Posts Tagged ‘families’

Irish Consulate Teams with Project Irish Outreach

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Thanks to significant support from the Consulate General of Ireland, Project Irish Outreach has offered the Irish community settled in New York City and Westchester County frontline advice, counseling and support services for more than 26 years.

Catholic Charities staff are located in Aisling Irish Community Center in Westchester County and at the Catholic Center in Manhattan. Project Irish Outreach provides specialized services to address the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable Irish emigrants.  Services include information and referral, immigration legal assistance and/or representation, social services casework, pastoral services, maternity services, ministry to Irish prisoners,  healthcare information and referral and general support services for individuals, families and the elderly.

Are you an Irish emigrant looking for help?

Please call us at 914-237-5098 or email us at Sr.Christine.hennessy@archny.org

Walk the Walk with Us to Feed Our Neighbors

Friday, October 11th, 2013

The Epiphany School’s Walk and Catholic Charities Feeding Our Neighbors food drive campaign are on a combined mission to strengthen the community while continuing to sustain excellence in Catholic education.

This October 20th marks our 2nd annual participation with the Epiphany School in their “Walk the Walk” event.  There is just one goal for Feeding Our Neighbors: that New Yorkers answer the call to feed those who are suffering in our community.

Feeding Our Neighbors is a united effort to fight hunger.

This campaign is a response to Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s call that we all do our part to replenish the food pantries and soup kitchens in our community that so many families in our community rely on to survive.

Sponsored by Catholic organizations throughout the Archdiocese of New York and managed by Catholic Charities, 100% of contributions to the campaign will support local food pantries that serve New Yorkers, non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

Please join us as we Walk the Walk.

Click here to learn more.

HELP FEED THE HUNGRY!

Hard Working People Trying to Get Back Their Life

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Merriss Morris and Merline Coke

By Alice Kenny

Merline and Howard Coke have been cobbling together make-shift solutions to keep their home livable and their home daycare business functioning ever since Hurricane Sandy slammed the house they rent in Yonkers nearly a year ago.  Hurricane Sandy tore off shingles from its roof and flooding water soaked sheet-rocked walls and wooden floors. The house began to shift and sink.  Damages were determined to be so severe that their landlord filed a claim with his insurance company for $137,000.

Yet now, as the one-year anniversary of the Superstorm approaches, no significant repairs have been made to the house.  This has left the Cokes in a Catch 22.  To afford to move, the Cokes need income from the daycare business that Ms. Coke operates on their rental home’s first floor.  But families have hesitated to send their children to the daycare center until it is fully repaired.  Meanwhile, Mr. Coke’s income in building services barely covers the family’s expenses.  And their savings are nearly depleted.

The Cokes did what they could to shore the house up from the inside.  They dried sodden floors, replaced sheetrock and painted walls and ceilings.  But the roof remains damaged and the house continues to shift. So repaired walls and ceilings crack and floors tilt.

Unfamiliar and uncomfortable with asking for help, the Cokes did not contact Catholic Charities Disaster Case Management until May.  Unfortunately, this was one month past FEMA’s deadline to apply for assistance with rent and money to move. Undeterred, Catholic Charities Disaster Case Manager Merris Morris assisted the family with applying for and appealing FEMA’s determination.  To help them move, Ms. Morris helped them successfully apply for funding from the Westchester Department of Social Services, the Bridge Program and the United Way. Catholic Charities also gave the Cokes a $500 gift card to help purchase clothes and supplies for their two teenage children plus the two-year old nephew they have raised since birth.

“It’s tough when you’re in the middle, when you’re not on welfare but don’t earn enough to own your own home,” Ms. Morris says.  “These are hardworking people just trying to get back their life.”

Now six children – all age four and under – participate in Ms. Coke’s daycare center, sampling stacks of primary-colored plastic toys and following posted schedule for playtime, learning, naps and meals.  Toddlers follow and are quickly cuddled by Ms. Coke as she walks from room to room.

Finding an affordable place to move, however, remains difficult.  Her family, Ms. Coke said, “is packed and ready to go…but there is nowhere to go.”  Their search to find a house they can afford with an accessory apartment a landlord will allow for use as a daycare center has, so far, proven unsuccessful.

Their disaster case manager has spoken with realtors and received Catholic Charities’ commitment to help the family with moving expenses once they find a new home.

 

My Family’s Faith Has Been Tested but Endured

Monday, September 30th, 2013

By Joe Zenkus

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

The Gospel of John Chapter 16 conveys the importance of sticking to your beliefs and living with and by those beliefs regardless of challenges you may face.

My family’s faith has been tested but endured. We lost three young family members while I grew up and we grieved together and then pushed on.

Two of the three may have been prevented; that is why I am running the NYC ING Marathon for the Team Catholic Charities to help potentially prevent other families from suffering such losses. In addition, I am running in memory of my cousins Marc P. Zenkus (1982-2000) & Shawn M. Hendrickson (1978-1998) who both were lost to early.

The Catholic Charities work to strengthen families through multiple services including preventative services for families struggling with substance abuse and other challenges. I am looking forward to raising money to help families receive counseling, recover and overcome substance abuse.

Personally, on November 3rd of this year, I look to overcoming 26.2 miles for the first time ever. Actually, I have never run more than 10 miles until this week! Now is my time of tribulation, but you will see me again at the finish line in Central Park after overcoming maybe not the world but at least New York.

Help support Joe’s ING NYC Marathon campaign. Click here to find out how: http://www.crowdrise.com/CatholicCharitiesNYC2013/fundraiser/joezenkus

Catholic Renewal Raises Crucial Funds for Hungry New Yorkers

Thursday, September 12th, 2013
Catholic Renewal

Left: Mark McDermott, Jason Ridings, Alexander Ridings, Deirdre McGuiness, Corinne Ball, Brenda Adrian, Victoria Creason, Pat Nash. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. (Right)

 

Catholic Renewal held its Third Annual Cocktail Reception at the Kirkland & Ellis Conference Center on Monday, September 9. The event, hosted by Kirkland & Ellis LLP and attended by His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan along with more than 250 attorneys and members of the corporate restructuring industry, raised more than $300,000 for Catholic Charities to feed the hungry throughout the Archdiocese of New York. Now, as one of five families with children in the 10 counties of the Archdiocese of New York does not have enough to eat, receiving a hot meal is key to their survival.

The reception honored Barry W. Ridings, Managing Director of Lazard Frères & Co. LLC and member of the Catholic Charities Board of Trustees, for his steadfast commitment to the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and its commitment to serve those in need. Mr. Ridings was unable to attend the event due to the unexpected loss of his mother. His sons, Jason and Alexander Ridings, accepted a tribute book on his behalf.

“Giving is very important to my father,” said Jason Ridings. “He has set an example for us to follow.”

Catholic Renewal founding member Mark McDermott of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom spoke about the inspiration that defines this group. Founded in 2010 during one of the nation’s worst economic downturns, Catholic Renewal is a group of Roman Catholic professionals in the corporate restructuring industry committed to building a community and network based on faith and service to provide charitable assistance to individuals and groups in need.

“The word ‘Renewal’ in our name, ‘Catholic Renewal,’ has a dual meaning,” explained Mr. McDermott. “It refers to what we do as restructuring professionals. As I never tire of repeating, we are privileged to be part of the only economic and legal system in the world that allows us to help troubled enterprises try to ‘renew’ themselves: to preserve value; to obtain a fresh start; to preserve jobs.”

Catholic Renewal expressed its deep appreciation for its lead sponsors at the event. These include Ann and Barry W. Ridings, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP, Jones Day, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Lathan & Watkins LLP, Marotta Gund Budd & Dzera, LLC, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Brenda Adrian, Victoria Creason and Deirdre McGuiness served as chairpersons for this event.

“We don’t live in a tale of two cities, but rather one city where people who have a little or a lot more help those who have who have a little or a lot less,” stated Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan of Catholic Charities. “We greatly appreciate these generous gifts that create hope and Catholic Renewal’s dedication to serve individuals regardless of their religion, everyday, always with dignity and compassion.”

World Youth Day 2013

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

News media from around the world are reporting this week on Pope Francis and his first trip back to South America to celebrate World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. More than 2.5 million Catholics and others are joining the celebration.

At this global event that occurs every two or three years, young members of the faithful gather together in prayer to meet the Pope and to celebrate and renew their faith.

At Catholic Charities, we know that all children deserve the opportunity to develop social skills, gain confidence and develop lasting values that will serve them as adults. Our network of services aims to address the physical, emotional and psychological needs of children and their families.

At Catholic Charities, in any given year:

  • 382 children  are adopted by loving families
  • 1,564 children enjoying summer camps
  • 6,066 children and teens are placed in safe foster care
  • 23,914 youth participate in wholesome sports
  • 7,254 children growing and learning in day-care
  • 4,628 youth participating in sound after-school programs

Listen as Cynthia Martinez from the Catholic Youth Ministry of the Archdiocese of New York speaks about World Youth Day with Msgr. Kevin Sullivan on JustLove on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio. JustLove airs weekly on Saturday at 10am EST on The Catholic Channel 129.

Are you making a pilgrimage to Brazil for World Youth Day? We would love to hear your story. Comment below.

Raising Five Tons of Fresh Vegetables for Hungry New Yorkers

Monday, May 20th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Determined to raise 8,000 – 10,000 pounds of vegetables for the hungry, dozens of volunteers planted pepper, lettuce, broccoli, tomato and eggplant seedlings at the Catholic Community Services of Rockland “Garden of Love” on May 18. Vegetables from the garden are distributed to families through food pantries throughout the county.

The garden, preparing for its fourth season, has been expanded with the help of volunteers and those who donated materials including tools, soil and fences. Renewing its commitment to the community, organizers have recently renamed the initiative “Produce the Produce.”

Check out photos of your neighborhood volunteers and more Garden of Love updates in The Journal News.

Are you hungry and need help?

  • Contact us.  At Catholic Charities, no one is ever turned away.
  • If you live in Rockland County, please call 845 942-5791.

Help us help your neighbors in need.

Immigration Reform: Political Winds Blowing Our Way

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Immigration reform may pass this year, predicts Kevin Appleby, director of migration and refugee policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as he speaks with Msgr. Kevin Sullivan on JustLove radio broadcast on April 27.

“Political winds, Mr. Appleby says, “are blowing our way.”

Called the “guru of immigration reform” by Msgr. Sullivan, Mr. Appleby offers an inside perspective on immigration reform’s history, hurdles and likelihood of success.

“We don’t have a system based on the rule of law anymore,” Mr. Appleby says.  “It’s based on chaos.

“At the border we have a sign that says ‘keep out’ but at the workplace we have a sign that says ‘help wanted.’”

Eleven million people live in the shadows and form an underground economy, he added.  Massive deportations divide families and pull parents away from children.  Persons struggling for a better life die as they try to cross the desert.

Solutions have been debated for decades, ever since Congress passed its last major immigration reform bill in 1986.

What’s different now “in a word,” says Mr. Appleby, “is the election; both parties have taken note and realized that the demographics of our country are changing and they need to get out ahead of it.”
Tune in to hear the entire show on The Catholic Channel 129, SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio.

Looking for information about Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

Catholic Charities is here to help.

Click here to learn how to prepare for immigration reform

Contact us now.

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

Produce the Produce – Earth Day and Every Day

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Tapping in on Earth Day, Catholic Community Services of Rockland (CCSR) announces its new program, “Produce the Produce,” to  provide fresh fruits and vegetables to hungry children, individuals and families in Rockland County.

“Whether from our own garden, grocery store or farmers’ market, most of us have access we take for granted to fresh fruits and vegetables but those who are poor have neither,” says CCSR Executive Director Martha Robles.

“We are committed to changing that in Rockland with a bold, new and fresh initiative,” she adds, “and invite you to be a part of it.”

This proactive effort will put more freshly grown fruits and vegetables on the tables of people in need. CCSR plans to serve as a catalyst to engage other community and parish gardens to participate in “Produce the Produce.” It will also provide a central location where local farmers markets and common citizens can donate the fresh fruits and vegetables they grow.

The idea was “cultivated” from CCSR’s expanded community produce garden in Haverstraw.  This garden, nicknamed the “Garden of Love,” has already produced more than 6,000 lbs. of fresh produce that has been distributed to participants enrolled in the CCSR Food Pantry.  In addition to saving money, the Garden of Love helps feed our neighbors, while teaching members of the community how to grow their own food.

To ensure a plentiful bounty, Produce the Produce was formally announced during the 4th Annual Blessing of the Soil at CCSR, 78 Hudson Ave in Haverstraw, New York on April 20.

During this time of economic uncertainty, demand for the food pantries continues to grow.  Fortunately, the CCSR garden’s bounty is growing as well. Seasonal cooking demonstrations that use fresh ingredients from the bounty harvested from the “Garden of Love” are also available.

At Catholic Community Services of Rockland, no one is ever turned away from receiving food. Please call 845 942-5791 during office hours to register.

Another Family Faces Homelessness. This One Finds Help and Hope.

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Julissa Matias

By Alice Kenny

As housing prices continue rising in New York City while salaries at the low end of the pay scale stagnate, homelessness among working families has hit an all-time high. Augustina and her three toddlers, ages two, three and six, were about to join these homeless ranks.

The young mother’s $50-per-day income from her work as a home health aide had been stretched too thin for too long. Even with food stamps, she could not earn enough to pay for child care, clothing, and her Harlem apartment’s $1100 monthly rent. She owed nearly $12,000 to her landlord.

Homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s, according to statistics compiled by the Coalition for the Homeless. January 2013 set an all-time record with 50,100 homeless people. Twelve thousand homeless families including 21,000 homeless children who sleep each night in the New York City municipal shelter system comprise nearly three-quarters of the homeless shelter population. The overwhelming majority of these families holds jobs, such as Augustina, and fall behind in their rent after experiencing sudden medical costs, a death in the family, or loss of a job.

When Augustina first turned for help to the Catholic Charities Eviction Prevention Program she was terrified, she said. She had already been referred from one social service program. It seemed that time had run out.

Fortunately, she met Julissa Matias, site supervisor of the Catholic Charities Eviction Prevention Program at Waverly Job Center.

“It’s very rare that a family comes in that we cannot assist either by getting them FEPs (New York City’s Family Eviction Prevention Supplement) to help cover ongoing rent, obtain funding to cover rental arrears, or help find an apartment they can afford,” Ms. Matias said.

“But paying these families’ arrears is not enough,” she added. “They must be helped on to a sound footing where they can independently meet their future expenses.”

She was determined, she said, to provide this footing for Augustina and her children.

Augustina told Ms. Matias that she had been through hard times throughout her life. She no longer held out hope that anyone would help her.

So when Augustina learned that Catholic Charities would stand by her, she began to sob, Ms. Matias said. Through Catholic Charities Eviction Prevention Program, Ms Matias arranged for Augustina to receive a $2500 grant from a private organization. She helped her successfully apply for $7000 in FEPS funding. She bolstered Augustina’s confidence to ask her extended family for a $4000 loan. And she is using $1100 in Catholic Charities funds to pay back the remaining rental deficit.

Now, thanks to this help, Augustina and her children no longer wake up at night worried they might wind up on the street. They live in an apartment they know is their home.

“I have dealt with a lot of people in human service departments and Ms. Matias is the most professional, helpful, compassionate and kind person I’ve ever encountered,” Augustina said. “She gave me hope when so many gave me despair.”

At Catholic Charities in any given year:

6,981 families are saved from homelessness
1,487 people are placed in temporary or transitional apartments
6,109  families find affordable housing.

Click here to find a Catholic Charities agency that offers eviction prevention services.
Call the Catholic Charities Help Line at 888-744-7900 for assistance finding the services you need.