Posts Tagged ‘Beatriz Diaz Taveras’

Fidelis Care Provides Grant to Help Serve Needy New Yorkers

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

From Left to Right: George Rodriguez, Fidelis Care NY Director of Marketing; Mark Sclafani, Vice President, Marketing; Pamela Hassan, Chief Marketing Officer; Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Catholic Charities Executive Director; Beatriz Diaz Taveras, Executive Director CCCS

By Alice Kenny

Fidelis Care, a partner with Catholic Charities Community Services (CCCS) for nearly a decade, donated $509,000 to Catholic Charities on May 3, 2013 to further the two agencies’ aligned mission to serve the poor and needy of New York.

This partnership has proved particularly important in light of the punishing impact the lasting effects the economic recession and deep cuts in social service programs have had on families in need.

  • One in every six New Yorkers – 1.4 million of our neighbors – now relies on daily emergency food.
  • More than half are employed yet still cannot manage to make ends meet with their earnings.  Close to 9,700 families with 15,000 children sleep in homeless shelters.

These numbers indicate what Catholic Charities already knows.  Poverty is not merely the lack of adequate financial resources.  Instead, it entails a profound deprivation, a denial of full participation in the economic, social and political life of society and an inability to influence decisions that affect one’s own life.  It means being powerless in a way that assaults not only one’s pocketbook but also one’s fundamental human dignity.

Fidelis Care is the New York State Catholic Health Plan, providing health coverage to children and adults in 58 counties statewide. The mission of Fidelis Care is to ensure that every resident, regardless of income, age, religion, gender, or ethnic background, has access to quality health care and is provided with dignity and respect. Through partnerships with providers, schools, and community agencies like Catholic Charities New York, Fidelis Care works to foster healthier futures for members and their families.

Now as more and more individuals and families seek help, the Fidelis Care grant assists Catholic Charities Community Services as we continue to respond as we always have, with professional case management services across the ten counties of the Archdiocese of New York that alleviate crises and set families and individuals on a path toward stability.

Volunteers Put Down Their Frying Pans and Had a Feast

Monday, May 6th, 2013

On the very last, most beautiful day of April 2013, 143 tireless workers put down their frying pans, serving trays, aprons, and hand trucks to feast and be celebrated.  From the farthest corners of the Bronx to the Lower East Side, volunteers from food pantries and soup kitchens  supported by Catholic Charities Community  Services gathered at the Triangle Building of Alianza for the first-ever Volunteer Appreciation Event held in their honor.

The same men and women who, earlier that day, were packing 200 bags of food or scrubbing pots, got the chance to sit down to a catered meal while CCCS staff called out name after name of volunteer chefs, food packers, inventory specialists, and data base managers.  In all, 46 program coordinators and long-time volunteers from 14 different programs came up to the podium to receive certificates from Monsignor Kevin Sullivan.  Honors were given for years of service ranging from 20 to 36 years, and for those special volunteers who worked “Above and Beyond”, as their certificates stated.   These included senior Maria Sanchez, founder of St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen in the Bronx, who has been leading the program for 20 years, and young Walter Martin, who uses his free time in between job interviews to work for no less than 4 different pantries.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for so long” said Jeanne McGettigan, Director of Emergency Food Services.  “Monsignor Sullivan and Staci-Jo Bruce, Director of Volunteer Services were the ones who finally made it happen.  It was so moving to see all of these generous, hard-working people gathered together in one place.  We really are one big team, but we don’t often get to see ourselves that way.”

Ms. McGettigan said the event organizers were particularly pleased that CCCS staff was able to make these activities completely bi-lingual.  Well over 50% of the volunteers in attendance consider Spanish their first language.  To make sure that all felt included, everything from invitations, to program cards and presentations by speakers was carried out in Spanish and English.  Project Manager Lizaura German emceed and translated as needed.  Monsignor Sullivan and Beatriz Diaz Taveras, Executive Director of CCCS traveled comfortably between languages as they thanked the volunteers for their steadfast efforts to beat back hunger in their communities.

Also delivering a rousing speech in two languages was special guest Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez of Washington Heights and Inwood.  Remembering how, during his childhood, his own family had sometimes needed food assistance, he told the volunteers that he “didn’t think twice” about dedicating Council discretionary funds to the busy CCCS pantry nearby his office.

An additional service award was presented to Christopher Melito of Credit Suisse, recognizing the company’s Day of Service, which brought 20 corporate employees to a CCCS food pantry for the day to prepare and demonstrate healthy cooking methods and give pantry customers the equipment to carry out the same practices in their own kitchens.

The feeling in the room was so joyful, and the cumulative effect of hearing story after story of faith in action was so moving, a number of staff and volunteers  stated their conviction that this first-ever event should now be considered an annual gathering not to be missed.