Posts Tagged ‘disabilities’

Team Catholic Charities Races Across the Marathon Finish Line, Raises Key Funds for New Yorkers in Need

Monday, November 4th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Ed Gallagher of Team Catholic Charities

Congratulations, Team Catholic Charities, for successfully finishing the  ING New York City Marathon while raising crucial funds for New Yorkers in need!

First-time marathon runner and Leprechaun Transportation Group President Ed Gallagher came in first for Team Catholic Charities, crossing all five boroughs from Staten Island to Manhattan in just three hours and 42 minutes. He was followed by Jason Hamed, Joe Zenkus, Fr. Joseph Tyrrell, Thomas Carney, Julie Palombo, Jerome Prostasio and Ma Teresa Prostasio.

The runners raised $25,000 for Catholic Charities’ St. Nicholas Project to provide coats, blankets and other essential items during the winter months and year round.

The donations they made by soliciting supporters and sweating up and down city streets prove particularly crucial now as New Yorkers’ need grows while safety nets are cut. Congress slashed food stamp allotments by approximately 5-percent on Friday. In New York, more than 1 million elderly people or those with disabilities will feel the impact, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

To thank Team Catholic Charities runners for their hard-earned donations, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan met with Team Catholic Charities runners at a luncheon organized by one of Catholic Charities dedicated and generous trustees.

“I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the runners for running,” Msgr. Sullivan said on his blog.“I was also impressed that they were willing to reach out to their friends and family to ask for contributions to provide help for families in need through Catholic Charities.”

Thank you!

Learn more about our runners and show your support.

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.”

How to Help New Yorkers in the New Year

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Thank you for everything you do throughout the year to help Catholic Charities provide help and create hope for New Yorkers.

When considering a year-end gift, it’s important to make sure your contribution will make an impact. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York has once again been recertified by the Better Business Bureau’s Charity Review Program, meaning its policies and procedures have been reviewed and meet the standards of the charitable accountability of the Better Business Bureau’s Philanthropic Advisory Service.

While Catholic Charities continues to help Sandy survivors, we need to remember the many others in New York who need help every day. Your 2012 tax-deductible gift can help Catholic Charities protect and nurture children; keep families housed and fed; help immigrants become part of their new home; allow persons with disabilities to find employment; provide necessities for New Yorkers in crisis.

There’s still time to help give families a good beginning for 2013. Donate today, or sign up to volunteer.

What are some ways you’re planning to help your neighbors in the new year?