Archive for the ‘Staten Island’ Category

Meet Laddie, Our Latest Volunteer

Monday, March 31st, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities Staten Island Senior Center just hired Laddie Boy, our latest and likely best-ever volunteer.

The therapy dog passed a stringent interview process, correctly responding to a demanding series of Q and A’s:  “Sit” (and Laddie sits); “Down” (and Laddie lies down); “Stay” (Well, you’ve got the idea.)

Highly trained and a real people ..err.. dog person, Laddie is part of the Angels On A Leash program,* clocking in his hours at the senior center.

Staff members Marni Caruso and Lisa Harrison say they enjoy getting to know Laddie – as he literally sniffs things out — to make sure he is a good fit.

Needless to say, it was an amazing experience watching him meet clients, they added.  The positive energy and excitement generated make them sure he is the perfect for this group.

Moreover, they look forward to consistent visits…and Laddie looks forward to consistent pets and treats.

*Angels On A Leash

“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.

 

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.

New York Times Reports Increased Demand for Food Banks as Donations Decline

Friday, January 24th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Exacerbating cuts made last November in food stamp programs that feed the hungry, Congress is now eying significant additional reductions, reports The New York Times on Wednesday, January 22.

“Food banks across the country,” reports The New York Times, “are increasing efforts to prepare for the increased demand even as donations decline.”*

It is crucial now more than ever to join with us in Feeding Our Neighbors, our united effort to fight hunger.

Now in its third year, Catholic Charities will be joined by UJA/Federation to make Feeding Our Neighbors 2014 an interfaith campaign on behalf of New York’s hungry.

Starting January 26th, we’ll be leveraging our collective reach and already expansive networks for even greater impact — with the goal of collecting and distributing a combined one million meals to feed the hungry throughout New York.

Too many children and families struggle every day with hunger.

Feeding Our Neighbors, An Interfaith Response unites Catholic Charities and UJA-Federation of New York, two of the largest faith-based, not-for-profit organizations, to combine efforts to help fight hunger and replenish dwindling supplies.

You can be part of this united effort.  Help us collect and distribute food packages across pantries and shelters throughout the New York area.

Because ultimately, we do the most when we do it together.

Please join us!

Click here to donate – and write “Feeding Our Neighbors” in the comments field.

Reading this on your smart phone?  Text CCHOPE to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.   (Standard text rates apply.)

*Read the full story in The New York Times.

 

Celebrating Day Laborers on Three Kings Day

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Ringed with garlands of evergreens and bows, St. Peter’s Church kicked off this year’s Three Kings Day celebration with a mass for the day laborer group, Oberos Unidos de Yonkers and their young families on Saturday, January 7.   The nearly 300-member crowd — with children in tow — then moved to the gym below converted into Santa’s workshop.  Children flocked to a stage brimming with trucks, teddies and toys and families feasted on ethnic specialties.

Organized by Catholic Charities staff and volunteers, the event offered respite for these day laborers who line up daily waiting for work during heat, rain and freezing snow.

It also served as a way to thank the day laborers for their hours volunteering, commuting by bus, train and ferry, to rebuild Staten Island homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

Three Kings Day, widely celebrated in the Hispanic community, commemorates the Twelfth Day of Christmas when the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem to share with the infant Jesus their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

This annual celebration is part of Catholic Charities’ ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos of Yonkers.  Catholic Charities educates workers about employment rights and responsibilities.  It provides assistance to prevent exploitation and workplace abuses including help with collecting unpaid wages. It assists with integrating workers into society.  It provides local resources including access to healthcare, emergency food and identification cards.  And it offers a meeting space along with English as a Second Language and computer classes to help immigrants with their goal of acclimating and contributing to their new homeland.

 

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

Click here or call 917-579-9048

Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — for help finding more services you need.

 

Catholic Charities Helps You Prepare as “Polar Vortex” Grips NY

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

As bitter cold bites New York plunging temperatures to their lowest in decades, Catholic Charities joins with the New York City Office of Emergency Management to help keep you and our fellow neighbors warm.

Warning:  Prolonged exposure to extreme cold weather can be deadly.  The National Weather service forecasts wind chills of near -10 degrees and below-freezing temperatures until Thursday.

Vulnerable populations, such as seniors and infants, are most at risk during extreme weather.  So it’s important to check on friends, family and neighbors if you think they need help getting to a warm place.

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene encourages everyone to stay indoors as much as possible.  If your home lacks heat, get to a warm, safe place immediately.

To discourage unnecessary trips outdoors, the NYC Department of Aging asks Catholic Charities and fellow operators of senior centers encourage participants to stay home.  None-the-less, some seniors need meals and a warm place to stay.

  • Catholic Charities opened its senior centers in certain locations including Staten Island.
  • We are also providing extra meals to bring home along with cold weather safety tips to avoid unnecessary trips outdoors.
  • Case managers are calling to check on homebound seniors and high-risk clients during the cold weather.

We urge you to join us in checking on neighbors, friends and relatives.

  • If you are concerned about someone on the street who may be homeless and in need of assistance call 311 and ask for the Mobile Outreach Response Team. The Department of Homeless Services will send an outreach team to the location to assess the individual’s condition and take appropriate action.
  • If your building is cold, check on your neighbors. If you know someone who is vulnerable and lacking heat, help them get to warm places and notify the building manager and/or call 311 to get heat restored. If you see someone with signs of hypothermia such as confusion, shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness call 911 for help and help the person get warm while waiting for help.
  • Landlords and building managers should check their building systems to ensure heat, and check on vulnerable people

Health problems resulting from prolonged exposure to cold include hypothermia, frostbite and exacerbation of chronic heart and lung conditions. Recognize the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite:

  • Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition where the body temperature is abnormally low. Symptoms may include shivering, slurred speech, sluggishness, drowsiness, unusual behavior, confusion, dizziness, and shallow breathing. Some people, such as infants, seniors, and those with chronic diseases and substance abuse problems can get sick quicker. Check on friends, relatives, and neighbors who may need assistance to ensure they are adequately protected from the cold.
  • Frostbite is a serious injury to a body part frozen from exposure to the cold. It most often affects extremities like fingers and toes or exposed areas such as ears or parts of the face. Redness and pain may be the first warning of frostbite. Other symptoms include numbness or skin that appears pale, firm, or waxy.

Provide first aid:

  • If you suspect a person is suffering from frostbite or hypothermia, call 911 to get medical help.
  • While waiting for assistance to arrive, help the person get warm by getting them to a warm place if possible, removing any damp clothing and covering them with warm blankets.

Click here for additional tips on:

  • What to Do if You Lose Heat or Hot Water at Home
  • Safe Home Heating
  • Fire safety
  • If You Need Emergency Heating Assistance
  • Shelters and drop-in centers

For more information about cold weather safety and how you can prepare for emergencies call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/oem.

Click here for more information on Catholic Charities emergency food and shelter programs.

Call the Catholic Charities Help Line at 888-744-7900.

From the Philippines to New York, Help Is Here

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

 

From typhoons to hurricanes and pestilence to plagues, the Catholic Church maintains its centuries-established commitment of providing food, shelter and support for those suffering. Now, as tens of thousands of Filipinos whose lives have been destroyed by the devastating typhoon struggle to survive without food, water or homes, Catholic Relief Services is on the ground, providing help.  Meanwhile, closer to home, New Yorkers continue to rebuild lives hurt by Hurricane Sandy.

Newsday tells the story of Susan Gorman, 58, a widow who lost her home to 5 1/2 feet of Sandy-driven flood waters, and Catholic Charities’ continued efforts to help her and other hurricane survivors recover.

Ms. Gorman’s now-empty split-level house in Lindenhurst, Long Island stood across the street from a canal. She applied to the state’s NY Rising Housing Recovery Program — seeking to have the state buy her house — with the help of Isabel Clostre, a disaster case manager for Catholic Charities. Clostre stood next to Gorman outside the gray-shingled house.

“I left a year ago today,” Gorman told Newsday, recalling her evacuation to her mother’s home in Bellmore the day before the storm hit Long Island. “I thought I would be back in three days, and I’ve never come back and will probably never come back.

“This is the home I’ve lived in for 33 years,” she said. “My children were raised here. But I’ve had water in the house since the storm several times. The streets still flood. For me, I can’t come back here . . . I just can’t do it. My husband died a year before the storm. For me to go through this alone, it’s just not easy.”

Catholic Charities, at a recent joint news conference with fellow representatives of the Long Term Recovery Group, a coalition of 145 nonprofit, volunteer and governmental organizations providing disaster relief services to Sandy victims, made it clear their efforts are continuing.

From the Philippines to New York, families confronted by a crisis often feel helpless. Catholic Charities provides accurate and timely information and referrals, and will help advocate for the services required by a family. Catholic Charities crisis experts help individuals and families plan long-term solutions to immediate problems through counseling and financial assistance.

 

Do you need help?

Call the Sandy Referral Line: 855-258-0483
Call Today – Help is Here:  Monday – Friday: 9am to 5pm

CYO Shining Stars Honored in Staten Island

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Seth Peloso, Dr. John P. Reilly, Diane Hesterhagen, Michael Coppotelli, Frank DeCandido, Frank Minotti and Ed Broderick pose at the Staten Island Catholic Charities event. (Staten Island Advance/Hilton Flores)

Catholic Charities Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) honored students from across Staten Island for their impact on their schools and communities.

At a brunch at the Hilton Garden Inn, Bloomfield, NY on Saturday, October 26, 40 youngsters were recognized with the Shining Star Youth Award.

Also honored were  Diane Hesterhagen, principal of St. Adalbert’s School in Port Richmond, and Michael Coppotelli, associate superintendent of schools.

CYO provides recreational, cultural and spiritual activities to the young people of the Archdiocese of New York.

Read the Staten Island Advance to learn more.

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan Reflects on Hurricane Sandy’s One-Year Anniversary

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

By Msgr. Kevin Sullivan

Much has been spoken and written on the one-year anniversary of Sandy.

Three simple thoughts —

Prayers and thoughts for those who lost a loved one from the storm.  This is indeed an irreplaceable loss.

Continued support to those who are still struggling to recover – restoring homes and rebuilding lives.  You are neither forgotten nor are you on your own.

Gratitude for the outpouring of support and solidarity from so many, near and far. Without you little would have been done.

Catholic Charities helped the day after the storm, is helping a year later and will be helping into the future to ensure that each individual and family has the opportunity and help needed to rebuild their lives.  I am immensely grateful to our dedicated professional staff and volunteers.  I am appreciative of our donors who enable our response to happen.

Read the Staten Island Advance for information about Catholic Charities’ new survivor support program