Archive for the ‘Hudson Valley’ Category

As Winter Storm “Pax” Pounds New York, Catholic Charities Promotes Peace and Safety from This Weather Nightmare.

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Not again.  If weather forecasts are right we may be in for the worst storm of the winter today – and that’s saying something.  Predictions include up to a foot of snow in parts of the Archdiocese.  Gusty winds combined with ice and snow could tear down electrical wires and trigger power outages.  New York City, meanwhile, is preparing to once again be sandwiched by the new winter special – snow/sleet/freezing rain – with a snow season total of four feet expected by the end of the day.

Who’s the joker who named this storm, anyway?  This deadly winter mix that began barreling through the south on Tuesday has already caused at least five weather-related traffic deaths  according to a recent Reuters report.

So New Yorkers beware. Catholic Charities, working with the Office of Emergency Management, is here to help.

New York City’s Office of Emergency Management offers multiple tips for staying warm and safe, from what to do if you lose heat to what to do if you get stuck on the road and are afraid you are developing frostbite.*

If you need help, please call the phone numbers below right away:

If you or someone else is in danger, fell through cracking ice, suspect carbon monoxide poisoning or see a homeless person cold, alone and on the streets:

  • Call 911

If you lose heat or have frozen pipes:

  • Call 311

If you lose power, call your power provider:

  • Con Edison 24-hour hotline: 1-800-75-CONED (752-6633)
  • National Grid 24-hour hotline: 1-718-643-4050
  • Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) 24-hour hotline: 1-800-490-0025
    Learn more about power disruptions

If You Must Drive a Vehicle

Whenever possible, avoid driving in a winter storm. If you must go out, it is safer to take public transportation. However, if you must drive or get caught in a storm, heed the following tips:

  • Avoid traveling alone, but if you do so, let someone know your destination, route and when you expect to arrive.
  • Dress warmly. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in layers.
  • Listen to the radio or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions.
  • Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible; these roadways will be cleared first.
  • Drive slowly. Posted speed limits are for ideal weather conditions. Vehicles take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement.
  • Four-wheel drive vehicles may make it easier to drive on snow-covered roads, but they do not stop quicker than other vehicles.
  • If you skid, steer in the direction you want the car to go and straighten the wheel when the car moves in the desired direction.
  • Know your vehicle’s braking system. Vehicles with antilock brakes require a different braking technique than vehicles without antilock brakes in icy or snowy conditions.
  • Try to keep your vehicle’s gas tank as full as possible.

IF YOU GET STUCK ON THE ROAD:

  • Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety unless help is visible within 100 yards. You could become disoriented in blowing snow.
  • Display a trouble sign if you need help; tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna and raise the hood to alert rescuers.
  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the car is running so you can be seen.
  • Move your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.
  • Keep one window slightly open to let in fresh air. Use a window that is opposite the direction the wind is blowing.

*Click here for more safety tips from NYC Office of Emergency Management.

Do you need help?
Call the Catholic Charities Help Line: 888-744-7900, or email us through our contact form.

Gov. Cuomo Declares State of Emergency

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Stay safe. Stay inside. Call 311 if you need help.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency today, Wednesday, February 5, as another storm pounds the region with snow, sleet and freezing rain.

Winter storm warnings are now in effect for the entire area until 6pm. Heavy snow is transitioning to sleet and freezing rain.

Please use extra caution if you must venture out today. Temperatures are below freezing  in our region and even as the snow changes to rain, it is freezing and creating a sheet of ice on all surfaces.

Due to the storm and icing conditions, NYC Department for the Aging closed all senior centers for Wednesday, February 5, 2014.

To ensure seniors’ safety, we ask that all seniors avoid going outside until the storm has cleared and call their respective senior centers and/or 311 to find out more information about post-storm operations.

Meanwhile, The New York City Office of Emergency Management issued a hazardous travel advisory and Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging commuters to use mass transit. However, due to signal problems, there are currently numerous 1, 2, 3 train service disruptions between Times Square and each line’s northernmost stop. For updates, please visit www.mta.info.

But the best advice is to stay inside. Ice associated with the storm can knock down trees and power lines and make walking treacherous.

Check out NYC OEM’s FB page for updates.

Do you need help?
Call the Catholic Charities Help Line: 888-744-7900, or email us through our contact form.

Faces of Hunger

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Yet another day of snow, ice and freezing rain. New Yorkers we know now face the choice of keeping warm or feeding their families.

They commute from food bank to soup kitchen as the Senate poises today to vote on still deeper cuts in the SNAP food stamp program.

For budget crunchers, these hungry children and families are just a number.

For us, they are folks we know, care about and serve.

We invite you to meet a few of the faces of hunger introduced by the Hunger Action Network of NYS.*

Kim

Family of two, a disabled grandmother and her granddaughter

We don’t get enough SNAP benefits to cover me and my granddaughter. We are so grateful for the food pantry. It helps us out a lot. Most of the money we have is from SSI, and it just cover bills to survive. There is no room for any extras.

Kim relies upon SNAP benefits, free lunch programs, food pantries, and church assistance in order to provide enough food for her family.

Kim says:
If we didn’t have these programs, we would suffer a lot more than we do. The struggles from day to day would be a lot worse than they are. We try our hardest, because we know others have needs also.

Faces of Hunger – Kim

Faces of Hunger – Kim

Colleen

Disabled, and living alone.

I receive food stamps and do not get enough to get through the month without this program. Food pantries have definitely subsidized my needs. Without these services, I would probably go hungry most months.

Faces of Hunger – Colleen

 

Laureen

I am poor and disabled. My son lives with me, and grandkids are with me on the weekends. SNAP doesn’t stretch.

Faces of Hunger – Laureen

 

Beth

I am a divorced, diabetic woman. My 19 year old grandson lives with me.

I lost my job as an accountant for my town, because of tax cuts. My trailer is old and falling apart. My van is old and in constant need of repairs. I still have student loans which I have to pay, and my grandson has student loans as well. I have over $125.00 in medicine costs per month.

I get a small amount of SNAP, so I really appreciate the help from the food pantry. I hope to get HEAP this year.

Faces of Hunger – Beth

 

Debbie

Debbie’s household consists of herself and her boyfriend. She only gets food stamps and SSI, and her boyfriend was laid off from work. They depend on SNAP and the food pantry in Cuba as their primary food resources. Debbie feels that these services are “really good for helping anyone” in need.

Faces of Hunger – Debbie

Faces of Hunger – Debbie

 

Katherine (Kathy)

There are ten in Katherine’s household, including five adults and five children. Three of the adults are on disability, and are diabetic. One of the children is a special needs child. One adult works full time in a minimum wage job, and another works two part time jobs. The household has many medical and car repair bills. They receive SNAP benefits, which helps them buy food for the children, and participate in local food pantry programming. The also get HEAP benefits, which help them heat their large house which has especially high heating bills in the winter.

She writes:
“Without these services, we wouldn’t be able to keep everyone fed.

Faces of Hunger – Kathy

Faces of Hunger – Kathy

 

Jenn

Jenn’s family consists of two adults and two children. Her daughter has medical issues, and needs a wheat, gluten, and corn free diet. Her food is, therefore, very expensive. Both Jenn and her daughter are disabled, and their income is limited. The only receive $80 a month for food stamps, and that doesn’t go far enough for all of their nutritional needs. They frequently find themselves out of food and Cuba Cultural Center’s food pantry helps them out a great deal. If they didn’t receive SNAP benefits and go to the food pantry, the children would be eating while Jenn and her boyfriend went hungry.

Faces of Hunger – Jenn

John

John is retired and lives alone. He has no central heat, no water, and only minimal electricity. His house needs a great deal of work. He is happy that he has a roof over his head and can be relatively warm.

John shares:

“Everything, and I mean everything, has become so much more expensive. Being on minimal Social Security Retirement, and having severe arthritis makes it difficult and limits my options. The food pantry makes it a bit easier and give that ever important “hope” to live.”

Because of the food pantry, John doesn’t feel so alone anymore.

John does receive SNAP benefits, and looks forward each month to the day when those benefits come in. Food pantries provide John with “additional nutrition and eases the financial strain of purchasing groceries.” He describes his local food pantry as being “very much like a social gathering, a bringing together of community.” John feels this is “very healthy and healing for all involved.”

Faces of Hunger – John

Faces of Hunger – John

 

Tonya & Family

Tonya is a single mom with three young children. She is unable to work and is applying for disability. Life is difficult, and Tonya struggles every month to make sure that her children’s needs are met. They have benefitted greatly from SNAP, financial and food pantry assistance, and subsidized housing. Without these programs, Tonya would be unable to provide for her family.

Faces of Hunger – Tonya & Family

*Hunger Action Network of NYS

Learn more about SNAP cuts the U.S. Senate plans to vote on today.

Help Us Feed Our Neighbors.

CYO Celebrates Super Bowl as It Helps Feed Our Neighbors

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Cheering and booing as the Seahawks trounced the Broncos, CYO teammates, coaches and kids from Resurrection parish in Rye gathered yesterday at Butterfield 8 restaurant in White Plains to celebrate the Super Bowl and raise funds for the Feeding Our Neighbors campaign.

Over 50 families from Resurrection’s CYO program attended this event they organized and hosted. Together, they raised more than $10,000 for the Feeding Our Neighbors campaign that will enable us to feed 40,000 additional hungry New Yorkers.

The Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) is a division of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. CYO programs across the Archdiocese participated in the Feeding Our Neighbors food drive campaign.

The campaign represents a united effort to fight hunger. It responds to Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s call that we all do our part to replenish the food pantries and soup kitchens in our community that so many families in our community rely on to survive.

100% of contributions to the campaign will support local food pantries that serve New Yorkers, non-Catholic and Catholic alike.

The NFL season has ended but hunger continues to grow.

Help us Feed Our Neighbors.

Click here and specify “Feeding Our Neighbors” in the comments field.
Or text “CCHOPE” to 85944 to make a quick, easy $10 donation.

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.