, Mr. Daubek has lived in that home in Hastings on Hudson since returning from the war in 1946.  The fraying roof and rusting mailbox tell one story:  at his age, he has neither the money nor the physical stamina to make repairs.  But within the walls live a lifetime of memories – his memories – of special times with friends and with his parents, all of whom were buried years ago.

“It’s a terrible thing when you got to skimp and you don’t know if you can make it or not,” he said.

Read his profile in The New York Times.  Learn about critical support he receives from Catholic Charities and its affiliate, Dominican Sisters Family Health Service, to help him to continue living independently.

Hunger is Growing as Resources Dry Up

Friday, January 18th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

  • Read Catholic New York’s report about how, for the second year in a row, archdiocesan Catholic Charities will hold the week-long “Feeding Our Neighbors” campaign.  Its goal is to raise enough food and money donations to provide 1 million meals.
  • Click here and help us feed our neighbors.