Archive for April, 2013

Frightened by North Korea’s Torrent of Warlike Words Against the United States?

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Get first-hand insight into these dramatic threats on JustLove.

Listen as Catholic Charities Executive Director and Radio Host Msgr. Kevin Sullivan interviews  Hannah Song, President and CEO of Liberty in North Korea, a grassroots organization that rescues and helps North Korean refugees reach freedom while working to end the crises.

North Korea, Ms. Song tells Msgr. Sullivan, “is the most reclusive, oppressive nation in the world…people don’t know what a cell phone or the Internet is.”

Tune in now to hear the interview JustLove on The Catholic Channel 129, SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio.

“The reality,” Ms. Song says, “is we can’t predict what’s going to happen in North Korea nor can any other expert or academic.”

Immigration Reform: Mass Mobilization “from the Bottom Up”

Monday, April 8th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

As the Senate “Gang of 8″ completes its work on a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill (CIR) and Congress prepares to debate its provisions, key leaders of New York’s diverse faith communities joined with elected officials at a press conference held at the Community Church of New York, 40 East 35th Street in Manhattan, on April 5. One leader after another spoke to promote just and humane comprehensive immigration reform, urging Congress to use moral values as a guidepost.

Speakers included Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of New York; Pastor Gilford Monrose, Vice President of CUSH; Imam Talib Abdur Rashid, Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood; Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Greater NY Labor-Religion Coalition; Congresswoman Yvette Clarke; Congressman Joseph Crowley; Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez; Chung-Wha Hong of the New York Immigration Coalition; along with several young New York City immigrants.

David Lopez, 19, an undocumented resident of Staten Island and victim of Superstorm Sandy, spoke about challenges he faces since the hurricane destroyed the apartment where he lived and the business where he worked. Now homeless, he is ineligible for FEMA assistance because of his immigration status.

“I started working from the bottom up,” David said. “I want to become something to be able to help this country but I am unable to because of my status.”

When Msgr. Sullivan came to the podium he thanked Mr. Lopez for sharing his story.

“Catholic Charities is both proud and privileged to be part of these new New Yorkers that contribute to the growth and well-being of this country, the one they call home,” Msgr. Sullivan said. “We welcome comprehensive reform that provides a path out of the shadows, strengthens and reunites families and provides for fair and humane legal immigration opportunities.”

Immigrants and advocates will make this case in Washington D.C. on April 10th at a massive mobilization and faith community vigil for citizenship. More than 2000 New Yorkers are expected to participate.

“It is both overdue and heartening that the critical issue of immigration reform is moving to the top of Washington’s agenda,” Monsignor Sullivan said. “Immigrants have not only helped build this nation, but so many of our vibrant institutions, including our parishes.”

Try Out Your Talents; Find the Perfect Volunteer Opportunity Tailored Just for You

Friday, April 5th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Visit our volunteer website  to check out these volunteer opportunities and dozens more.

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES $38.5 MILLION SERVICE PROGRAM TO HELP VICTIMS OF SUPERSTORM SANDY

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
For Immediate Release: April 3, 2013

Residents in NYC and Nassau, Suffolk, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester Counties Will Receive One-Stop-Shop Assistance for Sandy-Related Resources

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $38.5 million program that New York State will oversee in conjunction with Catholic Charities that will provide over 200 service coordinators to assist individuals and families affected by Superstorm Sandy recover and access essential resources. The Disaster Case Management Program (DCMP) provides supplemental federal funding to states, U.S. Territories, and federally recognized Tribes after a Presidential disaster declaration that includes Individual Assistance.

The DCMP provides funding for a partnership between a disaster case manager and a disaster survivor to develop and carry out a Disaster Recovery Plan. This partnership provides the survivor with a single point of contact to access a broad range of resources. The process involves an assessment of the survivor’s verified disaster-caused unmet needs, development of a goal-oriented plan that outlines the steps necessary to achieve recovery, organization and coordination of information on available resources that match the disaster-caused needs, and the monitoring of progress toward reaching the recovery plan goals, and, when necessary, survivor advocacy.

“As recovery from Sandy continues, we’re entering a critical phase where direct one-on-one service will provide survivors with the assistance they need to get their lives back in order,” said Governor Cuomo. “The Disaster Case Management Program covers every facet of recovery assistance needed by individuals and families to ensure that those hit hard by the storm have their needs addressed efficiently and effectively. Working with partners like Catholic Charities, we will bring more resources directly to the people who need help the most.”

“Hurricane Sandy was absolutely devastating, physically and emotionally,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. “The state, city and surrounding counties have done a remarkable job making assistance available to those impacted by this storm, but sometimes those affected can be overwhelmed by what it takes to get back on their feet. Having a single point of contact to explain the breadth of services and help navigate the system can be a tremendous help to individuals and families trying to recover from Sandy’s devastation. Approximately 200 case managers will be a portal of help and hope for those impacted as they begin to rebuild their homes and lives.”

DCMP coordinators, who will be stationed at locations in the 13 hardest-hit counties, can be a lifeline for people coping with Superstorm Sandy’s devastation, but who may be unfamiliar with the range of services currently being offered by local, State and Federal government.

Service coordinators are both advocates and expediters for those affected by Sandy. They first assess if clients have unmet needs related to the storm. If people qualify, they will be assigned a disaster case manager to serve as a single point of contact for all government- and insurance-related assistance. Then, based on interactions with the client, the service coordinators create individualized disaster recovery plans, including advocating for access to needed services, coordinating benefits, and making referrals for services outside the scope of disaster case management. Existing Sandy-related services for individuals and families range from direct federal and state grants and Small Business Association loans to insurance advocacy and referrals to the range of not-for-profit and voluntary programs that have been established.

The Superstorm Sandy DCMP is modeled after a similar program run by Catholic Charities in 34 counties across New York State following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. For Sandy assistance, Catholic Charities will either provide the service coordinators directly, or sub-contract them out to locally-based not-for-profit agencies that have demonstrated experience with this type of work, such as the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, Good Shepherd Services, Lutheran Social Service and the Center for Independence of the Disabled. Catholic Charities will also subcontract to several organizations, such as the Greater Chinatown Community Association and El Centro del Immigrante, which can provide these services in additional languages so that no New York community gets left behind.

Eligibility is open to anyone with an unmet need that arose from or was exacerbated by Superstorm Sandy, even those who have not applied to FEMA for assistance. Those impacted by the storm can call 1-855-258-0483 to find out the location and contact information for their nearest service provider. A full list can also be found online atwww.catholiccharitiesny.org.

The State anticipates that more than 10,000 people will take advantage of this service. Already, more than 250,000 New York residents have applied to FEMA for disaster-related services following Sandy. According to FEMA, in past disasters, roughly 5% of FEMA applicants take advantage of disaster case management services.

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Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov


New York State | Executive Chamber | press.office@exec.ny.gov | 518.474.8418

Good Friday – A Commemoration and a Call to Assist Victims of Today’s Crucifixions

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Photo Credit: Sr. Marylin Gramas, S.U.

By Alice Kenny

At the largest public Christian peace witness in New York City, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York Director of Justice and Peace Thomas Dobbins stood with Sr. Maureen Jerkowski, a member of the Lifeway Network of Religious Against Human Trafficking, as she read at the Catholic Charities of New York-sponsored Tenth Station of the Cross; Jesus is Stripped of His Garments, on Good Friday, March 29, 2013.

More than 500 people joined with them at this thirtieth annual Good Friday Way of the Cross, a modern-day enactment of the Stations of the Cross, to pray for peace and justice on the streets of New York.   The walk began at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (47th Street at First Avenue) and proceeded along 42nd Street to Ninth Avenue.  Participants were encouraged to reflect on “How do I do for others what Jesus is doing for me? How am I called to live in this world?”

Catholic Charities and the LifeWay Network chose the tenth station of the cross to raise awareness of human trafficking.  LifeWay Network’s mission is to provide safe housing for survivors of human trafficking and to offer educational opportunities for the general public.  Catholic Charities helps immigrants reunite legally with their families, obtain proper work authorization, learn English and civics, and prepare to pass citizenship exams. The organization also assists immigrants, non Catholics and Catholics alike, to avoiding exploitation by unscrupulous practitioners by providing correct information and realistic counsel about immigration status.

The Good Friday Way of the Cross is organized each year by Pax Christi Metro New York, a regional section of Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace.

“The Pax Christi Good Friday Way of the Cross has become an important part of my Good Friday observance over the past few years,” Mr. Dobbins said.  “It helps me to remember that Good Friday is not only a commemoration of events that took place 2,000 years ago, but more importantly is a call for us as Christians and people of good will to reach out and assist the victims of today’s crucifixions – the poor and the marginal, victims and refugees of war and violence, trafficked persons and others in desperate situations who don’t know where to turn – that, through our services, we at Catholic Charities seek to assist not only on Good Friday, but every day.”

Electrocuted During Hurricane Sandy, Survivor Struggles to Recover

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Leaning on his black cane, Fujimoto Takashi, 64, struggles to pronounce words that convey the terror he felt the afternoon his basement apartment in Midland Beach, Staten Island, morphed into a whirlpool of chairs, refrigerator, motion and mementos.

Born in Hiroshima four years after the atom bomb was dropped there, Mr. Takashi already knew devastation first hand.  He grew up believing, he said, that if he could make his way to the United States he would find a safe place to thrive.

For a long time, his plan seemed to work.  Mr. Takashi moved to California in 1977.  He developed a career as a photographer.  And he later made his home in Staten Island.

Never did he suspect, he said, that a disaster spurred by nature and not by man would nearly kill him. But when Hurricane Sandy tore through Staten Island, the subsequent flooding inside his basement apartment electrocuted and nearly drowned him.  It destroyed his health, his home and his means of making a living.

“Growing up in Hiroshima I helped other people and felt their pain; now others are feeling my pain,” Mr. Takashi said.  “Catholic Charities gave me the encouragement I needed to not give up.”

Monday, October 29, began like most days, Mr. Takashi said.  He was fixing a camera light plugged into the wall of in his Andrews Street apartment.

Suddenly he noticed water pouring in under his front door.  He grabbed for the camera light plug.

But it was too late.  Electrical currents bore through his right calf.  They shot in one end, out the other and left a hole as their memento.   He suffered a stroke, he recalled, then passed out.

He awoke to the taste of salt water, bouncing on furniture that floated five feet above the floor.  His right arm and leg no longer functioned.

“Help me!” Fuji shouted.

Hurricane winds and neighbors’ panic smothered his screams.  Night came and went. Fifteen hours passed.  Water receded.  His energy waned.

Finally, at 10:30 the following morning, his landlord knocked on his door.

Much of what happened next is blur, he said.  An ambulance rushed him to some hospital – he can’t remember which.  Later he was transferred to Staten Island University Hospital. For 38 days doctors treated burns that covered much of his body and physical and mental repercussions from his stroke.  Finally, he was transferred to Golden Gate Nursing Home where therapists began teaching him how to walk again.

After two months in a hospital and rehabilitation center, he was released to go home.

But everything had changed.  Hurricane Sandy stole much of his memory and mobility.  It destroyed his photographic equipment, stealing his livelihood.  And it tore apart his home, leaving his furniture, clothing – all he owned – rotting and covered with mold.

“When I came back home I had nothing,” Mr. Takashi said.

His landlord gave him a blanket and an air mattress.  But the mattress leaked.

“It was like sleeping on the floor,” Fuji added.

Fortunately, an associate of Fuji’s learned of his plight and called Catholic Charities for help.

Catholic Charities Staten Island has taken a leadership role in partnering with nonprofit organizations to speed services and support to residents of this borough devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  From disaster-response professionals who visit parishes to deliver information and resources, to volunteers who collect and distribute food and supplies, to neighbors checking in on neighbors, the entire Catholic Charities community responded, providing help, creating hope and rebuilding lives.

Since Mr. Takashi’s stroke left him wheelchair bound and confused, Catholic Charities Case Manager Marvin Walker visited him in his home.  Mr. Walker helped Mr. Takashi apply successfully for a variety of grants and subsidies including new furniture from Project Hospitality, appliances from the Staten Island Back to Basics initiative, gift cards to cover necessities from the Siller Foundation, help paying heating bills from the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), food stamps from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and disaster recovery financial assistance from FEMA.  He helped Mr. Takashi apply for Access-a-Ride, bus rides catered for persons with disabilities.  And he gave Mr. Takashi food from Catholic Charities food pantries along with clothing, pots, pans, utensils and other household necessities.

Meanwhile, Catholic Charities Volunteer Services paired Fuji up with Catholic Charities Anderson Avenue Senior Director Marni Caruso.  She volunteered to drive Mr. Takashi during her personal time to medical appointments and meetings with the numerous government agencies that suddenly play a large role in his life.

Fuji’s road to recovery remains long and difficult.  He has progressed from wheelchair to walker to cane.  Many memories remain hazy.  His finances remain tight.

“I never thought I would have to depend on others,” Fuji says.  “But without Catholic Charities I couldn’t have survived.”

Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan Marks Return from Rome with a Tour of Catholic Charities of Orange County Events

Monday, April 1st, 2013

By Alice Kenny

His Excellency Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan will make his first New York Archdiocesan tour since returning to New York after helping to elect Pope Francis.

Cardinal Dolan has scheduled three events on Thursday, April 4, 2013 that celebrate the work of Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County.  Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan will join him.

At 3 p.m. on April 4, Cardinal Dolan will bless tour and cut the ribbon at Catholic Charities’ new locations at 305 North Street in Middletown, NY.  This location consolidates several programs into a single location: housing an OASAS licensed Substance Abuse Clinic, Case Management staff, Immigration Services, and our Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  The Substance Abuse Clinic provides assessments and individual and group counseling to individuals and families to help ensure a lasting recovery from substance abuse.  Case Management and Immigration provide a variety of bi-lingual services to individuals in need.  The EAP works with businesses, municipalities, organizations, and parishes, providing support and counseling services to over 65,000 covered employees and their family members.

The next stop at 4:15 p.m. will be a tour where Cardinal Dolan will give a special blessing to children that attend Catholic Charities Early Learning Center at 59 St. John Street in the Village of Goshen, NY. The Early Learning Center offers a full-day program for children ages six weeks to five years focused on early childhood learning, socialization skills and kindergarten readiness skills.

Cardinal Dolan’s final destination at 6 p.m. will be a cocktail reception at the 7th Annual Celebration of Charity held at Anthony’s Pier 9, 2975 Route 9W in New Windsor, NY.  This annual event also includes a dinner and silent auction.  2013 Caritas Award Honorees include Reverend Jeffrey Maurer, Pastor at St Mary’s Church in Washingtonville, Scott Batulis, President and Chief Executive Officer at Orange Regional Medical Center and the Eva Fini Fund for Rett Syndrome Research.

“We are honored by Cardinal Dolan’s visit and the significant statement it makes,” says Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County Executive Director Dean Scher. “By opening our new clinic in Middletown, Catholic Charities highlights the value we place on providing a wide range of accessible services to our local community and on providing help and hope for those struggling with substance abuse.  In the Early Learning Center, we underline the importance of daycare and early education for preschoolers to ease the minds of working parents.  And we gratefully acknowledge the key role of donors whose continuing support enables us to provide help and create hope for those in need.”

For information about purchasing a ticket for the upcoming 7th Annual Celebration of Charity contact Catholic Charities Community Services at 845-294-5124 ext. 303.

About Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County

Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, one of the human service agencies of the Federation of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, is committed to building a compassionate and just society.  It is dedicated to serving the homeless, the hungry, the emotionally and physically handicapped, immigrants and the marginalized and vulnerable of Orange County regardless of religion.  It collaborates with parishes, individuals, government and other agencies.