Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Charities’

Sight Lost, Sight Restored

Monday, November 18th, 2013

By Alice Kenny
All of us, not just the unlucky or disadvantaged, rely on the fragile human apparatus of sight for survival. Any change, great or small, can reconfigure a life.

Jasmine Carrero, along with sons Timothy, 11, and Travis, 9, have Stickler syndrome, a genetic abnormality that is stealing their sight.  They are awaiting tests to find out whether baby sister Lillian, now 5 months, must cope with this syndrome as well.

Meanwhile, Cynthia Gibbs-Pratt, 47, who works as a food stamp eligibility specialist, had 20/20 vision for most of her life.  Suddenly progressive macular degeneration began robbing her of her sight.  Her husband left her.  Now alone, she fears using a cane because it would announce to those roaming the dangerous streets where she lives that she is defenseless.

Fortunately, Catholic Charities came to their aid.

Read their profiles published on Sunday in The New York Times.:

Trying To Put Words Into Action

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Read Monsignor Kevin Sullivan’s speech at the 2013 Pierre Toussaint Scholarship Dinner :

 

Thank you.

Tonight, with dubious judgment, you graciously present me this medallion named after a black immigrant, slave and saint.  This white, free-born Amercian sinner is appreciative, humbled, inspired and burdened.

I accept this medallion on behalf of Catholic Charities’ thousands of trustees, staff, volunteers and benefactors, who provide help and create hope to New Yorkers in need – non-Catholics and Catholics alike – black, brown, yellow and white, overwhelmingly poor and vulnerable, each made in the image of God, worthy of dignity, life and love.

I commend Brother Tyrone and the commissioners of the Office of Black Ministry for devoting the proceeds of this dinner to advancing the education of future leaders, both here and in Haiti.  Nothing is more important.

This 50th anniversary year of the March on Washington compels us tonight to not avoid the issue of race, and I include ethnicity.

That we have – and need – a black ministry office, testifies that race continues to haunt us as both society and church.

That we have a large and expanding Catholic Charities bears witness to our failures to implement the dream of many – including Martin Luther King, Pierre Toussaint, Dorothy Day, and not least, an itinerant preacher from Nazareth named Jesus.

Catholic Charities serves overwhelmingly, the poorest and most vulnerable of our society.

Catholic Charities serves overwhelmingly, black and brown New Yorkers.  To not correlate these two is to perpetuate the inequality that makes us less as a nation and less as a church.

Pierre Toussaint’s cause for sainthood is so compelling: personal responsibility and social responsibility, the dignity of work, a vibrant faith that integrates the worship of God and love of neighbor.

We are beneficiaries of Pierre Toussaint’s legacy.  We must accept being its burden bearers.

As a society we need to affirm and advance the dignity of work: in cleaning our buildings, teaching our children, driving our buses, caring for our elderly and infirm, on 700 street corners across this nation where 120,000 day laborers gather – and even far away, in the garment factories of  Bangladesh where workers earn $32 a month.  And yes, even in the neighborhood hairdressers, and the butler in the White House.

As a church we cannot remain satisfied with periodic liturgies that celebrate diversity in song and vestment.  These are necessary and life giving, and insiring.  And it is good and holy that “his eye is on the sparrow and he watches over me.”  But let us also make sure that his eye is on board rooms and markets, workplaces and jails.  Let us make certain that he watches over those places, as well.

As Catholic Charities, we must stop smugly touting the diversity in our waiting rooms filled with black and brown families.  Our boast should be that our board rooms and executive management meetings, our investment managers and vendors are black and brown.  Not yet, I am afraid to say, but I too, have a dream.

And to our neighbors of all faiths and no faith who say “amen” to these points, we invite you one more step.  We will pray and we will worship.  We need a God to inspire, support, and challenge us forward – a God whose image within us and everyone else needs to be acknowledged.  And we say to our neighbors, who may not share all our values, we need to be respected, allowed to be inspired by our faith, and exercise those values as together we create the common good.

I appreciate being here with so many who share an ardent desire to make our diverse world more compassionate, equal and just – especially regarding race.   You and I know that actions that put flesh on that ardent desire get a bit uncomfortable, and generate heat.

Let me end by sharing a refrain from a song by Pink that has haunted me for the past few months:

“Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame,
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned,
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die.
You gotta get up and try, try, try.
You gotta get up and try, try, try.
You gotta get up and try, try, try.”

Fellow beneficiaries and fellow burden bearers of Pierre Toussaint and many others, we gotta get up and try.

Thank you.

Donning Plastic Aprons and Delivering Pasta; Catholic Charities Teams with POTS with Their Recipe for Success.

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Donning plastic aprons and matching gloves, 12 volunteers, all staff from Catholic Charities, served 530 lunches last week to homeless, poor and working-poor Bronx residents in POTS community dining room.

“You get the feeling you’re helping people and find a new appreciation for what you have,” said one of the volunteers, Catholic Charities Accounts Clerk Santa Rivera.

POTS, short for Part of the Solution, provides hot, healthy meals to its “guests” seven days a week in a bright, airy space furnished with small tables that give it the feel of a neighborhood café.   The nonprofit organization serves as a “one-stop shop” that provides a wide array of assistance programs under one roof.  Its  goal and success comes from moving its guests from crises to stability and, ultimately, to self sufficiency.  In addition to the community dining room, POTS offers a food pantry, clothing program, hair cuts, health care, mail service, family club, case management services and a legal clinic.

Serving guests at the table as if it were a restaurant, Catholic Charities volunteers participated in POTS’ model of upholding client dignity.  When guests arrived, the volunteers delivered beverages and brought plates brimming with pasta and vegetables. Behind the scenes, volunteers sorted bread, prepped food and washed dishes with POTS staff. And after guests left, they cleared  tables, swept, mopped and took out the garbage.

Meanwhile, fellow Catholic Charities volunteers stocked the POTS Food Pantry, a grocery-store style pantry that invites those in need to walk its aisles and “shop”  for the produce, dairy, canned and packaged items they need to prepare balanced meals in their own homes.

Catholic Charities staff said their volunteer experience made lasting memories.

“We were able to see how great an impact our small amount of volunteering has on people’s lives,” said Catholic Charities Accounts Payable Coordinator Monica Parra. “And we saw how people were so grateful that we were there to help.”

Looking  for help or want to volunteer at POTS?

Click here to learn more.

How to prepare for Immigration Reform

Friday, April 19th, 2013

A. There are no new laws yet and no “amnesty;” all we have is a bill in the Senate. We are still many months away – if not longer – from any new laws. You can call us at 800-566-7636 to check if the law has passed; we’ll be happy to answer your calls.This Senate bill is only the beginning of the conversation. There will be a long time before we know what the law looks like and before anyone can apply for anything.

B. In the meantime you should NOT give anyone money to any notarios, agencies, or lawyers to prepare an application or help them gather documents. Once we have a Comprehensive Immigration Reform law, there will be many reliable agencies that will help people at low cost and possibly for free. There is no need to pay thousands of dollars now.

C. What you can do is to start preparing on your own in the following ways:

i. Start a box of important documents, including:

1. Identity documents;

2. Evidence of when you came to the US and how long you have been here (the date in the Senate bill is December 31, 2011, but people who came to the US before they turned 16 and would qualify under the DREAM Act, should gather evidence for all those years that they have been living in the US);

3. Evidence of any trips outside the US after the first arrival (evidence of how long they were out of the US);

4. Evidence of work (particularly if you are an undocumented farm worker) or education in the US (particularly for DREAM Act-eligible kids);

5. Copies of any applications you already made to INS/USCIS;

6. If ever arrested, get the certificates of disposition, because those with certain serious convictions will not be eligible to apply, so you will need to show those conviction records to an attorney.

ii. Start learning English;

iii. US citizens who want to sponsor their siblings should talk to an attorney about starting the process now (the Senate bill proposes to eliminate visas for siblings of US citizens – but that can also change);

iv. Save money because there will be penalty fees (Senate bill says $2000, to be paid in stages) in addition to application fees.

Immigration Reform: The Good of Our Country Demands Our Commitment

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, representing Timothy Cardinal Dolan, shook hands with Senator Chuck Schumer at the formal presentation of the bi-partisan Senate bill on comprehensive immigration reform at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Thursday April 18, 2013.

“The presence of so many diverse groups at the introduction of this bi-partisan bill shows that immigration reform is not about narrow self-interest, but the common good of the nation,”  Msgr. Sullivan said.

“The Catholic Church, and in a particular way Catholic Charities, partners with many to promote just policies and provide compassionate services that enable our neighbors to live in dignity as made in God’s image.  We understand there are different opinions on this important issue.  We will listen, and talk together to move forward to reform our broken immigration system. The good of our country and of individual neighbors and their families demand our commitment. ”

 

Looking for information about Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

Catholic Charities is here to help.

Contact us now.

Call Catholic Charities at New York State New Americans Hotline: 1-800-566-7636

Youth Competition Garners 7,000 Meals for Hungry New Yorkers

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Thanks to a contest that pitted youth against youth and parish against parish, Catholic Charities in partnership with the Office of Youth Ministry pulled together an additional 7,000 meals for hungry New Yorkers at Catholic Youth Day on April 6 at the College of Mt. St. Vincent in Riverdale.

Holy Rosary Parish of Portchester won first place by bringing in cartons packed with 460 pounds of food.  All told, the contest yielded close to 1300 pounds of food donations.

Holy Rosary’s win entitles them to a day with Fr. Joseph Espaillat, director of youth ministry for the Archdiocese of New York.  He will personally visit their parish or youth group and preach, lead a retreat, celebrate Mass, play kickball, and, if they like, throw a pizza party for parish youth.

Catholic Charities provided staff and support for the Office of Youth Ministry contest to help feed our hungry neighbors. The Youth Day event featured music and performances by different ministries in the Archdiocese of New York including Full Armor Band, Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR and many more.

The contest was part of the Feeding Our Neighbors campaign to help pantries feed those who would otherwise go hungry.  Feeding Our Neighbors is an interfaith effort to fight hunger by replenishing dwindling supplies in emergency food programs that continue to be stretched thin.

During this time of great need, one in five New York State children grow up in poverty and more than one million New Yorkers do not have enough to eat. This campaign grows out of an awareness and concern that embraces New Yorkers of all religions who must turn to food pantries, soup kitchens and senior center meal programs, to sustain them and their families.

The food donations were delivered to St. Peter’s Parish food pantry in Yonkers, NY. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, the donations represent an additional 1,040 meals for hungry children and families served by this pantry plus collections at masses that raised $1500 to support 6,000 more meals in the Archdiocese of New York.

Join us in feeding our neighbors.

Do your part to make sure no hungry neighbor is turned away.

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES $38.5 MILLION SERVICE PROGRAM TO HELP VICTIMS OF SUPERSTORM SANDY

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
For Immediate Release: April 3, 2013

Residents in NYC and Nassau, Suffolk, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester Counties Will Receive One-Stop-Shop Assistance for Sandy-Related Resources

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $38.5 million program that New York State will oversee in conjunction with Catholic Charities that will provide over 200 service coordinators to assist individuals and families affected by Superstorm Sandy recover and access essential resources. The Disaster Case Management Program (DCMP) provides supplemental federal funding to states, U.S. Territories, and federally recognized Tribes after a Presidential disaster declaration that includes Individual Assistance.

The DCMP provides funding for a partnership between a disaster case manager and a disaster survivor to develop and carry out a Disaster Recovery Plan. This partnership provides the survivor with a single point of contact to access a broad range of resources. The process involves an assessment of the survivor’s verified disaster-caused unmet needs, development of a goal-oriented plan that outlines the steps necessary to achieve recovery, organization and coordination of information on available resources that match the disaster-caused needs, and the monitoring of progress toward reaching the recovery plan goals, and, when necessary, survivor advocacy.

“As recovery from Sandy continues, we’re entering a critical phase where direct one-on-one service will provide survivors with the assistance they need to get their lives back in order,” said Governor Cuomo. “The Disaster Case Management Program covers every facet of recovery assistance needed by individuals and families to ensure that those hit hard by the storm have their needs addressed efficiently and effectively. Working with partners like Catholic Charities, we will bring more resources directly to the people who need help the most.”

“Hurricane Sandy was absolutely devastating, physically and emotionally,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. “The state, city and surrounding counties have done a remarkable job making assistance available to those impacted by this storm, but sometimes those affected can be overwhelmed by what it takes to get back on their feet. Having a single point of contact to explain the breadth of services and help navigate the system can be a tremendous help to individuals and families trying to recover from Sandy’s devastation. Approximately 200 case managers will be a portal of help and hope for those impacted as they begin to rebuild their homes and lives.”

DCMP coordinators, who will be stationed at locations in the 13 hardest-hit counties, can be a lifeline for people coping with Superstorm Sandy’s devastation, but who may be unfamiliar with the range of services currently being offered by local, State and Federal government.

Service coordinators are both advocates and expediters for those affected by Sandy. They first assess if clients have unmet needs related to the storm. If people qualify, they will be assigned a disaster case manager to serve as a single point of contact for all government- and insurance-related assistance. Then, based on interactions with the client, the service coordinators create individualized disaster recovery plans, including advocating for access to needed services, coordinating benefits, and making referrals for services outside the scope of disaster case management. Existing Sandy-related services for individuals and families range from direct federal and state grants and Small Business Association loans to insurance advocacy and referrals to the range of not-for-profit and voluntary programs that have been established.

The Superstorm Sandy DCMP is modeled after a similar program run by Catholic Charities in 34 counties across New York State following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. For Sandy assistance, Catholic Charities will either provide the service coordinators directly, or sub-contract them out to locally-based not-for-profit agencies that have demonstrated experience with this type of work, such as the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, Good Shepherd Services, Lutheran Social Service and the Center for Independence of the Disabled. Catholic Charities will also subcontract to several organizations, such as the Greater Chinatown Community Association and El Centro del Immigrante, which can provide these services in additional languages so that no New York community gets left behind.

Eligibility is open to anyone with an unmet need that arose from or was exacerbated by Superstorm Sandy, even those who have not applied to FEMA for assistance. Those impacted by the storm can call 1-855-258-0483 to find out the location and contact information for their nearest service provider. A full list can also be found online atwww.catholiccharitiesny.org.

The State anticipates that more than 10,000 people will take advantage of this service. Already, more than 250,000 New York residents have applied to FEMA for disaster-related services following Sandy. According to FEMA, in past disasters, roughly 5% of FEMA applicants take advantage of disaster case management services.

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Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov


New York State | Executive Chamber | press.office@exec.ny.gov | 518.474.8418

Electrocuted During Hurricane Sandy, Survivor Struggles to Recover

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Leaning on his black cane, Fujimoto Takashi, 64, struggles to pronounce words that convey the terror he felt the afternoon his basement apartment in Midland Beach, Staten Island, morphed into a whirlpool of chairs, refrigerator, motion and mementos.

Born in Hiroshima four years after the atom bomb was dropped there, Mr. Takashi already knew devastation first hand.  He grew up believing, he said, that if he could make his way to the United States he would find a safe place to thrive.

For a long time, his plan seemed to work.  Mr. Takashi moved to California in 1977.  He developed a career as a photographer.  And he later made his home in Staten Island.

Never did he suspect, he said, that a disaster spurred by nature and not by man would nearly kill him. But when Hurricane Sandy tore through Staten Island, the subsequent flooding inside his basement apartment electrocuted and nearly drowned him.  It destroyed his health, his home and his means of making a living.

“Growing up in Hiroshima I helped other people and felt their pain; now others are feeling my pain,” Mr. Takashi said.  “Catholic Charities gave me the encouragement I needed to not give up.”

Monday, October 29, began like most days, Mr. Takashi said.  He was fixing a camera light plugged into the wall of in his Andrews Street apartment.

Suddenly he noticed water pouring in under his front door.  He grabbed for the camera light plug.

But it was too late.  Electrical currents bore through his right calf.  They shot in one end, out the other and left a hole as their memento.   He suffered a stroke, he recalled, then passed out.

He awoke to the taste of salt water, bouncing on furniture that floated five feet above the floor.  His right arm and leg no longer functioned.

“Help me!” Fuji shouted.

Hurricane winds and neighbors’ panic smothered his screams.  Night came and went. Fifteen hours passed.  Water receded.  His energy waned.

Finally, at 10:30 the following morning, his landlord knocked on his door.

Much of what happened next is blur, he said.  An ambulance rushed him to some hospital – he can’t remember which.  Later he was transferred to Staten Island University Hospital. For 38 days doctors treated burns that covered much of his body and physical and mental repercussions from his stroke.  Finally, he was transferred to Golden Gate Nursing Home where therapists began teaching him how to walk again.

After two months in a hospital and rehabilitation center, he was released to go home.

But everything had changed.  Hurricane Sandy stole much of his memory and mobility.  It destroyed his photographic equipment, stealing his livelihood.  And it tore apart his home, leaving his furniture, clothing – all he owned – rotting and covered with mold.

“When I came back home I had nothing,” Mr. Takashi said.

His landlord gave him a blanket and an air mattress.  But the mattress leaked.

“It was like sleeping on the floor,” Fuji added.

Fortunately, an associate of Fuji’s learned of his plight and called Catholic Charities for help.

Catholic Charities Staten Island has taken a leadership role in partnering with nonprofit organizations to speed services and support to residents of this borough devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  From disaster-response professionals who visit parishes to deliver information and resources, to volunteers who collect and distribute food and supplies, to neighbors checking in on neighbors, the entire Catholic Charities community responded, providing help, creating hope and rebuilding lives.

Since Mr. Takashi’s stroke left him wheelchair bound and confused, Catholic Charities Case Manager Marvin Walker visited him in his home.  Mr. Walker helped Mr. Takashi apply successfully for a variety of grants and subsidies including new furniture from Project Hospitality, appliances from the Staten Island Back to Basics initiative, gift cards to cover necessities from the Siller Foundation, help paying heating bills from the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), food stamps from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and disaster recovery financial assistance from FEMA.  He helped Mr. Takashi apply for Access-a-Ride, bus rides catered for persons with disabilities.  And he gave Mr. Takashi food from Catholic Charities food pantries along with clothing, pots, pans, utensils and other household necessities.

Meanwhile, Catholic Charities Volunteer Services paired Fuji up with Catholic Charities Anderson Avenue Senior Director Marni Caruso.  She volunteered to drive Mr. Takashi during her personal time to medical appointments and meetings with the numerous government agencies that suddenly play a large role in his life.

Fuji’s road to recovery remains long and difficult.  He has progressed from wheelchair to walker to cane.  Many memories remain hazy.  His finances remain tight.

“I never thought I would have to depend on others,” Fuji says.  “But without Catholic Charities I couldn’t have survived.”

Thrift Store Closing Sale: Everything Must Go!

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

The Thrift Store is closing its doors on Wednesday, March 27.

That means deep discounts and deals galore.

 Where?

Catholic Charities Community Services Thrift Store
402 East 152nd Street, Bronx, NY 10455

When?

Store Hours 
Monday-Thursday 9am to 3pm
Friday & Saturday 9am to 5pm

Heads Up:  Fixtures, displays and supplies will still be available for sale after closing day.

 

Shop Online Anytime! Click on links below:

Shop CCCS Etsy Thrift Store Shop CCCS Ruby Lane Thrift Store Shop on CCCS Amazon thrift store Shop on CCCS eBay Thrift Store

Donate your vehicle: www.catholiccharitiesny.org/donateyourvehicle

Comments & Questions: cccsthriftstore@archny.org