We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday.
The New York Times reports that one-fifth of New York City children and one-sixth of the city’s residents live in homes without enough to eat.
These rates of “food insecurity” have not improved over the past three years, despite the steady recovery of the city’s economy, said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger that compiled the report.
“There is a great disconnect between the broader economic indicators and the fact that there is absolutely no recovery in any meaningful way for low-income New Yorkers,” Mr. Berg said in an interview. “At no time since the Gilded Age has there been a greater disconnect.”
The most dire change has been in the Bronx, where more than one-third of residents (36 percent) and nearly half of the children (49 percent) could not consistently obtain balanced meals from 2010 through 2012. Those three-year averages were up from about 29 percent and 37 percent during the three-year period that led up to the financial crisis — 2006 through 2008 — the study states, based on data from the United States Census Bureau.
But even in Brooklyn and Manhattan, two boroughs where real estate prices have risen to record highs, the number of people without enough money to feed their families is on the rise, the report shows. That trend was evident from the line snaking down Fulton Street last week outside the pantry Dr. Samuels runs.
As a pianist tapped holiday tunes and New Yorkers in need munched on complimentary lunches, Catholic Charities distributed all the ingredients necessary for a Thanksgiving feast to more than 400 persons in need at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center in Harlem on November 26. Each guest received a turkey and all the trimmings: potatoes, yams, stuffing and more.
Msgr. Kevin Sullivan gave his blessing on the event as he called attention to the plight of hungry New Yorkers.
“Thank you for inviting me to volunteer today to distribute Thanksgiving dinners. It went very smoothly and the people that received the turkey’s really appreciate everything that Catholic Charities did for them. It was a very special morning for me, and the volunteer team was great. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving” – Diane Thompson
Collaborating once again in a unified effort to tackle hunger, Catholic Charities and UJA-Federation of New York kicked off our second joint Feeding Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Response initiative on Sunday, November 24, 2013, at the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood. Volunteers assembled 750 Thanksgiving and Hanukkah–themed kosher food packages for distribution to low-income, homebound residents of Washington Heights through a Catholic Charities food pantry and UJA-Federation beneficiary agencies.
This marked the first in a series of specific efforts this season to strengthen the resources for food pantries so they can collect and distribute one million meals throughout New York during winter’s cruelest months.
In the five boroughs, hunger affects approximately 1.4 million individuals. In addition, approximately 2.6 million — or nearly one in three — New Yorkers experience difficulty affording food for themselves and their families. Meanwhile, approximately 1.9 million New Yorkers across all faiths and ethnic communities rely on SNAP, the food stamp program that undergone funding cuts.
Feeding Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Response unites Catholic Charities and UJA-Federation of New York, two of the largest faith-based, not-for-profit organizations to raise awareness about the issue of hunger and food insufficiency in the community. Through the shared values of “No hungry neighbor should be turned away” and “Let all who are hungry come and eat” the Catholic and Jewish communities collectively pledge to make a difference in the lives of those who are hungry and in need. The interfaith initiative stems from Catholic Charities’ Feeding Our Neighbors campaign, an effort to fight hunger by replenishing dwindling supplies in emergency food programs that continue to be stretched thin.
“Catholic Charities is proud to partner with UJA-Federation on this initiative to replenish the food pantries and soup kitchens in our community. Unfortunately, so many families in our community rely on these to survive,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities. “Over the next few months, with the disturbing cuts to SNAP, our joint projects are even more important for New York’s neediest.”
UJA-Federation and Catholic Charities will meet once again in January when Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Msgr. Sullivan and Dr. Ruskay will collect food packages outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral for distribution to a Catholic Charities food pantry and to a UJA-Federation beneficiary agency.
Help us feed our neighbors.
By Alice Kenny
The homeless population increased by 13% in New York City at the beginning of this year, reports this recent article in The New York Times.
The shelter population reached levels not seen since the Depression era; a record 64,060 homeless people were counted on the street and in shelters this past winter according to an annual survey by HUD.
Nearly a quarter of all homeless people – 23% – are under 18.
A rise in families who could no longer pay their rent — a problem that is more acute in areas where affordable housing is scarce and rents are especially high – has driven the increase, according to federal officials. The group of very poor renters who pay more than half their income in rent and are struggling to hold onto their homes has grown by 43% nationwide since 2007, housing officials added.
If you are facing homelessness and need help, please call us at Catholic Charities. We support a vast network of emergency shelters, temporary and transitional housing and permanent affordable housing to help homeless families and individuals.
Families and individuals who, for whatever reason, are facing the loss of a home or apartment are assisted by highly trained Catholic Charities caseworkers to prevent eviction and homelessness. Staff will assess the situation and create a comprehensive plan to respond to the immediate emergency and help avoid future crisis. Caseworkers will work with landlords, legal services, and financial management programs to help access rent subsidies and other government programs to assist families and individuals relocate to a new home.
Parishes and other community organizations provide temporary shelter and respite for people living on the street. Operated mainly by volunteers, Catholic Charities provides assistance to these shelters and can help those in need access their services.
Temporary and Transitional Residences
Transitional, supported housing is an important component to the network of housing resources provided by Catholic Charities. Dedicated religious women have often taken the lead in developing and operating these housing programs. Some residences are specifically designed to serve the needs of women and their children, while others are available to the general population. Most offer a variety of services to assist the homeless in moving towards permanent housing and independence.
Permanent Affordable Housing
Affordable housing developed by Catholic Charities and other parish’s decades ago remain a precious, yet precarious resource. Catholic Charities has worked to make the Association of Catholic Homes an important vehicle not only for preserving existing housing but also for developing new affordable housing in the Archdiocese. All of these housing units have specific eligibility criteria, and many have significant waiting lists.
Catholic Charities Is Here to Help.
By Alice Kenny
The journey from home to school is an effortless walk for Xavier Cruz, 14, who just strolls around the corner and down the block. But considering where he is going, he may as well be traveling to another world.
Since the sixth grade, Xavier has attended St. Ignatius School, an educational oasis in Hunts Point, a Bronx neighborhood known for rampant crime and grinding poverty.
Now, thanks to the school’s and Catholic Charities’ intervention, Xavier sidesteps the gangs that surround him. Instead he prepares for high school, then college and finally, he says, a career in computer technology to help him pull his family from these streets.
Jasmine Carrero, along with sons Timothy, 11, and Travis, 9, have Stickler syndrome, a genetic abnormality that is stealing their sight. They are awaiting tests to find out whether baby sister Lillian, now 5 months, must cope with this syndrome as well.
Meanwhile, Cynthia Gibbs-Pratt, 47, who works as a food stamp eligibility specialist, had 20/20 vision for most of her life. Suddenly progressive macular degeneration began robbing her of her sight. Her husband left her. Now alone, she fears using a cane because it would announce to those roaming the dangerous streets where she lives that she is defenseless.
Fortunately, Catholic Charities came to their aid.
Read their profiles published on Sunday in The New York Times.:
By Alice Kenny
As tornado winds gusting up to 200 miles per hour ripped through at least 12 states yesterday trailers spun through the air recalling a nightmarish version of the Wizard of Oz. Eighteen wheelers toppled, bark ripped from trees and families prayed in their basements for deliverance.
Meanwhile, folks in the Philippines are still reeling from Typhoon Haiyan that hit just last week.
The Catholic Church, from Catholic Relief Services abroad to Catholic Charities here at home along with parishes and our cadre of volunteers are here to help.
Please call us at 888 – 744 -7900.
Or email us through our contact form.
Can you help?
Please get in touch with us now.
By Alice Kenny
Julie Vann, 17, whose parents fled the brutal assault of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, dreamed of one day going to college and building a better life for her family. But when her father who had found work in the U.S. as a maintenance worker, died last year from skin cancer, the challenge of overcoming her family’s tragic history grew tougher.
Her mother, who speaks little English and can no longer work as a manicurist due to carpal tunnel syndrome, weeps every day as she shares her dinner with a photo of her dad. The family’s sole income is now just $1100 in Social Security survivor benefits for Julie and her younger sister.
Yet Julie remains determined to not only graduate from high school this year but to go to college to become an engineer.
Fortunately, Catholic Charities and its Transitio
n to Adulthood Program stepped it. Catholic Charities helped her prepare for her SAT exams, took her on trips to visit colleges, helped her complete her college applications and provided her, thanks to funds from the New York Times Neediest Cases program, with the money she needed to purchase her cap and gown, graduation tickets, senior award dinner and yearbook. Most important, it provided her with the counseling and support she needed to fulfill her dream.