Archive for the ‘Feeding the Hungry and Sheltering the Homeless’ Category

Catholic Charities Celebrates the Puerto Rican Day Parade

Monday, June 22nd, 2015
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By Teresa A. Santiago

 

From its humble beginnings 58 years ago when the Puerto Rican Day Parade was composed of Las Hijas de Maria, La Liga del Sacrado Corazon and Los Cursillistas from parishes around the City to the annual Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Catholic Church has played a crucial role in the Puerto Rican Day Parade and it is part of the parade historic legacy.

 

Catholic Charities continued this legacy last week with the participation of over 50 staff and volunteers marching up Fifth Avenue, handing out prayer cards with the Patron of Puerto Rico, La Virgen de la Providencia, sunglasses, fans and t-shirts all sporting Catholic Charities information to the 2 million people that lined the parade route.

 

But Catholic Charities’ involvement was more than just marching in the parade.  Catholic Charities has developed an important initiative with the National Puerto Rican Day Parade to provide services to the Puerto Rican/Hispanic community of New York. Catholic Charities along with the leadership of the parade began a food drive last year to support the Feeding our Neighbors Program. The food drive continued this year with Catholic high schools in the Bronx and Manhattan participating in effort.  The food collected will stay in the Latino neighborhoods.

 

In addition, Catholic Charities work with the Office of Hispanic Ministry of the Archdiocese of New York was instrumental in the planning of the annual Parade Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral that takes place the first Sunday of June. The Mass went off seamlessly. The entrance procession highlighted many Puerto Rican cultural iconic symbols, like its musical instruments: el cuatro, guiro, panderettas and maracas, images of the Three Kings, La Virgen de La Providencia and vejigante mask. Parade banners were blessed, Las Hijas de Maria offered flowers and Feeding Our Neighbors food boxes were offered.  The folkloric Mass, (Misa Jibara) was performed by La Tuna de Mayaguez, a musical choir from Puerto Rico.  Fr. Eric Cruz, Catholic Charities’s Bronx Coordinator was the main celebrant of the Mass with co-celebrants Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sulivan,  Msgr. Robert Ritchie, Rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fr. Lorenzo Ato, Director of the Hispanic Pastoral Ministry and Fr. Brian McWeeney, Director of  Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Affairs for Ethnic Apostolates, and Ecclesial Ministries and Organizations.

Rent Laws Expired But You Still Have Rights

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

Tenants are fuming; others are frightened, as the fate of rent regulations remain in limbo. Days after the rent law expired, Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders remain in a standoff on how much landlords can charge for rent-regulated apartments in New York City and its suburbs.

Don’t worry. You still have rights.

According to the NYC Dept. of Housing:

If you are one of the more than two million New Yorkers who lives in rent-regulated housing, here’s what you need to know:

  • Your lease is still in effect and remains in effect through the term of the lease.
  • There are still laws on the books protecting you from harassment, and the City is enforcing those laws.
  • We have put together an emergency hotline: Call 311 if you have any concerns or questions about your apartment.
  • If your landlord is harassing you, withholding services, or trying to exploit any lapse in the rent regulation laws to get you to leave your apartment, you should call 311 immediately.

Catholic Charities supports a vast network of shelters, temporary, transitional housing and permanent affordable housing to help families and individuals.

Learn more.

 

Parallels Between My Jewish Faith & the Mission of Catholic Charities

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

meiraFordham University social work graduate student Meira Zack is completing an 8-month internship with Catholic Charities Community Services.

By Meira Zack

I am Jewish and interning here at Catholic Charities has been my first real exposure to Catholicism and its observances. What better place to experience it than the Archdiocese!

As a religious individual, I have always been inspired by the mission-driven attitude behind our work at Catholic Charities Community Services.  This meaningful connection was intensified for me by the period of Lent and the Lenten message repeated in multiple agency emails: “Forty days before Easter when, through prayer, sacrifice and helping others, we transform our Christian love into action.”

This message particularly spoke to me because it parallels the three-fold mantra of the Jewish High Holy Days “Teshuva, Tefeela, uTzedaka, ma’aveerin et ro’ah hagezayra – Repentance, Prayer, and Giving revoke the evil decree.”

It inspired me to meditate on the messages of Teshuva, Tefeela, and Tzedaka, and what they have meant to me in the context of my time here at Catholic Charities.

  • Teshuva/Repentance – repairing damage done and healing wounds between self and God and self and others.  At Catholic Charities Community Services, we repair the relationship between society and its vulnerable populations; we help clients repair damage done in their personal lives.
  • Tefeela/Prayer – faith in God, supplication to God, dialogue with God; communal prayer and solidarity.  At Catholic Charities Community Services we are in a unique position where clients may ask us to pray with or for them; where they may turn to us for religious inspiration and hope.
  • Tzedaka/Giving – giving of one’s self, time, and money.  At Catholic Charities Community Services, we not only give of our time and selves in the work we do every do with clients, but also of our own resources in raising funds for the St. Nicholas Project and pantry items for Feeding Our Neighbors.

The united messages of “prayer-sacrifice-helping others” and “repentance-prayer-giving” teach the same lessons of repair, giving, honesty and togetherness with a focus on God as inspiration, partner, and conduit for “providing help, creating hope, and upholding the dignity of each person as made in the image of God by serving the basic needs of the poor, troubled, frail and oppressed of all religions.”

This is the vision and mission of Catholic Charities.

Feeding Our Neighbors, 1.3 Million Times

Monday, April 27th, 2015

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“Catholic Charities’ Feeding Our Neighbors campaign topped its lofty goal of providing 1 million meals to New Yorkers in need,” writes Catholic New York in their recent editorial. “And thanks to the efforts of Catholics across the archdiocese as well as a host of other partners, the annual initiative collected enough food to make 300,000 additional meals available to those coming to food pantries and soup kitchens, many in local parishes, for assistance.”

Catholic Charities, under Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, the executive director, deserves a lot of credit for laying out a successful vision that encourages participation and support from such a wide net of donors and facilitators…

In commending Catholic Charities, and by extension the thousands who helped it collect 1.3 million meals, we know the heart of Feeding Our Neighbors’ success is its ability to deliver a Gospel-driven response to real needs. It’s a simple formula, really, and the benefits extend to donors as well as recipients.

Read the full editorial in Catholic New York.

And thank you for your help feeding our neighbors!

Do you have a personal story about how you helped?

Share it in our comments section

Bombarded by Tragedies?

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Photograph by Chris Ramirez PhotographerBy Alice Kenny

When one tragedy hits, other tragedies too often follow.  We lose a job and then have a tough time paying rent.  We need help with immigration but can’t explain ourselves clearly in English.  Our home floods and we lose our furniture and clothes as well.

Making things worse is the hard time we have when we try to navigate the systems that are supposed to assist us.

Catholic Charities is here help.  Our knowledgeable professionals can help you deal with overlapping problems and cut through bureaucratic red tape.

This can make the difference between getting the help you need and simply giving up.

Click here to find a Catholic Charities agency to coordinate the services you need.

Contact us through the Catholic Charities Help Line: 888-744-7900.

Food Pantry or Grocery Store?

Monday, April 20th, 2015

frigBy Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities’ innovative supermarket-style Kingston, New York food pantry just grabbed the spotlight. And that’s no small accomplishment.

The pantry belongs to The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, a network of thousands of food pantries and soup kitchens that serve New Yorkers in need.  They are run by 875 fellow agencies.  And they stretch across 23 counties in northeastern New York.

Yet the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York magazine focused on this state-of-the-art food pantry.  It devoted the magazine’s inaugural Q & A section to interview Tom Kelly, Regional Director of Catholic Charities of Ulster County to find out all about it.

The more you find out about the food pantry, the more it is clear why it was chosen.

The pantry is set up like a grocery store. Hungry clients choose what they need. They fill their grocery bags with farm-stand produce. They add the canned goods their families like. And they grab refrigerated and frozen items from donated commercial-sized refrigerated equipment.

The only difference from a grocery store? There is no cash register, no bill.  That’s right; hungry people in need shop for their families for free.

Even their children have fun as they play in a large waiting room manned by Catholic Charities staff and volunteers that is filled with toys.

“It is a pleasure to see our clients come to our pantry, being treated with dignity by our pantry staff,” Mr. Kelly says, “and leaving with bags of groceries that they hand-picked for themselves and they will consume and enjoy.”

Read more about this Client Choice food pantry in the Regional Food Bank magazine.

Trade a Cup of Coffee for Hope

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Have you thought about how much it costs to help someone?

Did you know 83% of Americans spend more than $5 a day on coffee?

$5 can help a struggling family, a homeless person and a child with special needs.

If each of us gives $5 right now, imagine how many people we can help.

 Donate Now 

 

Cardinal Dolan Feeds Hungry; Washes Their Feet

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) —

Cardinal Timothy Dolan celebrated Holy Thursday with Catholic Charities staff, volunteers and those we serve at the Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry.

As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, Cardinal Dolan helped distribute food to at least 200 people and humbly washed the feet of some of those gathered at the pre-Easter ritual.

The Cardinal spoke about the significance and the message of Holy Thursday.

“It’s got a great meaning because he gives us that good example of love and humble service,” Dolan said.

Watch this on CBS News.

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