Archive for the ‘Hudson Valley’ Category

Martin Luther King: “Life’s Most Persistent and Urgent Question”

Monday, January 20th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said  that “life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’”

Today, as they celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s Interfaith Day of Service, 80 Catholic and Jewish teens from Westchester are giving an answer.

Forty youth from St. Peter’s Parish in Yonkers and Holy Rosary in Port Chester will join 40 youth from UJA-Federation to provide a meal and activities for 300 persons in need at the Don Bosco Community Center in Port Chester.

The day starts early for these 80 teens as they set up, prepare and serve midday meals.  They will also offer art and crafts activities for children attending the event.

The day then ends as youth lead an ecumenical period of reflection; an opportunity to build community while raising hunger awareness.

The event is part of Feeding Our Neighbors, an interfaith campaign to replenish food pantries and soup kitchens that serve those in need.

“What are you doing for others?” Rev. King asked.

Join us in answering this urgent question.

 

Read more in the Daily Voice.

After Surviving Slaughter, A Deep Instinct to Survive

Monday, December 30th, 2013

By Hannah Murphy

The New York Times

When Epiphanie Musabiyemaria was growing up in Rwanda among two tribes, Hutu and Tutsi, teachers would ask each student “what they were.” She could not answer, she said, because her father had never told her. We are all just people, he insisted.

When she was 23, at the beginning of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the government decided for her. Her mother was tall, which was considered a Tutsi trait. The family’s friends were Tutsi. Her fiancé, the father of her unborn son, was Tutsi.

So every day, the Hutu-led government threatened to kill them.

“Three o’clock was a very special hour for our family,” she said. “That’s when they gave you the notice that you were going to be killed.” It was rumored that anti-Tutsi forces were waiting for her to give birth, to kill her infant as well.

By the end of the war, her brother, her fiancé and her youngest sister were dead.

Read her story in The New York Times.

Find out how Catholic Charities is helping her rebuild her life.

Toys & Coats Bring Warmth to the Holiday

Monday, December 16th, 2013

For the seventh consecutive holiday season, Catholic Charities teamed up with Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway to make the holiday season a little warmer and a little brighter for families in need.

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and Timothy Rooney

Empire City Casino President & CEO Timothy J. Rooney presented over 500 toys and coats gathered from its two-week toy and coat drive to Catholic Charities yesterday, December 12.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, accompanied by Catholic Charities Community Services Supervisor Karen Reynolds along with Sister Christine Hennessey  and Orla Kelleher of the Aisling Irish Community Center accepted the gifts for distribution to  local children and families.

“Providing help by giving a warm coat also provides some Christmas hope this season,” Ms. Reynolds said.

Read more in the Yonkers Tribune

Irish Consulate Teams with Project Irish Outreach

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Thanks to significant support from the Consulate General of Ireland, Project Irish Outreach has offered the Irish community settled in New York City and Westchester County frontline advice, counseling and support services for more than 26 years.

Catholic Charities staff are located in Aisling Irish Community Center in Westchester County and at the Catholic Center in Manhattan. Project Irish Outreach provides specialized services to address the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable Irish emigrants.  Services include information and referral, immigration legal assistance and/or representation, social services casework, pastoral services, maternity services, ministry to Irish prisoners,  healthcare information and referral and general support services for individuals, families and the elderly.

Are you an Irish emigrant looking for help?

Please call us at 914-237-5098 or email us at Sr.Christine.hennessy@archny.org

Extreme Makeover for Storm-Wrecked Home

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Lori Van Buren / Times Union

The clamor of an army of hammers and power saws echoed through the woods off a dirt road in a rural upstate town of Grafton last week.

The rustic abode of Susan Swart on Banker School Way was getting a makeover thanks to Catholic Charities and Home Depot. Two years ago, Tropical Storm Irene damaged the home where the 60-year-old woman has lived for 36 years.

“The rain here from Irene was horrendous and a downburst wind gust took a bunch of 70-foot-tall trees down right over there,” Swart said, pointing out her window to a gap in the woods that surround her home. “The water was just flowing down my walls and we had no electricity for two weeks.”

The damage caused wood rot in the roof, damage so bad that two volunteer roofers accidentally put their feet through the roof while walking on it.

Catholic Charities is coordinating repairs.  Catholic Charities of Albany is one of the many agencies providing support to disaster survivors of Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Super Storm Sandy through the New York State Disaster Case Management Program.   The program is operated by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York under the auspices of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Office of Emergency Management and funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“I thank God for Catholic Charities and these wonderful workers,” Swart said standing near her front door that was surrounded by climbing morning glories. “It’s a godsend because the roof would not have made it through another winter.”

Check out these photos and read the full story published in the Times Union.

Do you need disaster relief assistance?

Help is here.

 

Help & Hope Career Coaching Workshops

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Join us at St. Christopher’s Parish Center in Red Hook, NY.

Catholic Charities Community Services is offering two free career coaching workshops with Ann Ruecker, MA, MPA and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC).  She will work with you on staying motivated in these tough economic times, as well as where and how to look for jobs, networking techniques, building a better resume and cover letter, and other documentation that can be used when job searching.

By attending these two workshops, you are eligible for (3) one-hour personal coaching sessions.

Register now for the next series of workshops:

Part 1: Monday, September 9, 2013               6:15pm-8:30pm

Part 2: Monday, September 16, 2013             6:15pm-8:30pm

Workshops will be held at St. Christopher’s Parish Center, 30 Benner Road, Red Hook, NY  12571

Space is limited – Please register by September 6th.   

Contact Catholic Charities at (845) 452-1400 ext. 4905 or e-mail  mary.marshall@archny.org for registration and/or further information.

Riding Leprechaun Buses; Running for Team Catholic Charities

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

By Ed Gallagher

Many lives have been forever changed and even destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. It heightened my resolve to live life more fully and not procrastinate on my dreams and goals. These two devastating events, one natural, one man made, exemplified the dichotomy of life:  Life is truly fragile, but it is also amazingly resilient for those that survive.

I have never run a marathon, but it has always been on my “bucket list”. I figured I’d better do it sooner than later as I know it won’t get any easier as each year passes.

I grew up as a competitive swimmer, starting at age 5. I started running cross country in high school to get in shape for the winter swim season. I instantly fell in love with many aspects of running; the challenge both mental and physical, the solitude of training and camaraderie of race day. It gives me time to think about issues at work and home, put life into perspective and be a better husband, father, friend and employer.

I stopped running for many years as I got involved with family business and started a family. I am president of The Leprechaun Transportation Group, a small group of passenger transportation companies providing school bus, transit, commuter and charter motor coach service in the Hudson Valley and beyond. It is a third-generation family-owned enterprise started by my grandfather in 1934. My hope is that it becomes a fourth-generation family business.

My wife, Mary Jane, and I live with our four children; Katie, 15, Caroline 14, Eddie, 12, and Joseph, 9, in Montgomery, NY.  We are members of Most Precious Blood parish and our kids have attended this parish school.

I began running again a few years ago to be able to keep up with my kids, lose my “spare tire” and be fit mentally and physically.

Meanwhile, several years ago Sr. Joann Dress, CEO of Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, approached me to become a board member. I agreed with little understanding of the full extent of their work.  From day one, I have been thoroughly impressed with the board’s and staff’s dedication, passion, focus and operational efficiencies of this organization. They touch so many lives in this community.  You can’t help but be drawn to help with their mission.

Running as a member of Team Catholic Charities allows me to fulfill a personal goal while also fulfilling a charitable goal.

I truly appreciate this opportunity.

Help support Ed’s ING NYC Marathon campaign. Click here to find out how: www.crowdrise.com/CatholicCharitiesNYC2013/fundraiser/edgallagher

Congress Debates Immigration Reform; Catholic Charities Focuses on Dignity of Work

Friday, July 12th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities has long helped victims who have undergone the horrendous humiliation of human trafficking regain their dignity through one of the most basic of human activities, work.

We now extend our Dignity of Work program to those waiting to be certified as victims of human trafficking as well as certain crime victims who hold U-Visas.

Those eligible receive:

  • Employment preparation services, including employment readiness classes
  • Resume assistance
  • Mock interviews
  • Financial resources for employment training
  • Social services

Finding work in the U.S. can be hard, and many immigrants and refugees are drawn to America for the opportunity to better themselves. Catholic Charities helps those who want to be employed, but find it difficult to know where to start.

Catholic Charities agencies can help refugees, asylees, Cuban/Haitian entrants and victims of trafficking develop a resume, learn a skill, practice interview skills, and learn how to search for a job. They can also set up job interviews through a wide network of employers who have come to rely on the good judgment of our staff in matching employment needs with qualified workers.

At Catholic Charities NY, in any given year:

  • 2,176 families provided with expert counsel and safeguarded from exploitation
  • 28,332      calls for help answered promptly with accurate information in 18 languages
  • 478   breadwinners helped to obtain authorization to work
  • 324   immigrants reunited with their families
  • 457   individual refugees resettled
  • 72    immigrants taught English and civics
  • 42    asylum seekers provided with legal representation

Dignity of Work is an initiative of the Anti-Trafficking Program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Do you need help?  Call our New York State (NYS) New Americans Hotline: 1-212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (Toll-free in NYS).

Burned Down, Rebuilt and Cherished, New Community Center Both Reality and Miracle

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

By Alice Kenny 

At a grand-opening event marked by laughter, tears and gratitude, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan blessed the Catholic Charities Community Center on Adams Street last Friday, June 28.

“Isn’t this place something,” Cardinal Dolan said. “The word miracle’s been used and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. When you come in here you feel right at home…There’s a warmth; there’s an embrace…That’s what we like and that’s what people need and deserve.”

The building was bought by Catholic Charities in 2009 and was being renovated with a $2.1 million state grant after a fire on Dec. 21, 2010 wracked considerable damage to the three-story former St. Peter’s School building. The roof collapsed and there was smoke and water damage throughout the 18,000-square-foot structure.

On Friday, after offering his blessing, the cardinal splashed holy water and joked, “This is a fire retardant, too.”

The Catholic Charities center, formally known as the Father Edmund Burke Ulster County Catholic Charities Community Center, is at 6 Adams Street on a property perched above lower Broadway in the Kingston’s Rondout District. Fr. Burke, formerly the priest at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on lower Broadway, attended Friday’s ceremony.

The center was about a week away from opening when the 2010 fire set back the renovation effort. Following a second round of renovations, the center now is home to the offices for Ulster County Catholic Charities; a food pantry run by the group; the Agri-Business Child Development agency that offers early childhood education and social services to farm workers’ families and other eligible families; and a large gymnasium for Catholic Youth Organization sports programs. The gym hosted Friday’s ceremony.

Rebuilding the center relied on teamwork and hard work. Thomas J. Kelly, Regional Director of Ulster County Catholic Charities, extended special recognition to Johann Huleatt on behalf of the Bruderhof Community and Community Playthings for their gift of equipment and toys for the renovated waiting room and Tom Urtz and Lew Foote on behalf of ShopRite Supermarkets and the Wakefern Group for their donation of wire shelving and refrigeration units used in the center’s new food pantry.

“Who goes to Catholic Charities?” Cardinal Dolan asked a crowd that included Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, New York Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Kingston Mayor Shane Gallo and a host of others.

“People who have no where else to go,” he answered. “That’s what this is about…You got somebody hungry; You got somebody who needs legal help, … immigration help …a loving, safe, tender place for their kids. You need some place where our people can recreate. They come here because there’s a magnificent diversity of ways that we welcome people as family. We honor their human dignity. We recognize them as a child of God.”

 

Hungry and Need Help?

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Did you know that thanks to Catholic Charities and our affiliated agencies, in any given year:

6.6 M nutritious meals are served in parish and community food programs

6,981  Families are prevented from becoming homeless

1,487  Individuals are housed in temporary and transitional apartments

9,051  Individuals are provided with emergency overnight shelter

6,109  Families are living in affordable housing

For more information about a particular program and/or service, click below:

Emergency Meals  • Temporary and Transitional Residences  • Eviction Prevention  • Permanent Affordable Housing  • Emergency Shelters

If you need help in finding the services you need please call the Catholic Charities Help line at: 888-744-7900.

Catholic Charities works in partnership with others in feeding the hungry. Here are helpful resources:

  • NYC 24 Hour Hunger Hotline: 1-(866)-NYC-FOOD (1-866-692-3663)
  • Food Bank for New York City: www.foodbanknyc.org. See “Agency Network” and “Agency Directory.”
  • New York City Coalition Against Hunger: www.nyccah.org. See “Hungermaps.”