Posts Tagged ‘Central Harlem’

Hungry New Yorkers Get 5,000 Pounds of Food

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

By Alice Kenny
Marta6.3Yesterday was the moment Martinez Benitez had been praying for.  For nearly two decades, this 94-year-old woman has volunteered at Catholic Charities’ St. Cecelia’s food pantry in Central Harlem.  She has watched as lines crowded with hungry children, mothers, and grandfathers with walkers stretched longer each year.  And yesterday, Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, pulled up a truck filled with 5,000 pounds of food donations.

Catholic Charities and Goya staff along with volunteers such as tiny Ms. Benitez rolled up their sleeves on this 80-degree day and unloaded boxes packed with rice, beans and vegetables.  The donations were split between the food pantries at St. Cecelia’s and at Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service, an affiliate of Catholic Charities.

Goya’s donation marked the kickoff for this weekend’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade and food drive.  The massive gift, enough to feed 4,000 families, will benefit Catholic Charities Feeding Our Neighbors campaign that supports a vast network of food pantries and emergency food programs.  Since the November cuts in the food stamp program (now called S.N.A.P.) hunger is more of a crises than ever in East Harlem where nearly one out of every two children – 37,250 residents in all – live in poverty.

“This will mean that hundreds of families will not go to bed hungry at night,” Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Sullivan said as he hugged Ms. Benitez, then unloaded another box of brown rice.

A Coat of Paint, a Salad of Kale and a Birthday Wish

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Sometimes, all it takes is a coat of paint, a fresh salad or a birthday wish to make a big difference in a person’s life.  Just ask volunteers from Young & Rubicam, one of the world’s largest ad agencies, and Credit Suisse, the multinational financial services holding company.

They rolled up their sleeves in late October to team up with Catholic Charities and serve the mentally challenged, the deaf, the elderly and poor.

Eleven volunteers from Young & Rubicam painted 13 bedrooms plus a dining room at Catholic Charities Beacon of Hope House Terrence Cardinal Cooke Residence, a group home in the Bronx that provides supported housing for deaf and  hard of hearing, mentally ill adults.

Five more Young & Rubicam volunteers threw a birthday party at Catholic Charities’ Lott Residence, a home for the elderly in Harlem, to honor seniors with October birthdays and share the cake, lunch, dancing and festivities with fellow senior residents who have birthdays throughout the year.

Meanwhile, 17 volunteers from Credit Suisse sponsored a Healthy Living Workshop for 50 food pantry clients at Catholic Charities’ Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Community Center in Central Harlem.  Backing up a chef from Just Food, an organization that empowers people to eat better to lead healthier lives, the volunteers cut kale, pulled out pomegranate seeds and helped prepare fresh salads sprinkled with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.  They topped off the day by distributing to the seniors goodie bags filled with the salad ingredients, salad spinners and other prizes.

“I was grateful not just to see how reinvigorated the seniors seemed from this attention but to see the change that happened in volunteers who were giving back,” said Feeding Our Neighbors Program Manager Lizaura German. “So many said they’d donated funds but never before got to rub shoulders one – on- one with those they serve.”

Feeding Our Neighbors Program Director Jeanne McGettigan said, “International finance and a Harlem food pantry are two very different, mostly separate worlds.  It’s hard to say who took away the most from this day, but I saw smiles all around and it felt great.”

Interested in making Quinoa Salad with Kale and Sprouted Mung Beans? 

Get your recipe here.

 

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s Work Personified

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

More than 600 people gathered last week at the Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center to celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.  This central Harlem landmark hosted celebrations sponsored by multiple groups that regularly meet there including, the Harambee Dance Company and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center New York Support Group.

“Harlem is the central point in the New York Archdiocese of Dr. Martin Luther King’s work personified; he walked the streets of Harlem,” said Kennedy Center Director Deacon Rodney Beckford.

The Deacon also served as the master of ceremonies at the at the Central Harlem Vicariate-sponsored interfaith service held last week at All Saints Roman Catholic Church in Harlem.

“The community was not only familiar with Dr. King as a national figure but as a personal figure; at this time every year all the institutions in Harlem rise to the occasion of remembering him and promoting the justice, peace and equality he espoused,” Deacon Beckford continued. “We at Catholic Charities Kennedy Center have always been at the forefront of that celebration.”