Archive for the ‘What We Do at Catholic Charities’ Category

Volunteers Rally to Shop for Those in Need

Friday, December 19th, 2014

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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.

URGENT – Your Help Is Needed This Christmas

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

dolan-shoppingdayWe’re shopping now for those in need. Will you help this Christmas ?

Every year, Catholic Charities sponsors the St. Nicholas Project – providing warm coats, hats, sweaters and blankets for children and families in need. Our volunteers are out there shopping now – and we need your help.

Your donation of $65 helps us shop for one child – $260 will help a family of four. So many are experiencing economic hardship this year. We’re counting on you to make a difference.

This Christmas, please help us keep children warm.

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.

Volunteers Buy Holiday Gifts for Needy

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Dozens of volunteers gathered Saturday (December 6, 2014) to shop for holiday gifts for the needy.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York held its annual Westchester Shopping Day at the Kmart in White Plains, reports News 12 Westchester.

Volunteers stocked up on hats, gloves, coats, boots and more to donate to needy families throughout the county.

The volunteers’ shopping lists are based on specific family profiles and bought with donations previously made to Catholic Charities’ St. Nicholas Project.

Watch this News12 exclusive here – and log in with your Optimum ID  or sign up if you are a Time Warner, Comcast or Service Electric customer.

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Join us – live – this Saturday for the Big Bonanza – Shopping Day at Kmart in downtown Manhattan.

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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.

How Will President Obama’s Immigration Executive Action Affect Me?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

“On Thursday of last week, President Obama brought hope to half of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America,” writes Catholic Charities Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services C. Mario Russell in his recent El Diario column.

“He did this in a way no other president has done before and showed America at its best.

  • He promised to treat them with dignity and with compassion.
  • He told them they would be given a fair chance to be part of society.
  • He lifted from their shoulders the burdens of fear and uncertainty.”

Do you have questions about President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform and wonder how it may affect you?

Read Mr. Russell’s full El Diario column below:

Starting in the next several months, about 4 million undocumented immigrants in the United States—mothers, fathers, children—will be able to apply for “deferred action” status. If eligible, they will work legally in the United States for a few years without the daily anxiety of deportation. One estimate puts the number eligible in New York State at just under 340,000.

There are those who accuse the President of acting like a king, of making rules outside the law, and of doing something unprecedented. These accusations are legally and factually wrong.  More important, they come from people who have used their power to frustrate the American people’s desire that immigrants be treated with dignity, compassion, and inclusion under the law. Facts are important: in 2013 comprehensive immigration reform did pass the Senate by a wide margin of votes, a bi-partisan vote for reform in the House of Representatives was blocked by Republican leaders, and 75% of Americans polled as recently as 3 days ago still support a plan for immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented.

America has always believed in basic truths about immigrants. Immigrants don’t threaten our way of life, they enrich it. Undocumented immigrants, like people, are not “illegal”; they just lack status. For hundreds of years they have married, grown families, prayed, and set roots in our communities. And they have worked hard. Undocumented immigrants added a net $100 billion to Social Security in the past 10 years, paid $11 billion in taxes in 2010, and will further contribute $45 billion in payroll taxes over the next 5 years if given work permits.

These truths go back a long time—as far as 1868—when Americans approved the Constitution’s 14th Amendment guaranteeing citizenship to the children of Chinese, Gypsy, and African slave immigrants, and to every person born on American soil. Senator John Conness of California, himself a naturalized Irish citizen, and a believer in justice for immigrants, said at the time in support of the amendment that immigrants were “entitled to equal civil rights.”

On Friday of last week, the day after Mr. Obama’s extraordinary announcement, I met with a Mexican family I have known for more than five years. The mother and father find day labor when they can. They pay taxes each year and live quiet, careful lives in upstate New York with their four young children. When they learned they would not qualify for Mr. Obama’s deferred action plan their faces fell; their anguish was barely contained.

This anguish is shared by millions. These are the people for whom America still needs to fulfill its promise of equal civil rights, a promise it spoke of more than 140 years ago.

 

Mario Russell is Senior Attorney and Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services at Catholic Charities, 80 Maiden Lane, NY, NY 10038; he teaches immigration law at St. John’s University School of Law.

 Click here to read this post online in Spanish.

Cardinal Dolan Gives Thanks for Feeding Our Neighbors

Friday, December 5th, 2014

“You’ve heard the good news,” says Cardinal Timothy Dolan in this new video, “that thanks to Goya Foods’ generous donation of 300,000 pounds of food to Catholic Charities Feeding Our Neighbors Campaign we’ll be able to help feed thousands of hungry New Yorkers and the unaccompanied minors from Latin America throughout the holiday season and well into the new year.

“I hope this inspires others to generously help feed our neighbors.”

Read more in Catholic New York.

Help us feed our hungry neighbors.

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.”