Archive for the ‘New York City’ Category

Volunteers Rally to Shop for Those in Need

Friday, December 19th, 2014



Over 500 volunteers teamed with Catholic Charities’ Junior Board and staff to purchase over $100,000 worth of basic necessities for more than 3,000 needy New Yorkers at K-mart in lower Manhattan during the agency’s annual St. Nicholas Project Shopping Day.

Cheered by Christmas music sung from store speakers, volunteer shoppers checked personalized lists to fill their carts with winter items including coats, hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters, pajamas and blankets to stay warm.

“Today is one of the most joyful of the Catholic Charities activities of the year,” Msgr. Sullivan said.

The St. Nicholas Project, supported by donations and volunteers from Catholic Charities, provides individuals and families in need with gifts of necessity including winter clothing and household supplies.  This support continues throughout the year thanks to Catholic Charities caseworkers who aid the same individuals through job training and classes, immigration assistance, food from Catholic Charities’ many food pantries and support for children, adults, the elderly and those with special needs.

Looking for friends, family and fellow volunteers?

Check out this Facebook photo album.

Celebrate Christmas Now

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

christmas volunteerLooking for a great way to kick off the Christmas season? Check out these volunteer opportunities. They extend from the Lower East Side all the way up to Yonkers and include helping with holiday parties, wrapping gifts and painting faces. Find the holiday volunteer opportunity tailored just for you.


Christmas Party Volunteers  
Learn More
Friday, Dec 19th 5-8:00 PM
(South) Bronx, NY 10454

Carolers for Christmas Party 
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Friday, Dec 19th 5-8:00 PM
(South) Bronx, NY 10454

Wrapping Gifts
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Tuesday, Dec 23 various times
East Harlem

Three Kings Day Party
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Sunday, Jan 4
Yonkers, NY
Annual Children’s Party
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Sunday Jan 11, 2:30 pm
Lower East Side, NYC 10009
Balloon Artist/Face Painter
Learn More
Sunday, Jan 11th, 2:30-6 PM
Lower East Side, NYC 10009

For Young & Rubicam Volunteers: Four Days, Four Catholic Charities Programs & a Big Difference Made

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

In a single week last month 31 volunteers from Young & Rubicam spent 146 hours over four days in four different locations to help Catholic Charities and our affiliated agencies improve the lives and environments of those we serve.

At Incarnation Center on Audubon Avenue in Washington Heights, at Our Lady of Sorrows Food Pantry on the Lower East Side, at Catholic Guardian Services on Grand Concourse  in the Bronx and at our own building at 1011 First Avenue in Midtown East, the Young & Rubicam volunteers showed their spirited enthusiasm to help in diverse tasks and locations throughout the city.

Would you like to volunteer?

Join us now during the holiday season and throughout the year.

Find a volunteer opportunity just right for you.

Stoking Her Children’s Creative Fires, and Struggling to Stay Warm

Monday, December 15th, 2014

photo 4Natasha Mohammed pulled from the oven in her West Harlem home a piping tray of cakes baked with oatmeal and coconut from her own recipe. The youngest of her seven children, Jahanna, 15, costumed in her mother’s old polka-dot dress, walked a plate of the cakes into the living room, where they were set upon by her sisters, Leah, 17, and Hannah, 19.

In addition to love, food and plans for the future, the family now has another essential — heat.

Last winter, Ms. Mohammed struggled to pay her heating bill. At times, she fought the chill with two electric heaters and her oven.

“I had to prioritize what bills to pay,” Ms. Mohammed, 52, said. “We were cold, we were extremely cold.”

Ms. Mohammed sought out Catholic Big Brothers and Big Sisters (an affiliate of Catholic Charities) to pair her three youngest daughters with mentors because their fathers were largely absent.

When a caseworker learned of Ms. Mohammed’s struggle to heat her home, she secured $270 from the fund to pay the electric bills.

With her unpaid bills taken care of,she can now focus solely on her children. And on new recipes, which she hopes will lead to another job.

“Going forward it’s about my kids,” she said. “Making sure they live up to their potential and their opportunities.”

Read the full New York Times story now.

Help us help our fellow New Yorkers.

Catholic Charities’ Mario Russell Speaks About Immigration on NPR Radio

Friday, December 12th, 2014

“Crossing the U.S. Mexican border is a harrowing journey for many Central Americans,” reports Alexandra Starr on National Public Radio (NPR).

“More than 57,000 child migrants made that trip this year and many reported being physically and sexually abused.”

The State Department launched a program this month that creates a safe passage to the United States from Central America. It would give some U.S.-based Latino parents the chance to bring over children they left in their home countries…

Parents who want their children to interview to come to the U.S. will have to submit the requests through organizations like Catholic Charities.

Mario Russell, with Catholic Charities in New York, says he thinks this new program acknowledges how bad things are in some Central American countries.

“The old models, I think, by which families were divided, that is to say that some children stayed in the home country were raised by a grandparent, just don’t work anymore because the conditions have become really unsustainable, and that’s why I think they’re leaving in large measure,” Russell says.

Listen to the full program on NPR.

Day Laborer Holiday Celebration

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

poasadasMembers of Obreros Unidos, day laborers and their families served by Catholic Charities in Yonkers have begun Posadas, a Mexican Christmas season tradition that dramatizes the search of Joseph and Mary for lodging. They were joined this year by six monks from the Franciscan Friars of Renewal, three seminarians and a host of others including the Fátima choir from St. Peter Church.

So many joined along because they wanted to mark this special time for these laboring men and their families who, during the frigid winter and all year round, wait on street corners hoping for work.  During this holiday they talk, sing and pray as they carry a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe from home to home. Nine families chosen to host the statue place it on uniquely decorated alters.  After that, they share personal prayers, the Holy Spirit and a welcome for their fellow travelers.

During the feast, they share a little about their current hardships, challenges, and hopes for the future. This process continues night after night until December 12, the date the Virgin of Guadalupe is commemorated and put to rest at St. Peters Parish.

“The goal of the Posadas, aside from the commemoration and ability to celebrate a tradition, was to create another environment where workers could unite, share their beliefs, and discuss their challenges,” says Catholic Charities Day Laborer Organizer Janet Hernández.

Luncheon Unites 1,000; Kicks Off Christmas Season

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014


More than 1,000 people attended the 69th Annual Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City on December 8, 2014. This famed holiday affair draws generous New Yorkers to benefit women and children served by the agencies and programs affiliated with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

The event, sponsored by Catholic Charities and the Ladies of Charity and hosted by His Eminence, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, raised nearly $900,000. Author Mary Higgins Clark chaired the lunch. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities offered the Invocation.

As Honorary Luncheon Chairman, Cardinal Dolan along with Nancy Waters of the Ladies of Charity presented Ana Laffont with the “Christmas Angel” award. The annual award honors individuals that manifest generosity of spirit evidenced through compassionate outreach to those in need. Ms. Laffont serves as Chair of the Board for Mary’s Meals USA, a non-profit organization that provides meals for poverty-stricken children from around the world.

Also honored were Robert and Joyce Giuffra with the Spirit of St. Nicholas Award. This award is presented annually to individuals who have brought the light and hope of the Christmas season into the lives of those who too often go without them, not just during the holiday, but all year long. The Giuffra’s join a roster of other inspired and committed New Yorker’s who have received this honor. Joyce was former press secretary to Senator Bob Dole and Bob is a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. They and their 3 children are members of St. Thomas More parish.

“Standing here, I can’t help but think about the sacrifices of my grandparents, the long hours they worked, the fears they had to overcome,” Mr. Giuffra said as he accepted the award. “Thanks to the work of Catholic Charities, today’s immigrants have a home in America…My grandmother was a fierce believer in the awesome power of Catholic charity. Thank you all so much.”

The afternoon event, filled with carols sung by professionals, children and guests, provided the perfect kick-off for the Christmas season. Noted Mezzo-Soprano Isabel Leonard from the Metropolitan Opera performed. Our Lady of Pompeii Children’s Choir sang “Silent Night” with guests as they entered and exited the luncheon. And students from Saint John Chrysostom performed the Christmas tableau while Cardinal Dolan narrated the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. Martha MacCallum, Co-anchor America’s Newsroom, (FOX News Channel), tied it all together as the event’s emcee.

The annual holiday event raises funds for Catholic Charities to support programs that help thousands of needy women and children of all religions throughout the 10 counties of the Archdiocese.

Looking for inspiration?  Read Msgr. Sullivan’s invocation. 

Check out this Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon slideshow on FaceBook. 

Have Questions About Immigration Reform?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

With tempers flaring and others cheering President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform, online commentator Joe Torres dedicated an entire WABC 7 Tiempo show to explain the action’s ins and outs.

To help break it down, he turned to Catholic Charities Community Services Executive Director Beatriz Diaz Taveras and fellow experts during this recent Sunday televised round-table discussion.

The executive action grants special legal status to up to five million immigrants.

The order protects from deportation mostly parents of children born in the United States who

  • Have lived here for 5 years or more
  • Pay a $500 fee
  • Have no criminal record

“This is a humanitarian effort and its really keeping families together,” Ms. Taveras tells Torres.“It’s keeping those United States citizen children and lawful permanent resident children with their parents. …I really think we have to focus on the families as a whole unit and keep the families together and that is exactly what this executive action does.”

Do you have questions about immigration reform?

Call Catholic Charities-administered New York State Immigration Hotline at 800-566-7636.

Threatened Gambian Journalist Wants to Rescue His Daughter

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

photo 3By John Otis

The New York Times

Friends are few in number and relatives live an ocean away, but since moving from his native country, Gambia, Buya Jammeh has gained something precious,” writes John Otis in this New York Times Neediest Cases article.

“This is the land of liberty,” Mr. Jammeh, 32, said. “Since I stepped my foot in the United States, I feel like I’m O.K., I’m a free man. I’ve regained the life I lost. I have nothing to fear in the U.S.”

Mr. Jammeh grew up in the north bank region of Gambia. After high school, he began a career in journalism. Gambia has a weak independent press, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists; Mr. Jammeh said he had been threatened many times, and beaten by the military police…

With help from the immigration department of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, Mr. Jammeh was granted asylum in June.

Catholic Charities, one of the agencies supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, is also helping Mr. Jammeh petition to bring his wife and 2-year-old daughter to the United States. He wants them to arrive before his child gets much older.

“In Africa, they still practice female genital mutilation,” Mr. Jammeh said. “I have a daughter. If she’s 4 or 5, she’s going through the same process, and I don’t want her to be subjected to that kind of process. It’s tradition. They don’t need to take permission from you as the father.”

Read the full New York Times story now.

Help us help the Jammeh family and fellow courageous New Yorkers.

Humans of New York Features Kennedy Child Study Center

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Super news.

Humans of New York, the widely popular online chronicle with 11,113,930 likes on Facebook — more than New York City has residents — featured our affiliate, Kennedy Child Study Center, in their post today.  Together we serve New York’s most vulnerable children.

Check out the Humans of New York post below:

“I’ve always been drawn to children with special needs. I had a bunch of stuffed animals when I was a kid, and I’d sit them in rows and pretend to be their teacher. There was one bear named Moscow who had a broken eye and ripped ear, and I’d always make sure that the other animals were especially nice to him. So I knew early on that I wanted to be a special education teacher. This is a photo of the first play group that I organized outside of class. I was teaching at the time, and a lot of my parents were telling me that their children weren’t socializing with other members of the family, and it was very painful for them. So I organized an after-school playgroup in my basement. I’d work with the children on their interaction skills, while the mothers had a support group upstairs. The support group was very important for them. It’s very hard to be the parent of a special needs child. Your child develops at a slower pace than his peers, and you’re constantly hearing other parents say: ‘Mine is sitting. Mine is talking. Mine is crawling.’ And with each missed milestone, it’s difficult not to grieve the child that you didn’t have.”