Archive for the ‘Strengthening Families and Resolving Crises’ Category

Three Ways to End Hunger Now

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

St. Cecilia’s parishioner, Guadalupe Merino, writes a letter to Congress as daughter, Joyce Merino, naps in her arms.

About a hundred people from nonprofit organizations and churches in New York put pen to paper last month and wrote letters to their member of Congress, urging them to reauthorize the child nutrition bill, writes Margaret Tran, a regional organizer at Bread for the World.

Catholic Charities and Bread for the World organized an Offering of Letters at St. Peter’s Church and New York Catholic Youth Day, both in Yonkers, and at St. Cecilia’s Church in East Harlem. Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland County in Haverstraw plans to host one in the future.

It is vital that Congress hears from their constituents, especially since over 16 million children in the U.S. don’t always know where their next meal is coming from.

This fall, the legislation that funds child nutrition programs will expire. The bill funds five major programs: National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Summer Food Service Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the WIC Program. These programs serve roughly 40 million adults and children nationwide.

1. New York high school students were busy during New York Catholic Youth Day. They were simultaneously involved in a Feeding Our Neighbors food drive (cosponsored by Catholic Charities) and an Offering of Letters. The students and their youth group leaders donated hundreds of pounds of food to local pantries and wrote letters to members of Congress, urging them to support the child nutrition programs.

Youth groups were eager to write letters since they personally know students who struggle with hunger and depend on school meals every day as their only source of nutrition…

2. The senior leaders of the various ministry groups at  St. Cecilia’s also participated in an Offering of Letters… Flor Abad, case manager for Catholic Charities Community Services at St. Cecilia’s, said he was pleased that all the leaders were enthusiastic about advocacy since so many in the community are struggling.

“At St. Cecilia’s food pantry, I see families in need. I hear people who have 5, 6, 7 children in the house and don’t have food,” Abad said.

3. Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland County(CCCSR) will host a future Offering of Letters that will engage youth from county parishes to write letters to Congress. The goal will be ambitious – 1,000 letters ahead of CCCSR’s annual September hunger awareness action event.

“Policies and community efforts to increase access and provide education and resources is needed. Our goal is to build a greater sense of community awareness and build an advocacy group to end hunger,” said Martha Robles, executive director of CCCSR.

Read the full Bread for the World blog post.

Find Out the Best Way to Celebrate Mother’s Day

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Today a mother ignores her own hunger to feed her child.  She waits on line for donated clothes and alters them so her child can shine.  She foregoes sleep to work a second job that barely pays the bills.

These are just some of the sacrifices mothers make for their children. All over New York, mothers are working tirelessly so that their children can have opportunities they themselves may have only dreamt of.With Mother’s Day drawing near, we invite you to honor a wonderful woman — your own mother — by supporting mothers and children in need.

Their future and the future of their children can be brighter thanks to your support.

Three Surprise Lessons Learned

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
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Fordham University Social Work Graduate Student, Elsie Hernandez

Join us below as Fordham University Social Work Graduate Student Elsie Hernandez reflects on lessons learned during the 8-month internship she is completing with Catholic Charities Community Services.

By Elsie Hernandez

I have my colleagues, supervisors, and our clients to thank for their role in my education—I have learned the most by working with them. If I could summarize a year’s worth of learning in three lessons it would be this:

1. Never be afraid of asking questions. Asking the right question can open up a world of possibilities.

For example, a client whose work hours had recently decreased and was on a limited income had her electricity cut off. She did not understand why Con Edison required full payment of $2900 to reconnect services. I watched as a Catholic Charities case manager contacted Con Edison to request a breakdown of the client’s bill. At that point the Con Edison representative noticed that $2400 was added to the account in one day from back charges that had never been included in her account in the last 6 years. Understanding that this was an unrealistic payment for the client to make, the representative asked her supervisor to make an exception. The client was provided a payment plan with a low deposit and services were reconnected the next day.

2. Trust in your client’s resiliency.

We cannot solve every problem. Clients have surprised me with the enormous amount of strength and resourcefulness that they possess. They have expressed hope, faith and optimism in the face of adversity. A college student asked for assistance with paying for the class she needed to graduate. Together we brainstormed for resources she could activate.  This empowered her to creatively come up with solutions to solve her own problem. She will be graduating this May.

3. You never know which of your actions will have the most meaning to your clients.

A client was seeking assistance with paying her utility arrears. I was able to refer the client to the Human Resources Administration (HRA) for help.  Catholic Charities was also able to provide her with emergency food and a winter coat. I thought I did not do enough to help her but the client was moved to tears.

Hundreds Rally for Cost-of-living Adjustments

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Photo Credit: Human Services Council

“Hundreds of representatives of the human services sector convened on the steps of City Hall on Monday, April 27, 2015, to call for cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) in their city contracts,” reports New York Nonprofit Daily. Representatives from Catholic Charities stood among them.

The City relies on nonprofit human services providers to deliver billions of dollars in essential services to communities across the City. Despite a recovering economy and a skyrocketing cost of living, however, these nonprofit organizations have not received a City COLA since 2008.

The Human Services Council of New York (HSC) organized this rally to draw attention to the needs of the sector and the communities that it serves. HSC supports Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to fighting inequality, and wage increases for our sector will advance this cause.

The human services sector plays an important part in improving community health and safety, combating poverty, and fostering equity.

Nonprofit organizations provide job training and placement, early childhood education and after-school enrichment, violence intervention, legal assistance, homeless shelters, community health services, assistance to immigrants, senior services, and much more.

These services empower struggling New Yorkers to overcome a vast array of challenges impeding their ability to succeed. In addition to improving the lives of the disadvantaged, this industry is a major economic engine. In New York City alone, nonprofit organizations deliver nearly $5.5 billion in human services each year through City-funded contracts. The vast majority of human services workers are women and people of color.

 

Read more in New York Nonprofit Daily.

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.

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.

Executive Action Q & A

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

About 338,000 undocumented immigrants living in New York State may qualify for President Obama’s Executive Action on immigration reform.

YOU – or someone you know — may be one of them.

Q: Four Letters – What Do They Mean & How Can They Help?

A: The President’s Executive Action is still being fought in the courts.  If it goes through, these four letters – DACA or DAPA – could change your life.

  • Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)
    DAPA helps parents who arrived in the United States on or before January 1, 2010, and who have at least one U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident son or daughter. This allows immigrant parents to stay in the country, work legally for 3 years, and apply for travel permission.
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
    DACA helps immigrants who came to the United States before their 16th birthday and arrived on or before January 1, 2010. This program allows immigrants who qualify to stay in the country, work legally for 3 years, and apply for travel permission.

Q: Why are these programs important?

A: The U.S. government will not deport immigrants who qualify for either of these programs for 3 years. This promise is called “Deferred Action” and will be written on a Work Authorization card with your name and picture. Even though these programs are temporary, if you believe you qualify, continue to gather documents and evidence for your application.

Q:Too Complicated to Read – Time for a Face-to-Face

A: Several times each week, Catholic Charities and its partners in the Archdiocese and in the New York area offer free informational presentations.

For other events in the New York City area, visit the Mayor’s Offices of Immigration Affairs events page

Sen. Schumer Announces $2.1 Million More for Hurricane Sandy Victims Served by Catholic Charities

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

Huge news for the 3,000 families still recovering from Hurricane Sandy’s devastation!

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer just announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved $2.1 million in funding for Catholic Charities, the organization operating the New York State Disaster Case Management Program for Superstorm Sandy victims.

“I am happy to announce that New York State’s Disaster Case Management Program contract will continue, uninterrupted,” said Senator Schumer.  “With roughly 3,000 open cases still unfinished, Sandy victims desperately needed this extension to keep the focus on rebuilding their lives and their properties.

“Without some help and expert advice from great organizations like Catholic Charities, it’s very difficult for homeowners to juggle the competing interests pulling on them. This money will allow this process to continue and we will keep fighting for additional funds.”

Click here for details.

Were you hurt by Hurricane Sandy, have an open case and still need help?

Call our Sandy Referral Line:  855-258-0483

Help is here:  Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Catholic Charities Fights for Fair Pay

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Over 100 Advocate and Community Groups including Hazel Dukes of NAACP, Beth Finkel of AARP and Kevin Sullivan of Catholic Charities join “Fight for Fair Pay” Campaign, reports WENY News.

They joined 85 business and 86 faith-based leaders across New York to support for the Governor’s Fight for Fair Pay campaign that would raise minimum wage to $10.50 statewide and $11.50 in New York City.

An increase in the minimum would lift more than 100,000 New Yorkers out of poverty.

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York told WENY News that “Catholic Charities sees firsthand, every day the needs of working men and women who are struggling to provide for their families… Too many are working more than one minimum-wage job.

“Raising the minimum wage affords working families a better opportunity to pay the rent, put a decent meal on the table and meet other basic needs.

“As a recent study commissioned by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, UJA-Federation, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York demonstrates, raising the minimum wage would have a significant impact on reducing poverty in New York.

“Decent work with decent wages is critical for all New Yorkers to live their lives in dignity.”

Check out the full story on WENY News.

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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