Archive for the ‘Strengthening Families and Resolving Crises’ Category

Pope Francis May Visit NYC Soup Kitchens

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Breaking news.  Pope Francis, during his trip to New York City confirmed this week and scheduled for September 2015, may spend time in soup kitchens, food pantries and centers that help immigrants.

The notoriously unpretentious pope, appointed in 2013, has quickly risen as a crusader for the world’s poor and disadvantaged, reports Metro New York

“When a pope comes to visit in New York, there’s excitement. But with Pope Francis, it will be excitement on steroids,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities. “I think this pope has created such excitement because of what he’s done to enable the world to understand the basic goodness of the message of Jesus … the world is taken by his ability to communicate this.” 

Sullivan said soup kitchens, as well as centers that help immigrants and refugees acclimate to life in New York would be the best place for the pope to visit to “get a good understanding of some of the hurting.”  

“Some of the most vulnerable people do have to go to food pantries for a basic nutritious meal, and it’s one of the better places to see how the church is reaching out to the poorest,” Sullivan said. 

Read Metro New York’s full interview with Msgr. Sullivan to learn more about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to NYC.

Rebuilding Lives After Husband and Provider’s Death

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

ocasio6smLeukemia took Jean Carlos Ocasio in November, but the apartment he shared with his wife, Yaresly Cosme-Alicea, and their daughters, ages 4 and 7, still vibrates with his presence. It is in the walls he painted in warm earth tones, the steel kitchen shelves he custom made, the dividing wall he built in the apartment’s one bedroom, which is only half-finished, beams and Spackle still visible.

Mr. Ocasio, a 28-year-old who worked in construction, could be found building, tools in hand, until the very last months of his life. He remodeled his family’s apartment, using recycled cabinets and castoff supplies from work sites…

With Mr. Ocasio unable to work, and his $1,600 in monthly disability benefits unable to cover the rent, food and utilities, Ms. Cosme-Alicea realized she needed help in becoming the primary breadwinner.

In 2014 she enrolled in professional development classes at the Grace Institute, a Catholic Charities affiliated nonprofit organization for economically disadvantaged women.

On Oct. 27, the day of Ms. Cosme-Alicea’s graduation from the Grace Institute, he suffered a stroke. A week later, he died.

Read the full story now.

Polar Vortex Strikes; Cold Children Get Coats

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
Catholic Charities coat distribution

Catholic Charities coat distribution

By Alice Kenny

Brrr — It’s cold out!

Fortunately, just as the Polar Vortex slams through New York, Catholic Charities is distributing 3,000 coats to children and families in need who would otherwise be shivering without them.

We’re able to keep them warm thanks to our corporate, media and agency partnerships.

ABC Good Morning America Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Drive with Burlington Coat Factory in partnership with K-I-D-S and Fashion Delivers donated the coats. And Catholic Charities, in turn, is sharing them with 50 of our affiliated agencies across our New York archdiocese.

By working together we’re spreading the warmth from Staten Island, throughout New York City, on both sides of the freezing Hudson River and all the way to up to Sullivan County.

Our coat distribution is, as they say, just the tip of the iceberg. We’re also working with our affiliated agencies to distribute hundreds of donated books along with bookshelves to homeless shelters, 38,000 toys to disabled and needy children and so much more.

So now, during this winter season, stay in and stay safe.

And thank you for your help sharing the warmth.

Mother Gives Autistic Son Special Party

Monday, January 5th, 2015

andrewsEvery available surface of what, an hour earlier, had been an empty housing project community room had been decorated in the colors and likeness of Jamel Hunter’s favorite superhero, Spider-Man. There were Spider-Man balloons, cupcakes, a spider made of frosting on the birthday cake, even a homemade pin-the-tail-on-Spider-Man game.

The night was part party and part prayer, for it was a first for Jamel, 8, and his mother, Phyllis Atwood, 46, wanted it to be perfect.

Jamel has autism, and slight variations from his routines can be jarring, sending him into screaming fits or silent retreats to his own thoughts. The party was a huge leap. The volume of the music, the rows and rows of trays of barbecue and soft drinks and desserts, the brightly colored balloons — it was as if Ms. Atwood were making up for lost time, throwing him three or four parties at the same time.

Ms. Atwood, a single mother, is disabled from Blount’s disease, a condition in which the upper shin bone stops producing bone tissue; and failing kidneys that require she undergo dialysis three times a week. She had loaded her wheelchair with party supplies before making her way from their apartment to the party.

The family receives support and services from Kennedy Child Study Center, a Catholic Charities sponsored agency acknowledged as a leader in educating and supporting children with intellectual disabilities.

Read their full story published Christmas Day in The New York Times.

Time to Give Hope

Monday, December 29th, 2014

timetogivehopeIt’s time to give hope for the New Year.

Your tax-deductible donation by Dec. 31st will help us keep families together.

 

Today’s economy squeezes working-class families, leaving many holding two jobs yet still unable to pay rent, put food on the table and makes ends meet. With donations like yours, we can strengthen these families.

Last year, we helped nearly 100,000 individuals and families with financial assistance, resources, counseling, job placement and more so they could stay together and thrive.

Please consider an end-of-year donation of $100. Together we can provide help and create hope.

Help New Yorkers In Need Stay Warm This Christmas

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

warmcoatpostA warm coat isn’t too much to ask for this Christmas.

When hard-working people fall on hard times, Catholic Charities is there.

The Rivera family lost almost everything when the economic climate caused their day care business to shut down. As winter approaches, families like the Riveras are facing a tough climate of another kind. Last year, our St. Nicholas Project provided warm coats, hats, sweaters and blankets to nearly 4,000 people. Every year, because of caring people like you, the St. Nicholas Project is able to provide winter necessities to those in need.

This Christmas, you can help by donating $65 to help one individual, or $260 to help a family of four.

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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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.