Archive for the ‘New York City’ Category

Alien or Human? You Decide

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

mario-msgr-protestAs we honor of National Migration Week, January 4 – 10, with this year’s theme, “We Are One Family Under God,” the weekly digest CMS Migration Update honored us by publishing as its lead story a public statement by C. Mario Russell, Esq., director of Catholic Charities Immigrant and Refugee Services.

Recognizing an immigrant’s humanity is a prerequisite for genuine legal reform, Mr. Russell says in this thought-provoking address he delivered to the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at St. John’s University.

“Congress can treat whom it wants, how it wants, when it wants, and if it wants to at all,” Mr. Russell says:

“So why does this dysfunction exist? In my view it is because the immigrant person—the alien—is not considered a ‘person’ in the fullest sense under the constitution, what I have referred to as our social charter. For over 300 years, since ‘we’ first arrived, we have conceived of aliens (even those within our borders) as just that—beings who are outside of our sphere, as ‘other,’ and therefore, as people with diminished status—both existentially and on paper. And, this destines us to repeat a mistake time and again—that of designing laws and policies that are always reactive, not planful, that are product of crisis, not of intention. And so long as this is true, future generations of immigrants in America will not find their right place in society.”

Join us in honoring National Migration Week and check out the full address here.

Polar Vortex Strikes; Cold Children Get Coats

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
Catholic Charities coat distribution

Catholic Charities coat distribution

By Alice Kenny

Brrr — It’s cold out!

Fortunately, just as the Polar Vortex slams through New York, Catholic Charities is distributing 3,000 coats to children and families in need who would otherwise be shivering without them.

We’re able to keep them warm thanks to our corporate, media and agency partnerships.

ABC Good Morning America Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Drive with Burlington Coat Factory in partnership with K-I-D-S and Fashion Delivers donated the coats. And Catholic Charities, in turn, is sharing them with 50 of our affiliated agencies across our New York archdiocese.

By working together we’re spreading the warmth from Staten Island, throughout New York City, on both sides of the freezing Hudson River and all the way to up to Sullivan County.

Our coat distribution is, as they say, just the tip of the iceberg. We’re also working with our affiliated agencies to distribute hundreds of donated books along with bookshelves to homeless shelters, 38,000 toys to disabled and needy children and so much more.

So now, during this winter season, stay in and stay safe.

And thank you for your help sharing the warmth.

Wishing You a Happy New Year

Thursday, January 1st, 2015


It’s the End of the Year

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

dad-daughterIt’s your last chance to give hope in 2014!

Make your tax-deductible donation by midnight, Dec 31st – and help us bring hope to those most in need.

As 2014 ends, please consider supporting Catholic Charities’ efforts to aid the physically and emotionally challenged.

Every day we lend a helping hand – to children with special needs, people coping with mental illness and the visually and hearing impaired. For example, last year alone we helped over nearly 12,000 teenagers and adults battling substance abuse. When we all stand together, we can help so many.

Your donation of $100 de Dec. 31st will help those who are struggling.

The deadline is now! 

Dancing to the Beat, and Feeling “Normal”

Monday, December 29th, 2014

BG_neediestCases_topBy John Otis

neediestcaseThe New York Times

When Alexy Lopez is holding a dance partner in his arms, his feet gliding in sync with the salsa beat, his multiple sclerosis seems to disappear; his unsteady stride and self-doubt vanish.

“When I dance, I still feel the same,” Mr. Lopez, 56, said. “I feel normal.”…

“Everything is very different now,” he said. “But I’m alive. I’m a survivor.”

The swift onset of symptoms made it impossible to continue working at the job he had held for 24 years as a salesman at Best Buy…

With no idea where to turn for help applying for benefits, Mr. Lopez floundered for weeks.

“I went there, there, there, and nobody wanted to help me,” he said.

Eventually, Mr. Lopez made his way to Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, one of the seven agencies supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. With the help of a caseworker, he applied for Social Security disability benefits and food stamps and now receives $721 disability payments and $194 in food stamps each month. He also qualified for a city-run rent-increase exemption program for older people, which pays $180 toward his $1,078 monthly rent.

Mr. Lopez fell behind on his Con Edison and cellphone bills. Catholic Charities assisted him further by drawing on $300 in Neediest Cases funds to cover those costs.

Read his story and Watch this video published in Sunday’s New York Times.

Time Will Prove the President’s Action to Be True

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Catholic Charities Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services C. Mario Russell writes a regular column in El Diario to update readers on the latest news on immigration reform.  Read his latest article below.

Critics of President Obama’s plan to designate some 5 million undocumented parents and children as temporarily non-deportable say that it is illegal, without precedent, and unwise. They are wrong.

To begin, a coalition of 17 U.S. states, led by the Texas Attorney General, sued the Obama administration in Federal Court last Wednesday saying the President’s plan is illegal. They allege it violates constitutional limits on executive law enforcement powers. But they say this while at the same time criticizing Mr. Obama for failing to use his executive powers to expel even more than the 2 million immigrants he already has deported. Strange, but when not penning the lawsuit over executive power, the administration’s critics beg him to use more of his power to deport people.

So the critics answer that this kind of exercise of power is unprecedented; it has not been used before. Again, they ignore that two presidents before him, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, used their constitutional law enforcement power to protect from deportation families that had been left out of a Congressional legalization plan.  By some estimates, this protected from deportation 1.5 million undocumented mothers, fathers, and spouses.

The critics’ rebuttal then turns into complaint about scale. Well, they say, what Reagan and Bush did before was on a much smaller scale than Mr. Obama’s plan. 1.5 million is a few people; 5 million is just too many!

This gets us to the heart of the problem. Yes, 5 million mothers, fathers, and youngsters who each day live with the threat of separation from their children or parents is just too many. In fact, I would suggest that 11 million people who live—for almost a generation now—in fear, anxiety, and with no opportunity to become full members of our human community is just too many. So critics themselves point to the humanitarian problem, and a humanitarian problem must be answered by law.

Time makes a difference in law.  Time allows for property rights, intellectual rights, and even rights in equity to grow. When people have been allowed to settle in a place for a long time they should be given a chance to get right with the law if they are not a threat to society. Those who argue the opposite force themselves to ignore what it means to lose the human goods they enjoy and build each day: love of family, community, church, work.

And the passage of time makes a difference in how we understand history: as the writer Robert Caro notes, “Time equals truth.” Over time America has overcome its fears of ethnic and national minorities. The nation’s inclusion of immigrants over time has proven to be the deepest truth of its identity: open, changing, new, hopeful.

This is a good and it is wise for us to pursue.

Read the full El Diario post in Spanish now.

Merry Christmas from Catholic Charities

Thursday, December 25th, 2014


Help New Yorkers In Need Stay Warm This Christmas

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

warmcoatpostA warm coat isn’t too much to ask for this Christmas.

When hard-working people fall on hard times, Catholic Charities is there.

The Rivera family lost almost everything when the economic climate caused their day care business to shut down. As winter approaches, families like the Riveras are facing a tough climate of another kind. Last year, our St. Nicholas Project provided warm coats, hats, sweaters and blankets to nearly 4,000 people. Every year, because of caring people like you, the St. Nicholas Project is able to provide winter necessities to those in need.

This Christmas, you can help by donating $65 to help one individual, or $260 to help a family of four.

Coats & Toys for Children in Need

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014


Impoverished children and their families will be warmer and happier this holiday season thanks to Catholic Charities’ Christmas Spirit Toy and Coat Drive partnership with Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway President and CEO Timothy J. Rooney.  Now in its eighth year, the drive was the most successful on record, collecting and distributing hundreds of coats and more than 600 toys to those in need.

“There are no greater deeds than charity and service,” Mr. Rooney said

Empire City patrons donated the toys and gifts that Mr. Rooney presented to Msgr. Sullivan last week at the Empire City Yonkers location.

Joining Mr. Rooney and Monsignor Sullivan were Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Mayor Mike Spano, City Council Member Corazon Pineda from the City of Yonkers, and Assembly member Shelley Mayer.

Sister Christine Hennessy of Catholic Charities Community Services and Órla Kelleher, Executive Director of the Aisling Irish Community Center were also on present and will ensure the toys and coats get into the hands of families most in need.

The group heralded the generosity of Josh Blake, President of California-based family-owned company, Jams, who for the past three consecutive years delivered some West Coast warmth to New York families with his donation of 500 toys.

John Lennon, owner of Yonkers-based Smart Move & Storage, also generously donated services to transport and store of all donations while they are distributed by local community organizations.

Empire City Casino has a long history of working with Catholic Charities to help New Yorkers in need, non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

Christmas Hope for the Mentally Ill

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Decked in Santa caps, plates brimming with food and Christmas carols ringing in the background, mentally ill adults served by Catholic Charities Beacon of Hope Division celebrated the holiday season last week at the annual Beacon of Hope Holiday Party at the Epiphany Parish Hall on East 21st Street.

Some spoke and danced, some rocked and observed and nearly all chuckled as Cardinal Dolan showed off his Irish step-dance moves.

Beacon of Hope staff joined with Catholic Charities board members and volunteers from the national consulting firm, Deloitte, to celebrate the event. The Beacon of Hope Division of Catholic Charities Community Services is a residential program for approximately 436 individuals at 10 sites primarily in the Bronx, and on Staten Island.  Those served are seriously and persistently mentally ill adults; the program strives to enable them to live as independently as possible in their community.

“Beacon of Hope… taught me everything I need to know to basically live … on my own,” says Angela in this holiday video of the event.

Looking for a great way to kick off the holiday?

Watch this video now.