We’re here to bring new life to New Yorkers in need that conquers pain, sadness and suffering.
Provide help. Create hope.
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.
“While we’re a thriving metropolis that is proud of its rich culinary depth, New York has too many residents who are unable to even eat,” writes New York Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, in this editorial posted yesterday in the New York Daily News.
“More than a third of New Yorkers struggle to afford food. That means children are hungry at school, parents working multiple jobs cannot provide for their loved ones, and families must sometimes choose between putting food on the table and paying bills.
That should not be our New York. But since the Great Recession in 2008, food insecurity has been a growing reality. ..
A major tool in the fight against hunger is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. More than 1.8 million New Yorkers receive food stamps, contributing $3.5 billion to the city’s economy. But there are hundreds of thousands of others who are eligible for this aid but don’t receive it. Providing more language translation, removing application barriers and coordinating outreach are measures we will focus on.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that every $1 in food stamps generates $1.79 in local economic activity. Not only are families suffering needlessly without access to these benefits, but low-income communities lose out on more than $1 billion each year in economic stimulus…
Reversing the tide against hunger will take a coordinated effort from lawmakers, community groups and everyday New Yorkers. Together, we can create an environment that reminds everyone why we are the greatest city on the planet: We look out for one another.”
At Catholic Charities, “looking out for one another” is what we are all about. For more than 100 years we have been fighting hunger and helping solve the problems of New Yorkers in need, non-Catholics and Catholics alike. We help with emergency food programs throughout the City; including St. Jerome’s in the Bronx where Msgr. Sullivan pitched in to serve the hungry yesterday.
Recently, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and fellow Catholic Charities representatives met with Deputy Mayor Barrios-Paoli. We are working collaboratively with organizations across the City to intensively promote Food Stamp enrollment. And we are assigning case management staff to enroll qualified New Yorkers receiving food at our pantries into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps.)
Are you, your children or your family hungry? Call us at 888-744-7900
Or call the NYC 24- Hour Hunger Hotline at 1-866-NYC-FOOD (1-866-692-3663)
Read Deputy Mayor Barrios-Paoli’s full Op Ed in the New York Daily News.
“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.”
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.
High unemployment rates. High incarceration rates. Worst of all, sky-high murder rates among black men gunned down in their youth.
President Obama takes on these key issues in his just-announced “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, issues long-tackled by Catholic Charities.
This past month, for example, Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Center in Harlem held its third annual Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. basketball tournament. Run during the February schools break, it provided recreation during the winter recess to keep teens off the streets and inside a supportive environment.
Manhattan District attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (son of former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance. Sr). presented trophies and ribbon medals to the team members who are residents of Juvenal Justice System Homes. Each home comprised one team.
A special five-foot trophy was given to the one player who exhibited the best sportsmanship throughout the tournament.
The motto resounding through each of the five days was “Put down the guns, pick up a ball and recreate. ”
And that’s what they did. Each day different speakers addressed these youth with testimony and advise about how to survive adverse climates. Speakers included Inspector Rodney Harris, commander of the 32nd precinct, Deacon Rodney Beckford, director of Catholic Charities Community Services Kennedy Center and numerous officers from NYPD.
Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. (Stop Another Violent Act) that helped sponsor the event was founded by Jackie Rowe-Adams and fellow mothers who lost sons to gun violence. The group meets and holds events at Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Memorial Community Center.
“I didn’t have a dad in the house,” President Obama said when he announced the initiative named after the biblical phrase he often uses to share his belief that society must help those facing challenges. “I made bad choices…I made excuses, sometimes I sold myself short.”
The time to change the cycle is now, President Obama continued. His “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative will work with nonprofit agencies, churches and political leaders to fight back against the drum beat of violence and addiction that has plagued too many for too long.
By Alice Kenny
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.”
Click to watch his video.