Posts Tagged ‘Jeanne McGettigan’

Catholic Charities Speaks Against Devastating Cuts for Hungry New Yorkers

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Catholic Charities joined elected officials, religious leaders and advocates at St. Francis Xavier Church in Manhattan today to urge  U.S. senators to vote against the harsh cuts to SNAP (food stamp) benefits passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The U.S. House Farm Bill would slash SNAP funding by $9 billion -  in addition to  $5 billion in SNAP cuts that went into effect on November 1st.

“The people standing here today fear greatly for what may be in store,” Catholic Charities Feeding Our Neighbors Director Jeanne McGettigan told the crowd.  “The system is already strained to the limit.  It isn’t designed to bear this type of burden.”

Catholic Charities food banks served 48% more meals in December 2013 compared with one year earlier.  Hungry families, children and the elderly are trudging to food banks and pantries even on the coldest days, including January 7 when temperatures dropped into the single digits and  New York officials urged everyone to stay home.

SNAP is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger.  More than half of SNAP recipients are children, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities.  Meanwhile, low-wage workers who do not earn enough to afford sufficient food for their families make up an increasing number of SNAP recipients.

During this extended period of high unemployment, SNAP has helped millions of families afford the food they need.  It also supports our economy at every link in the food chain, from the farmer to the consumer.  Cutting SNAP puts jobs at risk in communities throughout New York.

Since the across-the-board cuts in SNAP took effect in November 2013, we have seen alarming levels of need created when benefits are reduced.  The new U.S. Farm Bill cuts will take away hundreds of millions of meals from struggling households and individuals.

Catholic Charities and others that make up the last line of defense against hunger – including food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens – cannot fill in such a gap.

“There can never be enough grants and food drives to fill this gaping need,” Ms. McGettigan said.

If you want to voice your opposition to these devastating cuts, contact the office of Senator Chuck Schumer and urge him to vote against the farm bill.

Read more in CNA/EWTN News

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.

 

Volunteers Put Down Their Frying Pans and Had a Feast

Monday, May 6th, 2013

On the very last, most beautiful day of April 2013, 143 tireless workers put down their frying pans, serving trays, aprons, and hand trucks to feast and be celebrated.  From the farthest corners of the Bronx to the Lower East Side, volunteers from food pantries and soup kitchens  supported by Catholic Charities Community  Services gathered at the Triangle Building of Alianza for the first-ever Volunteer Appreciation Event held in their honor.

The same men and women who, earlier that day, were packing 200 bags of food or scrubbing pots, got the chance to sit down to a catered meal while CCCS staff called out name after name of volunteer chefs, food packers, inventory specialists, and data base managers.  In all, 46 program coordinators and long-time volunteers from 14 different programs came up to the podium to receive certificates from Monsignor Kevin Sullivan.  Honors were given for years of service ranging from 20 to 36 years, and for those special volunteers who worked “Above and Beyond”, as their certificates stated.   These included senior Maria Sanchez, founder of St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen in the Bronx, who has been leading the program for 20 years, and young Walter Martin, who uses his free time in between job interviews to work for no less than 4 different pantries.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for so long” said Jeanne McGettigan, Director of Emergency Food Services.  “Monsignor Sullivan and Staci-Jo Bruce, Director of Volunteer Services were the ones who finally made it happen.  It was so moving to see all of these generous, hard-working people gathered together in one place.  We really are one big team, but we don’t often get to see ourselves that way.”

Ms. McGettigan said the event organizers were particularly pleased that CCCS staff was able to make these activities completely bi-lingual.  Well over 50% of the volunteers in attendance consider Spanish their first language.  To make sure that all felt included, everything from invitations, to program cards and presentations by speakers was carried out in Spanish and English.  Project Manager Lizaura German emceed and translated as needed.  Monsignor Sullivan and Beatriz Diaz Taveras, Executive Director of CCCS traveled comfortably between languages as they thanked the volunteers for their steadfast efforts to beat back hunger in their communities.

Also delivering a rousing speech in two languages was special guest Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez of Washington Heights and Inwood.  Remembering how, during his childhood, his own family had sometimes needed food assistance, he told the volunteers that he “didn’t think twice” about dedicating Council discretionary funds to the busy CCCS pantry nearby his office.

An additional service award was presented to Christopher Melito of Credit Suisse, recognizing the company’s Day of Service, which brought 20 corporate employees to a CCCS food pantry for the day to prepare and demonstrate healthy cooking methods and give pantry customers the equipment to carry out the same practices in their own kitchens.

The feeling in the room was so joyful, and the cumulative effect of hearing story after story of faith in action was so moving, a number of staff and volunteers  stated their conviction that this first-ever event should now be considered an annual gathering not to be missed.

Food Bank Volunteers Train for Food Pantry Safety

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Nearly 40 volunteers from food pantries throughout the Bronx and Manhattan took part on February 14 in the first-ever Food Bank for New York City training hosted outside Food Bank headquarters — and inside Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center.   The food pantry food safety training, offered in Spanish, pulled in volunteers from food pantries associated with Catholic Charities along with other member programs as well.

Attendees that successfully completed this training received Food Bank Certificates in Food Pantry safety, a requirement for volunteer leadership at all Food Bank member programs.

“We are excited to be holding it at a Catholic Charities Community Services location,” said Jeanne McGettigan, Catholic Charities Coordinator of Emergency Food Services, “for the convenience and encouragement of our volunteers.”

“We got nothing,” He said. “We’ll take anything you can give us.”

Friday, January 4th, 2013

By Jeanne McGettigan, Catholic Charities Director of Emergency Food Services

On New Year’s Eve, Catholic Charities Emergency Food Services Department enlisted our Mobile Food Pantry staff and volunteers to distribute 6,000 meals in Midland Beach, a Staten Island neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Three staff and four volunteers rose early in the morning to pack bags at our delivery location in the Bronx, while another staff member waited for 26 cases of frozen chickens to be unloaded at the distribution site in Midland Beach, St. Margaret Mary Church.  In addition, one staff member stopped by our Staten Island office at Anderson Avenue to pick up 100 children’s books to distribute to children who stopped by. By 11am, the Mobile was parked in the lot of the parish, at 560 Lincoln Avenue.

A steady stream of residents arrived. Some had heard from their pastor, others from fliers given out at the nearby Restoration Center.  One woman said that she had just gotten a small electric oven, and she would cook her first meal in it with some of the items.  Residents who were still not able to cook were glad for ready-to-eat items such as apple cider, tuna, cream cheese, bread, romaine lettuce, and oranges.

Jim Reagan, head of the parish St. Vincent de Paul Society, offered to drive staff around to some of the still-devastated areas to check in and offer help.  It was sad to go block after block and find so many houses empty, their former residents staying elsewhere.  However, when we did find occupants at home, they were very grateful for assistance.

One man invited us into his humble bungalow, stripped down to the studs.

“We’ve got nothing” he said.  “We’ll take anything you can give us.”

Another family of six sent their two teenagers out to carry in armfuls of food.

One resident said, “I’m ok.  Give it to someone who needs it.”  A few minutes later, he was back. “I have a friend I can bring this to.  I’ll take a bag.”

By mid afternoon, over half of the bags had been distributed and the numbers of recipients had slowed.

Staff then contacted Tony Hall, of STAR (Small Town America Recovers) with a restoration hub set up at Midland and Kiswick.  Tony has been running a grass roots effort since the earliest days after the hurricane.  He agreed to take the remaining food and distribute it from his tent.

By the time we arrived to do the drop-off, a line had already gathered.  There was a family there: mother, father and child who had lost everything and were so grateful for the food that they received. They let me know that they had to abandon their home for the time and were living with their father in-law. A home of one suddenly became a house of four and food and money were scarce so they were happy to take some of the ‘burden’ from their father, if only for a few meals. When we checked in with Tony a few days later, he confirmed that all of the remaining food had been distributed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to residents of Midland Beach.

Tour of Sandy-Damaged Staten Island Community Helps Catholic Charities Provide Individual Assistance

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

After Sandy devastated the New York area, Father Robert Aufieri, pastor of Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, led Jeanne McGettigan, Catholic Charities Coordinator of Emergency Food Service, on a tour of the hard-hit South Beach area of Staten Island. During the visit, Ms. McGettigan and Father Aufieri viewed devastated houses and spoke with survivors to hear their stories first-hand. They also dropped off supplies to community members who desperately needed them.

“When you lose everything you don’t know where to start,” said Ms. Dunn, a parish volunteer who was staying with eight relatives and five animals after her own apartment was ruined by the storm.

Holy Rosary Church itself was undamaged and served as a hub for collecting and distributing donations throughout the community. With the help of Catholic Charities and generous parishioners, those who had lost everything were able to start rebuilding.

At the end of the parish visit, Ms. McGettigan had a list of items most needed by Sandy survivors, which she then shared with the rest of the organization. Catholic Charities staff and volunteers continue to work with parishes and communities on Staten Island and in Lower Manhattan to assess the changing needs as families and individuals work to recover.

Read more about the visit to South Beach.

To help with the ongoing needs of Sandy survivors:

Or, text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.

Healthy Eating on a Budget? Catholic Charities and Credit Suisse Show How

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

It can be difficult to adopt a healthy lifestyle on a budget, particularly when it comes to food. At Catholic Charities’ Washington Heights Food Pantry, visitors learned to do just that.

Fourteen employees of Credit Suisse volunteered at the pantry to host a “Healthy Living” Workshop. In the morning, Jeanne McGettigan of Catholic Charities introduced the volunteers to the significance of making affordable healthy meals accessible.

As visitors to the food pantry arrived, the volunteers demonstrated various affordable ways to keep the kitchen clean, such as using vinegar and baking soda. They also showed safe cooking habits, like using separate cutting boards for each type of food.

Gabriela Alvarez, a Community Chef from Just Food, led the volunteers in cooking a healthy coconut kale recipe for visitors, filling the room with the fragrant scents of coconut, carrots and spices. Just Food is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to make sure healthy and nutritious organic food is accessible to everyone.

After learning easy and safe tips for the kitchen and eating their delicious meal, all visitors received a shopping bag, courtesy of Credit Suisse, filled with supplies for creating their own affordable, healthy meals, including fresh vegetables, chopping boards and an ergonomic salad spinner.

To sign up for opportunities like this one or find other volunteering options, visit our volunteer website.Your time can make all the difference for your neighbors in need this holiday season.

What are some of your favorite tips for preparing healthy, affordable meals?

Catholic Charities Vans Become Service-Centers-on-Wheels in Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

By Alice Kenny

When Hurricane Sandy submerged entire communities, Catholic Charities sprang into action, turning agency vans  into service-centers-on-wheels to fill gaps in services.

Jeanne McGettigan, Catholic Charities Coordinator of Emergency Food Service, helped mobilize staff and volunteers to make multiple trips that reached those hardest hit by the super storm. They brought cleaning supplies to local residents gathered at  Holy Rosary parish and Worship and Praise Community storefront church.  They dropped off pop-up cans of tuna, shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, apple juice and loaves of whole wheat bread at St. Margaret Mary Parish.  And they got out of their vans to wade through mud and debris, walking door-to-door to offer sandwiches and solace to storm-battered homeowners who said they never thought they would be the ones in need.

“I’ll never forget a man I saw wearing a construction-worker’s jacket, his tears falling down on a dumpster,” Ms. McGettigan said.  “He said he’d lived there for 20 years yet none of his family had come to help him. ’If it weren’t for people like you,’ he added, ‘I’d be forgotten.’”

Do you need help?

Click here for more resources and information.

Would you like to help others recover?

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

One Click Can Feed the Hungry: Vote for the “Community Garden of Love”

Monday, June 18th, 2012

You can help feed the hungry in less than 5 seconds (we timed it) — and for free. Just vote for the “Community Garden of Love” every day in the Gardens for Good grant contest on Facebook, and Catholic Charities could win $15,000 to help feed the hungry through an innovative program dedicated to improving the health and nutrition of the New York community.

Community Garden of Love“, operated by Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland (CCCSR), is making it possible for the local community to take advantage of fresh, healthy produce. Thanks to the garden, individuals who use the CCCSR food pantry are now able to feed their families with more than just canned goods and non-perishables — they are able to receive fresh greens, fruits and vegetables for free, ensuring that their family’s nutritional needs are met, and that their children are healthy.

“While we work in providing food to the community, we consider ourselves public health workers,” said Jeanne McGettigan, Catholic Charities Community Services  Director of Emergency Food Services.

Vote for the Garden of Love today — with just one click, you can give our community the healthy food we all deserve.