Archive for the ‘Hudson Valley’ Category

Produce the Produce

Friday, May 9th, 2014

 

Join us this Saturday, May 10, 2014, at noon for our “Produce the Produce” annual kickoff and 5th annual Blessing of the Soil!

Produce the Produce is our proactive effort at Catholic Community Services of Rockland (CCSR), an affiliate of Catholic Charities, to get more freshly grown fruits and vegetables on the tables of people in need.

In 2013, we harvested 6,000 pounds of fresh produce and received more than 7,000 pounds of produce from local farmers and individual growers that we distributed to participants enrolled in our Food Pantry. Special thanks to Stokes Farm, the nearly 150-year-old farm located in Old Tappen, N.J. that donated thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Rockland County Executive Director Ed Day will lead us tomorrow in celebrating the planting of vegetables in our “Garden of Love” that now includes just-completed raised growing beds built by a local Eagle Scout and his Boy Scout Troop 97.  The raised beds will accommodate more produce and make it easier for more people of all abilities to help.

To ensure we have a plentiful bounty, Catholic Charities Executive Director will lead our special annual Blessing of the Soil.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 25 percent of adults, and even fewer children, eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. For those most in-need in Rockland County that number is estimated at less than 10 percent.

“Produce the Produce” serves as  catalyst to engage other community and parish gardens, local farmers markets and  citizen to grow and donate fresh food for those in need.

Join us tomorrow at Produce the Produce.

Meet us at Catholic Community Services of Rockland (CCSR) “Garden of Love,” 78 Hudson Avenue, Haverstraw, NY 10927

For more information call 845-942-5791.

Disabled Teens Take Their Turn Changing Lives

Friday, March 14th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

In a classroom decorated with primary-colored posters detailing how to tell time, multiply and “Follow Your Conscience,” teens with various disabilities from St. Dominic’s School packed boxes with donated food to support Catholic Charities “Feeding Our Neighbors” campaign.

“A lot of these children feel disconnected,” said St. Dominic’s Principal Paul Siragusa. “Helping feed the hungry makes them feel they have an impact on society that they never before could have dreamed of.”

And the 80 students, ages 5- 21, had a major impact. Together they took on the entire food drive, from making posters to studying foods’ nutritional values to soliciting donations to preparing food for distribution. All told, the students collected 500 pounds of food, enough to provide the hungry with 625 meals.

Some of the financially less fortunate children contributed as well, which, Mr. Siragusa said, “was worth more than an adults bringing in an entire bag.”

Located in Rockland County’s rolling hills, St. Dominic’s School provides targeted learning for children with special needs. Its intimate size, including two instructors for every eight students, is balanced by its large reputation. St. Dominic’s draws children from New York City, Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties whose needs are too great to be met by their local schools.

The school is part of Saint Dominic’s Home. This nonprofit Catholic social welfare agency affiliated with Catholic Charities is dedicated to meeting the educational, physical, social, emotional, medical, vocational and spiritual needs of 2,300 individuals who are developmentally disabled, socially disadvantaged and/or vocationally challenged.

Founded in 1878, Saint Dominic’s Home began as a safe haven for immigrant children who had been abandoned on the streets of New York City. Today, St. Dominc’s Home provides person-centered care for individuals with developmental disabilities in the Bronx, Orange and Rockland counties so they can live their lives with hope and dignity in a family-like setting. It prepares and supports foster parents so they can give children, who often have been neglected, abused, or abandoned, a brighter future and a loving home and family. It delivers a continuum of care to adults with mental illness and provides them the greatest level of independence. It grows the minds of disadvantaged preschoolers so they are motivated to excel. It gives children and youth with developmental disabilities and serious emotional disturbance living at home the opportunity to live in a more stable family environment.

And, through St. Dominic’s School, it enables children facing emotional and educational challenges to reach their potential.

The food drive, Mr. Siragusa said, has served as a springboard for a variety of activities. Students now participate in “Letters to the Heroes” where they write letters to soldiers thanking them for their service. They also take part in “Operation Goody Bag,” sending candy and homemade Valentine’s Day cards to first responders.

Despite their personal challenges, the students have learned, Mr. Siragusa said, that “there is always something they can do to help someone else.”

Learn more about St. Dominic’s School and Home.

Teens Trade in Washington Heights for Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Trading in their Washington Heights neighborhood for a tour of Washington, D.C., more than three dozen low-income teens checked out monuments and colleges in our nation’s capital during their recent winter break, thanks to Catholic Charities Community Services-Alianza Division.

The tour, funded through a grant from the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation and collaboration with the High School for Media & Communications and Catholic Charities Community Services-Alianza Division, offered the students a glimpse of a future outside their neighborhood, a reason to study, and a step-by-step outline of how to apply for and get accepted by top-tier universities.

The visit included stops at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington and Lincoln memorials, a tour of Georgetown, George Washington and Howard universities and photos and selfies in front of the White House.

The trip was one of – and many say the most fun – of numerous offerings  Catholic Charities Alianza Division offers young people in the Washington Heights school community.

All the offerings share the same goal:  to inspire students to dream big and give them the resources to make it happen.

“Severe Weather Week” Starts Today

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

National Severe Weather Week poster

By Alice Kenny

Wow. This was a close one.  While more than a foot of snow was predicted to pummel New York today, the reality, thankfully, turned into just a dusting.

But as we learned this winter when more than five feet of snow pounded our homes, streets and sidewalks and temperatures dropped – and dropped again — into the single digits, severe weather can be just around the corner.

That’s why Catholic Charities  is proud to support National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 2-8, 2014.

Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is a nationwide effort designed to increase awareness of the severe weather that affects everyone and to encourage individuals, families’ businesses and communities to know their risk, take action, and be an example.

As we know firsthand from Hurricane Sandy, being prepared to act quickly can be a matter of survival. Even though severe weather was anticipated in advance, many in the impacted areas said they did not have a plan and were caught unprepared.

Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.

  • Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts.
  • Take Action: Before storms strike, develop a family communication plan and pull together an emergency supplies kit.
  • Be an Example: Share your preparedness story with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Letting others know that you’re prepared will prompt them to prepare as well. Social media provides the perfect platform to model preparedness actions for others.

Being weather ready is a collective effort. It takes the whole community to effectively prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against damages caused by hurricanes, severe thunderstorms and other severe weather.

Learn more at www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severe-weather the Spanish-language web site www.ready.gov/es. Follow the National Weather Service @nws and FEMA @readygov on Twitter.

 

Where None Are So Poor They Have Nothing to Give; None So Rich They Have Nothing to Receive

Friday, February 28th, 2014

L-R: Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Peter C. Georgiopoulos, Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, John A. Thain, Pat Battle and Catherine Kinney


Check out the inspiring vision Msgr. Kevin Sullivan shared with a packed crowd on Wednesday, February 26, at Catholic Charities annual gala at The Waldorf-Astoria on Wednesday.

During the past year, stock markets have hit a new high.  New York City has a new Mayor. Tragically, new violence and ongoing civil unrest afflict countries with familiar and unfamiliar names, Pope Francis, whom everybody is quoting, has been named Time’s Person of the Year, and in case you hadn’t noticed it’s snowed a bit.    

And through all of this – daily Catholic Charities compassionately and effectively provided emergency meals, prevented evictions, counseled families recovering from Super-Storm Sandy, provided day care for working moms, welcomed immigrants by teaching  English and finding jobs and established a new youth wellness program – and much more. 

Your critical support for Catholic Charities helps to deepen and expand these services, meet unmet and new needs and strengthen a network of some 90 agencies that carries out this vital work in the communities and neighborhoods of greater New York.

Also we have a new buzz word: “inequality.”  For Catholic Charities inequality is not a spiritual catchphrase, nor a political slogan and certainly not a mantra-like wedge to be used to divide us from each other.  For Catholic Charities, inequality is the sad reality that our staff and volunteers encounter every day in our neighbors – a reality that urgently challenges us to come together to build a common good in which the basics – decent housing, nutritious meals, a good job and a supportive and loving family – are had by all. 

Our core belief that every person is made in the image of God demands no less from us.  

Catholic Charities works with individuals who, along with being poor and struggling, have remarkable strengths.  We envision a world of greater solidarity which builds on, and draws from, the strengths and resources of us all –  a world in which none are so poor that they have nothing to give and none too rich that they have nothing to receive.

Find out more about the event and its honorees

Check out these just-released gala photos.

Looking for more inspiration? Watch our just-released video, “Stories of Help & Hope” now.

Cabin Fever?

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

You gotta be kidding.  Twenty major snow storms since December.  Twice as much snow – 60 inches! – as the year before.  And temperatures dipping yet again into the single digits.

Getting cabin fever?

You betcha.

Well, here at Catholic Charities we have the cure.

With dozens of volunteer opportunities to choose from, we’re certain to have the perfect outlet for you.

So don’t let the weather keep you stuck inside.

How about:

Career Day Presenter

Share your expertise with teens at our annual Career Day on March 13.  Examples of past professional presenters include fire fighters, doctors, accountants, entrepreneurs, college representatives, professors, police officers, dancers, chefs and many more.

Community Outreach Liaison

This volunteer opportunity gets you out big time.  It involves distributing fliers, posters and other outreach material to let folks who live in Bronx Community District 2 — including Parkchester, Longwood, Soundview, Hunts Point, etc.–  know about homeless services available.

Rotating Intake Pantry Manager

You’ll provide support at our food pantries in Washington Heights, the Upper East Side and East Harlem

Corporate Engagement Workshop Presenters

Is your company, team, office or women’s network interested in giving back? Serve as a model/mentor and help us find meaningful jobs for low-income, unemployed women.

Opportunities span from writing resumes to teaching women what it means to “lean in.”

Virtual Database Assistant

Not quite ready to venture out?  Our virtual data base assistants type and compile mailing lists for our new Washington Heights Community Center.

And that’s just for starters.

Click here to find the volunteer opportunity that inspires you.

Pastor, Senator, County Exec and More Honored by Catholic Charities

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Rev. Michael McLoughlin, pastor of the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, will be honored with a presentation of the 2014 Caritas Awards at the eighth annual Celebration of Charity on Thursday, April 3.

The event, sponsored by Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, will be held at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor.

This year’s other honorees are state Sen. William J. Larkin Jr. and Joseph and Mary Bonura, owners of the Bonura Hospitality Group of Hudson Valley venues including Anthony’s Pier 9.

McLoughlin is a founding member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities in Orange County and has worked with Catholic Charities for 18 years.

That same evening former County Executive Edward M. Diana will receive a special Lifetime Achievement Award for his service from 2001-2013.

Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County is one of the human service agencies of Catholic Charities of The Archdiocese of New York.The organization’s mission is to serve the homeless, the hungry, the emotionally and physically handicapped, immigrants, the marginalized and vulnerable of Orange County.

Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County collaborates with parishes and non-Catholic and Catholic partners to help people of all faiths who are in need.

Information about tickets to the Celebration of Charity will be available soon.Call 294-5124 or visit www.catholiccharitiesoc.org

Check out the full story in the Warwick Advertiser.

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.