Posts Tagged ‘Disaster Response’

Our Prayers for All Hurt by Massive Colorado Floods; Our Help for Disaster Survivors

Monday, September 16th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Our thoughts and prayers are with all hurt by the massive flooding that already damaged nearly 20,000 homes in 15 Colorado counties and, as of last night, left 1,243 persons unaccounted for.

As New Yorkers who struggled through Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene, we know firsthand about coping with natural disasters.

At Catholic Charities, we know firsthand how to help.

Please remember that we are here to help during disasters and every day.

From disaster response professionals visiting parishes to deliver information and resources, to volunteers collecting and distributing food and supplies, to neighbors checking in on neighbors, the entire Catholic Charities community responds to meet the human needs of the victims, providing help and creating hope for rebuilding lives.

Many still struggle to recover from Hurricane Sandy. If you need help recovering from Hurricane Sandy,
please click on this link.

Click here for Help.

Click here to Help.

Help is here.

Surviving Sandy; This Year There Are No Roses

Friday, August 30th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Raindrops pour down a battered picket fence dotted with Mickey and Minnie Mouse paintings surrounding Marina Babkina’s two-story attached home in Midland Beach. They serve as faded reminders of a once-thriving international daycare center and home now struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy touched down in this Staten Island enclave.

Ms. Babkina’s Karousel Daycare Center and Fairytale music studio provided crucial support for her predominantly Russian-born neighbors. In addition to allowing parents to work worry free, it helped young children, many of whom spoke no English, acclimate to their new lives in the United States.

“The human brain is set up to distinguish music before it distinguishes speech,” says Ms. Babkina, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from Russia nearly 20 years ago and holds masters degrees in music and economics. So Ms. Bakina, a widow whose husband died of cancer in 2002, used songs and instruments ranging from guitars to keyboards to help her tiny charges, 14 in all, learn language, math and art.

That ended when Hurricane Sandy pushed waves from the Atlantic Ocean that roars just one block away into the basement and first floor that housed her business. Meanwhile, 90- mile-an-hour winds ripped through her second-floor skylights, destroying the walls, floors and furniture that made up her home.

Ms. Babkina evacuated. But her adult son, Ilya, returned to save instruments stored in the finished basement. Instead, he nearly drowned. Forty-degree ocean water filled the lower room. He escaped by pulling himself up the cellar stairs, pushing his way out the front door and swimming nearly 15 blocks up Hyland Blvd. Finally, he reached dry land.

Yet at first, Ms. Babkina seemed like one of the lucky ones. Unlike many of her neighbors, she had flood insurance.

But she used up her flood insurance – $50,000 in all — to replace windows, walls, cabinets and appliances before engineers noticed that her house was shifting. Chocking on scents of mold mixed with sawdust, Ms. Bakina points to cracks zigzagging her windows and walls, salt water still flowing along her foundation and a jagged 12-square-foot gap in cement, a reminder of a cracked pipe that had to be dug up beneath her basement.

Her Catholic Charities Disaster Case Manager, Valerya Osipova, is helping this once-independent woman navigate a new world characterized by FEMA and forms, hope and desperation.

It has not been easy.

 

Ms. Babkina’s home is wedged in the middle of five attached houses. Construction engineers now recommend building pillars that would extend from deep in the ground to the houses’ roofs to shore up the now shifting homes. This, however, requires consent and financial support from all five homeowners as well as their insurance companies.

 

Meanwhile, Ms. Babkina is unable to move back into her home, reestablish the business that once paid her bills or provide the daycare that allowed many of her neighbors to work.

 

Ms. Osipova is helping Ms. Babkina negotiate with FEMA and with her insurance company. She obtained a $500 grant to replace the battered fence with a new one to allow Ms. Babkina to reopen her daycare business. She lined up donations that range from flooring to skylights and furniture between. She provided her with food from a Catholic Charities food pantry, helped her apply for food stamps and linked her with other government programs that Ms. Bakina once thought she would never need. And she serves as a comfort and sounding board when the time and energy needed to maintain the struggle seems too much for her to bear.

 

“It’s not easy,” Ms. Babkina says, pointing out a plot of dirt once filled by rose bushes that would bloom on her July birthday. “This year, there are no roses.”


Our Prayers for All Hurt by the Oklahoma Tornado; Our Help for Disaster Survivors

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those hurt by the devastating, mile-wide tornado that touched down near Oklahoma City yesterday, killing at least 51 people—including 20 children—decimating homes, businesses and a pair of elementary schools.

As New Yorkers who have unfortunately struggled through Hurricane Sandy, Tropical Storm Irene and the World Trade Center destruction, we know firsthand about coping with disasters.

At Catholic Charities, we know firsthand how to help.

Please remember that we are here to help during disasters and every day.

From disaster response professionals visiting parishes to deliver information and resources, to volunteers collecting and distributing food and supplies, to neighbors checking in on neighbors, the entire Catholic Charities community responds to meet the human needs of the victims, providing help and creating hope for rebuilding lives.

Many still struggle to recover from Hurricane Sandy. Please come see your local Disaster Case Manager for help rebuilding your life.

For disaster recovery, click to learn more.

Click here for Help.

Click here to Help.

Help is here.

Hurricane Irene: Families Still Grappling with Frustration, Despair – and Gratitude

Friday, March 1st, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Nearly two years after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee swept through New York State, families still struggled with exposed walls and wires, no running water and no heat.

The Benson family from Lake George who were recently profiled on CBS 6 Albany News spoke of their  frustration, aggravation and despair – and their gratitude that relief is finally here.

Catholic Charities New York, in recognition for its success helping victims within the Archdiocese of New York recover from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, now provides disaster recovery services beyond the Hudson Valley.  The Catholic Charities Disaster Case Management Program  is working directly with the New York State Office of Emergency Management and partner agencies to provide ongoing case management for nearly 3,000 families spread over 34 counties from Long Island to the Canadian border.

While many short-term goals following these massive storms have been met, Catholic Charities is now focusing on helping families with long-term case management to rebuild their homes and lives.

“We’re just thankful that someone is worried about us,” Mr. Benson said.

Whether it is Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, Catholic Charities is here to help.

Day in and day out, Catholic Charities provides a vast range of programs and services for those struggling with long-term needs or confronting sudden disaster. Our federation of agencies offers a variety of specialized assistance designed to meet individual needs, non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

Looking for help?

Catholic Charities Provides Intra-Agency Orientation for Disaster Case Management

Friday, January 18th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities New York kicked off New York State’s coordinated disaster case management (DCM) program by offering a two-day orientation and training on January 10-11 for disaster case managers, supervisors, and other key staff.  This kickoff training event was held at Cardinal Spellman Center in lower Manhattan.

More than 50 Catholic Charities New York staff members along with staff from various social service organizations including Catholic Charities Brooklyn Queens, Project Hope and BronxWorks attended.

Training topics included disaster impacts, resources available to help New Yorkers hurt by Hurricane Sandy, the role of disaster case managers, and essential steps for providing disaster case management and how to coordinate with other agencies providing DCM services.  Representatives from FEMA, New York State Office of Emergency Management, Project Hope, and Catholic Charities provided feature presentations.

Ongoing trainings will be offered on a regular basis to delve deeper into the material presented in this initial training and to introduce new topics and resources as appropriate.

Looking to Volunteer? Sandy Survivors Need You

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities is pulling together a team of volunteers this Saturday, January 19, to help with the physical clean up of four Staten Island homes badly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Tasks include removal of sheet rock & insulation, cleaning behind it and removal of flooring. Transportation will be provided.

Sign up or learn more.

Catholic Charities Volunteers Visit Home-Bound Seniors to Provide Help

Friday, December 14th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities staff and volunteers continue to partner with parishes and communities to assist people affected by Sandy, identifying those who still need help throughout the Archdiocese. For example, the storm presented a particular hardship for home-bound seniors on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, leaving them not only stuck in their houses but all alone as well.

This weekend, Catholic Charities staff and volunteers will go door-to-door among several especially hard-hit buildings in the neighborhood to assess the needs of residents. In addition to handing out informational flyers, volunteers will check in on individuals and determine how many seniors are in need of help or company.

With the information they learn from residents, Catholic Charities will plan new programs to meet the long-term needs of Sandy survivors.

If you would like to volunteer for one of the ongoing opportunities, sign up on our volunteer website:

 

Seven for Sandy; Compassion Is Not Just a Word

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan receives hurricane-recovery donation from Sr. Margaret Anderson, O.P.

By Alice Kenny

Educators are inspiring students, children are inspiring parents and together through the “Seven for Sandy” hurricane recovery campaign begun at Academy of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School they are working to help those hardest hit by the super storm.

“The mission of our school is compassion,” said Sr. Margaret Anderson, OP, Executive Board President of Newburgh Ministry, an affiliate of Catholic Charities, and Director of Guidance at the high school in White Plains. “This is not just a word for our students. We provide ways for them to live it, to reach out to people and have it become a way of life.”

Sr. Margaret gave Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan a $500 check at the Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon held last week at the Waldorf=Astoria, a third installment of funds collected by the students.

The Catholic high school draws 387 students from Westchester, the Bronx and Putnam counties. A large percentage of them lived without heat, electricity and water for days or weeks after the hurricane whipped through New York on October 29. Yet none of them lost their homes.

They play sports, however, with many who did. The girls varsity soccer and volleyball teams had been scheduled for playoffs with Notre Dame Academy and St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School in Staten Island the week the storm touched down.

Their Seven-for Sandy campaign asks each student to contribute at least $7 to help Staten Island students in need. At the rescheduled playoff games, students gave the Staten Island high schools their first two installments of nearly $500 each plus donations of much needed toiletries and cleaning supplies. Good Counsel students also raised Staten Island students’ spirits – not intentionally, Sr. Margaret said – by losing both games.

Inspired by the students, the school’s parent association developed a Sandy recovery fundraiser as well.

“You think $7 isn’t going to do anything but if everyone puts $7 together it can do something,” said Academy of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School Principal Sr. Laura Donovan, RDC. “We want to be part of the action and inspire others to help.”

Would you like to help others recover?

Text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.

MBX Systems Sponsors Donation Drive for Hurricane Sandy Survivors

Monday, December 10th, 2012

By Chelsee Pengal

Parishes and communities within the Archdiocese of New York and beyond continue to show generosity toward their neighbors who are still rebuilding after Sandy. Donations from far and wide have helped with Catholic Charities’ disaster relief efforts, from funding emergency food and water for families and individuals on Staten Island and in Lower Manhattan to providing volunteers with supplies to clean out houses on Staten Island.

MBX Systems, a Libertyville, Illinois-based technology manufacturer, has set up a donation drive to benefit both Catholic Charities Community Services, Staten Island and Gerristen Beach Cares, Brooklyn.

They will be collecting items survivors need the most:

  • Muck-out and safety supplies, including industrial-contractor grade refuse bags, N95 face masks, fire extinguishers and smoke/CO2 detectors with batteries
  • Cleaning supplies like shovels, rakes, brooms, work gloves and disposable gloves
  • Toiletries and pharmaceuticals, including Tylenol and Advil
  • Baby supplies such as diapers, wipes and baby food and formula
  • Clothing, including hats, gloves and socks
  • Miscellaneous items, including can openers, batteries and disposable cameras with flash

In the Libertyville area, donations are being accepted at MBX headquarters Monday to Friday through December 12th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. A truck full of the supplies will then deliver the goods to Staten Island and Brooklyn on December 13th.

Whether you are in the New York area or across the country, you can contribute to the Sandy Relief Fund online or text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation. For those in the local area, you can also donate your time by volunteering to clean up houses or help with sheet rock and debris removal on Staten Island.


Catholic Charities and Empire City Casino Help Sandy Survivors Stay Warm This Winter

Friday, December 7th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

As Christmas approaches and we prepare to celebrate the joyful holiday season, our thoughts remain with those affected by Sandy.

So many families in the Archdiocese of New York were impacted by the hurricane, and money that would typically be spent on gifts is now needed to restore and repair homes or replace essential belongings that were destroyed in the storm. More adults and children than ever are in need of a warm coat to protect them from the cold, and many families will simply not be able to afford a Christmas gift for their children this year.

Empire City Casino’s Annual “Christmas Spirit” Toy and Coat Drive holds even greater importance this year in the face of the catastrophic hurricane. Donations of gently used coats and new, unwrapped toys are being collected at Empire City Casino’s main promotions booth through December 9th. These gifts will help needy New Yorkers give their children a Christmas and stay warm throughout the season.

Empire City Casino has a long history of working with Catholic Charities to help New Yorkers in need, non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

To volunteer your time or donate to the Sandy Relief Fund: