Archive for the ‘Parishes’ Category

Catholic New York Editorial: More Feeling Hunger’s Effects

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Msgr. Sullivan at St. Jerome’s food pantry

The numbers are shocking, writes Catholic New York in this recent editorial:

 In just five years, the number of New York City residents who depend on food pantries and soup kitchens has shot up to 1.4 million. That’s 200,000 more than in 2008      and it accounts for one-fifth of the city’s residents

And contrary to popular perception, the vast majority of those battling hunger are not the homeless.

They’re older women, they’re working families, they’re children and they’re veterans.

The appalling statistics: 1 in 5 city children live in food scarce homes; 1 in 6 city adults live in food scarce homes; 11.5 percent of people over 60 don’t have   enough food, an increase of 33 percent since 2008; 64 percent of people relying on the city’s food pantries and soup kitchens are women; 95,000 food recipients are     veterans.

The hunger crisis, and it is indeed a crisis, was spotlighted in lengthy and detailed coverage this week in the New York Daily News, which also pointed out the strains   placed on the charitable agencies, many of them Catholic groups, who run the city’s network of some 1,000 food pantries and soup kitchens.

   Catholic New York

 

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of the Archdiocesan Catholic Charities, told the paper that people are turning to us for emergency help because it’s so hard for them to find jobs, or decent-paying jobs. Many, he added, don’t have enough to pay rent and to eat.

To lend an immediate hand and get personal insight he can share with legislators, Msgr. Sullivan is making the rounds, rolling up his sleeves and helping out at local food pantries affiliated with Catholic Charities.  Last week he volunteered at St. Jerome’s pantry in the Bronx.

“It’s an astounding surge in need,” he said.

Read the full editorial in Catholic New York.

 

Daily News Exposes Hunger Crisis in New York

Monday, March 17th, 2014


“It’s a quiet crisis,” New York Daily News reporters Ginger Otis and Barry Paddock write in this in-depth exploration of hunger in New York. “In a city of plenty,” they continue in this front page story posted Sunday in the New York Daily News, “a staggering number of people are struggling to feed themselves and their families.”

Learn what they find out when they interview experts including Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, visit Catholic Charities food pantries and meet those we serve:

“Nearly one in five New Yorkers, 1.4 million people, now rely on a patchwork network of 1,000 food pantries and soup kitchens across the city to eat.

That represents an increase of 200,000 people in five years — straining the charities that are trying to help…
Yet those working on the front lines of the hunger crisis say it’s still not enough.

‘It’s an astounding surge in need, and it’s because it is so hard for people to find jobs, or find a decent-paying job. They are turning to us for emergency help,’ said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, 63, executive director of 90 free food outlets run by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

‘So many people, too many people, don’t have enough money to pay for rent and also eat.’

At (Catholic Charities’) Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry, bags packed with milk, juice, rice, pasta, tomato sauce, dry beans and other staples fly off the shelves.

Located in a small church vestry, the pantry is open one day a week, serving a steady clientele of 275 people. It could easily help three times as many, if only it had the food, volunteers said.

From soup kitchens in the Bronx, to mobile food markets on Staten Island and in Brooklyn, to pantries in Queens, the story is the same: lines stretching longer and longer, people arriving earlier and earlier, even in the depths of winter.

‘Our Lady of Grace, in the northeast Bronx, saw the number of new households double in November — a 100% increase,’ said Paul Costiglio, spokesman for Catholic Charities. “Across the board, our programs are reporting a continued increase in the number of working people, unemployed and families.”

Read more in the Daily News.

Check out this accompanying Daily News editorial:

Too many New Yorkers, too many good hard-working people, too many children, too many elderly parents, lack the resources to put food on the table.

Too many cannot afford basic nutrition — bread, milk, a piece of fruit, a portion of vegetables, a slice of meat. The stuff of survival, not the stuff of fun or frivolity…

These are our neighbors, family members and friends.

This is not New York, city of limitless opportunity. This is a New York that must do better.

Sharing Our Passion for the Poor and Needy

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Pastors, parish secretaries and social ministry staff from 17 Bronx parishes packed a “Parish Partnership Forum” held Friday, February 28, at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. The event marked the second in a series of meetings that Catholic Charities Regional Coordinator Fr. Eric Cruz organized to tap into parish potential to team up with Catholic Charities in serving those in need.

“The forums have been a blessing,” Fr. Cruz said. “They allow us to speak about the daily crisis intervention services of Catholic Charities, learn about the numerous services and collaborative opportunities in the Bronx, and, perhaps most importantly, meet people who share the same passion for the poor and needy, regardless of race, language, of creed.”

Brought together this time were spokespersons from the Catholic Charities eviction prevention programs, Fidelis and ArchCare health insurance programs, St. Vincent’s Hospital and Calvary Hospital, known best for its onsite and home hospice programs.

Dr. Michael Brescia, Executive Medical Director of Calvary Hospital, spoke movingly to an audience of 57 people about the hospital’s ability to address the issues of terminal illness and grief that envelope not just the patient but the whole family.

Dr. Oscar Alvarez then gave an overview of Calvary’s Wound Care program.  This program has helped so many within the Bronx community that it has earned a reputation that extends far and wide.

Less known, however, is the Wound Care program’s willingness to travel to other sites to screen patients and educate them about proper wound care.

Dr. Alvarez brought this issue home by speaking with audience members about the Wound Care program’s interest in identifying possible parish locations that could be established as centers for this outreach.

Next, Catholic Charities Case Managers Jose Jimenez and Andrew Olesh discussed Catholic Charities’ eviction prevention services.  These programs aim to intervene before evictions take place, employing a comprehensive approach that assists clients with services ranging from employment to daycare to housing issues of all kinds.

Finally, spokespersons from Fidelis, an affordable New York State Catholic health plan for people of all ages and stages of life, and ArchCare, a program that provides care to frail and elderly people unable to full care for themselves, rounded out the forum.  They provided presentations about their health insurance programs and insights on how programs and individuals will be impacted by the nation’s new Affordable Care Act.

The forums, Fr. Cruz said, represent early steps in a long-term mission.

“We must communicate more,” he said. “We must collaborate more.

“We, especially Catholic Charities of the Bronx, must support our parishes and engage the faithful. We can help educate, empower, and engage them to become active partners – as advocates and volunteers – in the mission of Catholic Charities, the mission of the Church.”

 

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.

Award – Winning Msgr. Patrick McCahill Shares Secret

Monday, February 24th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Msgr McCahill celebrating First Communion

Monsignor Patrick McCahill, the force behind services for the Deaf in the New York Archdiocese and recent winner of the Father David Walsh Pastoral Worker of the Year Award, shares a secret known largely only among the Deaf.

“When hearing people talk about the Deaf they think of it as a negative; that you can’t hear,” he says.  “But to be Deaf is also a matter of belonging; to belong to a group of capable friends who share a special language.”

Msgr. McCahill was let into this secret during his 45 years ministering to the Deaf.

“He has worked tirelessly to build a Church that is truly home for the Deaf in every ministerial capacity,” said Sr. Barbara Ann Sgro, OP, Coordinator of Deaf Services – Hudson Valley, when she nominated him to the National Catholic Office for the Deaf for this annual award that honors individuals who contributed significant dedication, support and assistance to Deaf Catholics.

The understated monsignor, known for his quiet voice and beloved Irish sweaters, already had his moment of fame when the renowned Deaf Choir he leads used sign language to perform before Pope Benedict during his New York visit in 2008.

But folks within the Deaf community, their families, friends and supporters know him better for the day-to-day difference he makes in their lives.

When he began his ministry, people with hearing impairments were stigmatized, he says.  Now they represent every profession, from lawyers to laborers.

“They are respected for their abilities,” he says, “and they have lots of them.”

A New Yorker through and through – his only other home was Yonkers during his stint at St. Joseph’s Seminary – Msgr. McCahill has become adept at translating even the most complex conversations.  He is often called on to translate between those speaking English, those speaking Spanish with obscure native dialects, those using American sign language and even those who grew up in isolated villages and developed their own symbols of communication.

As pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Manhattan where he moderates the archdiocesan Deaf Center located there, Msgr. McCahill celebrates sign language mass twice a month.  He also travels on alternate weeks to provide sign language mass in Staten Island and White Plains.  He conducts prayer services with the Deaf at Rockland Psychiatric Hospital. He supports and hosts Deaf seminarians, taught sign language to seminarians at the Archdiocese of New York’s Dunwoodie Seminary and catechesis at St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf in the Bronx and New York School for the Deaf in White Plains. He has been involved in Marriage Encounter for the Deaf, National Deaf Cursillo and hosted Cursillos for the Deaf throughout greater New York.  He coordinates and facilitates the New York State Pastoral Workers with the Deaf semi-annual gatherings.  And he is currently developing a series of Adult Faith Formation videos that use sign language to minister to the Deaf.

Because he runs so many archdiocesan services for the hearing impaired, he says that his biggest concern, perhaps not surprisingly, is inspiring seminarians to join him.

“You have to concentrate, to learn their language,” he says.  “It requires a fair amount of work and then it gets in your bloodstream.”

Learn more about Msgr. McCahill and his ministry in this latest issue of Catholic New York. 

Check Your Mailbox for Your FitnessGram

Friday, February 21st, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Forget Twitter, Tumblr and the other social networks that have your kids sinking deeper into your couches. Now, thanks to a new partnership between Catholic Charities CYO and the Coca-Cola Foundation we are offering FitnessGrams and other fitness services to promote health – not to mention movement – among our parish youth.

The impact, not to mention the number of youth served, will be revolutionary. More than 24,000 children ages 5 through 17 from 225 parishes throughout the Archdiocese of New York will receive regular “FitnessGrams,”* updates that track their improved health thanks to a program funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation and incorporated by CYO. We already have participation in 100 schools stretching from the southern tip of Staten Island to Liberty, NY, 125 miles away.

CYO has provided meaningful, organized activities that engage our children in competitive sports for over 75 years. Now, thanks to this Coca-Cola grant, we have the means to provide feedback to children and their parents that participation in CYO sports serves as a foundation to lifelong fitness/wellness habits. It adds value to participation in CYO sports by making it clear that CYO is more than just sports. It is fitness.

Our participant pool that ranges from kindergarten to high school seniors already shows a meaningful impact in this first year of the three-year program. It proves that it is never too early to start educating about the importance of fitness or too late to make the change to a healthy lifestyle. The program has reinvigorated physical education teachers’ and school principals’ push in stressing the importance of healthy living.

CYO also plans to offer a lifestyle expert to educate 2,000 head coaches, 225 parish coordinators and seven CYO county directors about the key role nutrition on plays on healthy development.

Finally, FitnessGram assessments – already part of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program — will assess participants’ fitness levels, report the results to students, parents and administrators and educate our community on the importance of everyday activity and life-long health and fitness.

Yes a FitnessGram. Don’t be surprised when you hear from us soon.

*Visit the FitnessGram website to learn more.

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.

Catholic Charities Honored with Food Bank Borough of Excellence Award!

Monday, February 17th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

 

The NYC Conference on Hunger and Poverty awarded this distinction to Catholic Charities Site Manager Carmen Reyes on January 22 for adapting Toyota’s proven method to turn Catholic Charities Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry into a model of efficiency.

Ms. Reyes credits her success to need, vision and teamwork.  But the key, she adds, was the contribution made by Walter Martin, a recent grad from Lafayette College with a degree in civil engineering.

 

Walter adapted Toyota’s “Kaizen” thought process– Japanese for “continuous improvement” — to analyze “where I am; where I need to be and how do I get from here to there.”

Less than two years ago, Washington Heights’ food pantry was characterized by lines that circled the block.

Now, thanks to Mr. Martin’s simple computer program, folks pick up food bank tickets in the morning and return at appointed hours.  They are warmly greeted by Ms. Reyes.  They receive their food in minutes.  And they receive case management services to help them live more independently.

Numbers quantifying the program’s success are astounding.  This food pantry that used to serve 50 people per hour now serves between 100 – 130 people.  Clients wait minutes, not hours, receiving food donations between 2 – 2.5 times faster.  And instead of just receiving donations, they now also get prescreened for SNAP (food stamps) and receive a range of support spanning from immigration referrals to help filing for tax returns.

As for the Kaizen model of continued self improvement, Carmen says she is not stopping with this success.

Her next plans?

She hopes to recruit volunteers to deliver groceries to the home bound, the elderly and the disabled.

Teens Team Up to Fight Hunger

Monday, February 10th, 2014

WHITE PLAINS — Christopher Martinez hefted a cardboard box containing non-perishables like Cheerios and Wacky Mac macaroni headed for the hungry, reports Alex Taylor in The Journal News.

“I wanted to come here because I wanted to help people,” said Martinez, 15, a sophomore at Lincoln High School in Yonkers and member of the St. Peter’s Parish. “Just seeing people in the street when I have so much at my house.”

About 50 Catholic and Jewish teens gathered at UJA’s Westchester offices in White Plains on Sunday afternoon to sort and pack a room piled high with hundreds of bottles, cans and cartons of nonperishable food as part of an interfaith food drive. The outpouring of donations were later delivered to local food pantries.

The event held capped off ‘Feeding Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Response, ‘ organized by Catholic Charities and the United Jewish Appeal. This Archdiocesan-Wide Drive to Replenish Food Pantries ran from Sunday, January 26th – Sunday, February 2nd 2014. Its goal was to provide 1,000,000 additional meals for hungry New Yorkers, non-Catholics and Catholics alike.
The documented increase in hunger among New York children and families combined with the Senate’s recent vote for yet deeper cuts in the SNAP food stamp program makes the impact of this campaign, now in its third year, even more profound.

One out of five New York families now struggles to feed their children. As a result, hungry families, children and the elderly are braving snow, ice and freezing temperatures to reach local food banks. Catholic Charities food banks served 48% more meals in December 2013 compared with one year earlier.

At Sunday’s event, William Gregson expressed concern about the number of New Yorkers who go hungry on a regular basis.

“I just want to make sure everybody who is in need can get food,” said Gregson, 15, a student at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua.

Check out this Journal News video interview with Catholic Charities Catholic Charities Special Assistant to the Director Luz Tavarez-Salazar who is coordinating the Feeding Our Neighbors campaign .

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.