It’s Freezing Out and Children Are Hungry

January 16th, 2015

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Help us feed them and our fellow  New Yorkers

Hunger is up and our food pantries and soup kitchens are hard-pressed to meet the growing need. Cardinal Dolan kicked off an interfaith drive to replenish them last Sunday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

We’re falling short and need to provide an additional 500,000 meals this winter. Give today to help feed one our of five children in New York who don’t have enough to eat.

Each dollar you contribute provides 4 meals to our neighbors in need. Help us reach our goal of raising 200,000 meals this week!

 

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Disabled Son & Abused Mom on Path to Self Sufficiency

January 15th, 2015

 

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Wheelchair bound from the severe brittle bone disease he was born with, Edwin Zabala, 10, shares a single room with his mother and younger brother in a shelter for domestic violence survivors.  Edwin is about three feet tall with a round head nearly the size of his torso; his arms and legs are bent inward from frequent breakage.

His younger brother, Jorge, 6, acts as his protector during the rare times, other than school, that their mother feels it is safe to walk with them on the streets outside their shelter.  It is not that she is an overly-cautious mother.  It is that she knows, after witnessing Edwin’s bones crack again and again when they experience the slightest pressure, after seeing criminals hanging out on the tough streets outside and after enduring 11 years of abuse from their father, that the world outside their room for them is a dangerous place.

Thankfully, Dominican Sisters Family Health Services, a Catholic Charities affiliate, has made it safer.

Read their New York Times Neediest Case now.

 

Questions About President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration?

January 14th, 2015

NEWAMERICANSHOTLINE-6By Alice Kenny

There are so many questions about President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration!

Who does it cover?
When does it start?
Where can you get advice?
How do you avoid hucksters defrauding those seeking help?

Check out our answers here in:
• English and Spanish
• Chinese

More questions or looking for a referral to a non-profit agency for free or low-cost advice on your immigration case?

Call our Catholic Charities operated New York State New Americans Hotline at 1 (800) 566-7636.

Rebuilding Lives After Husband and Provider’s Death

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.

Food Banks Receive Huge Boost

January 12th, 2015

Food banks in New York City received a huge boost in donations Sunday, January 11, 2014 to help hungry families across the five boroughs, reports CBS News.

As TV 10/55’s Ilana Gold reported in this news summary, more than 5,000 pounds of donated food sitting in boxes and bags outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral will go to three major interfaith organizations in the city.

 The organizations will then deliver the donations to dozens of food pantries, soup kitchens and meal programs across the city.

 “Is there anything better than feeding our neighbor?” Cardinal Dolan said.

 Dolan showed his support by lending a helping hand.

“This is not only a nice idea, this is a sacred responsibility,” he said.

Sunday’s effort kicked off a campaign in New York City called Feeding Our Neighbors, which will run through Feb. 1st.

The goal of the campaign is to gather enough food to feed 1 million people across New York City.

But the work of these charities won’t stop here. Leaders are pushing for more donations year-round.

“When you’re talking about 300,000 kids alone that are hungry in the greater New York area every day, we need more,” Dolan said.

Watch TV 1055’s video of the event.

For more event coverage, Check out MYFOXNY below:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York joined Catholic Charities, UJA-Federation of New York, and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies to unload food donated by Goya Foods onto Catholic Charities’ Mobile Food Pantry for delivery to food pantries, soup kitchens, and meal programs that serve New Yorkers in need, reports MYFOXNY.

Feeding Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Response began in 2012 and is a joint effort to raise food and funds to replenish food pantries and soup kitchens that feed hungry neighbors.

This year’s effort has been significantly enhanced by the generous donation of 300,000 pounds of food by Goya Foods and by the participation of 26 ShopRite stores in the Hudson Valley region.

Together, Catholic Charities, UJA-Federation, and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies maximized their impact to realize a goal of collecting and distributing 1 million meals to feed the hungry across New York.

Impoverished Children Act Out Cinderella Tale

January 9th, 2015

alianza-cornerstoneBy Alice Kenny

Impoverished children, many with a good idea of what Cinderella’s life was like, recently acted out a version of this well-known tale in “A Native American Cinderella.” The actors, ages 5-12, participate in Catholic Charities Highbridge Gardens Cornerstone Alianza Division after-school program.  Their older teen peers designed the children’s costumes as well as the play’s sets.  Off-Broadway Actress Mariel Ryes, who tutors at the after-school program, directed the play.

The play tells the tale of a brave in search of a wife and a chief’s daughter abused by her older sisters in the wigwam they share.  You know what happens next.

Check out these photos and share the fun.

Alien or Human? You Decide

January 8th, 2015

mario-msgr-protestAs we honor of National Migration Week, January 4 – 10, with this year’s theme, “We Are One Family Under God,” the weekly digest CMS Migration Update honored us by publishing as its lead story a public statement by C. Mario Russell, Esq., director of Catholic Charities Immigrant and Refugee Services.

Recognizing an immigrant’s humanity is a prerequisite for genuine legal reform, Mr. Russell says in this thought-provoking address he delivered to the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at St. John’s University.

“Congress can treat whom it wants, how it wants, when it wants, and if it wants to at all,” Mr. Russell says:

“So why does this dysfunction exist? In my view it is because the immigrant person—the alien—is not considered a ‘person’ in the fullest sense under the constitution, what I have referred to as our social charter. For over 300 years, since ‘we’ first arrived, we have conceived of aliens (even those within our borders) as just that—beings who are outside of our sphere, as ‘other,’ and therefore, as people with diminished status—both existentially and on paper. And, this destines us to repeat a mistake time and again—that of designing laws and policies that are always reactive, not planful, that are product of crisis, not of intention. And so long as this is true, future generations of immigrants in America will not find their right place in society.”

Join us in honoring National Migration Week and check out the full address here.

Polar Vortex Strikes; Cold Children Get Coats

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.

Pope Francis’ Christmas Message Focuses on Children in Peril

January 6th, 2015
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Pope Francis used a traditional Christmas address to emphasize the plight of children in areas of conflict, pointing out their “impotent silence” that “cries out under the spade of many Herods,” a reference to the ancient king who slaughtered all the young boys of Bethlehem, according to the New Testament, reports Elisabetha Poveledo in The New York Times.

Vast numbers of children today are victims of violence, objects of trade and trafficking, or forced to become soldiers, and they need to be saved, he said.

The pope spoke of ‘children displaced due to war and persecution, abused and taken advantage of before our very eyes and our complicit silence.’

Catholic Charities is lead provider of humanitarian help  including legal, social and financial support for the abused children Pope Francis spoke about who flee their native lands and seek protection in the United States.

Do you or does someone you know need help?

Call Catholic Charities-administered New York State New Americans Hotline at 800-566-7636.

Read the full story in The New York Times.

Mother Gives Autistic Son Special Party

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.