Posts Tagged ‘Karen Reynolds’

Toys & Coats Bring Warmth to the Holiday

Monday, December 16th, 2013

For the seventh consecutive holiday season, Catholic Charities teamed up with Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway to make the holiday season a little warmer and a little brighter for families in need.

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and Timothy Rooney

Empire City Casino President & CEO Timothy J. Rooney presented over 500 toys and coats gathered from its two-week toy and coat drive to Catholic Charities yesterday, December 12.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, accompanied by Catholic Charities Community Services Supervisor Karen Reynolds along with Sister Christine Hennessey  and Orla Kelleher of the Aisling Irish Community Center accepted the gifts for distribution to  local children and families.

“Providing help by giving a warm coat also provides some Christmas hope this season,” Ms. Reynolds said.

Read more in the Yonkers Tribune

Shoppers Buy for Needy Families

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Volunteers packed the K-Mart in White Plains Saturday morning to shop for needy families as part of the St. Nicholas of Westchester Shopping Day for Catholic Charities, reports the Daily Voice.

Catholic Charities has hosted the event for the past ten years at the K-Mart in Astor Place in Manhattan, said Karen Reynolds, regional supervisor for Catholic Charities. This is the third year that the event has been held in Westchester as well. Reynolds said about 70 volunteers, all wearing red Shopping Day shirts, turned out to buy basic necessities for families in need.

“We shopped for close to 100 families, which covers about 300 individuals. We probably spent over $10,000 here, so it’s also good for the local economy,” Reynolds said. “These are families that we work with throughout the year, who are struggling to put food on the table and pay their bills, and they know that at Christmas time they are not going to be able to afford gifts.”

Penny Pepe was given a profile of a married couple with a 6 year-old daughter. She bought some jeans, a shirt and a hoodie for the father, some pajamas, sweaters and a jacket for the mother, and a scarf, hat, gloves, tops and pants for the little girl.

“It’s that time of the season that’s all about giving back and helping other people,” said Pepe.

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, the executive director of Catholic Charities, was pleased with the turnout. He said that the efforts of the volunteers helped the families have a merrier Christmas.

“It’s sad, but even though so many in the county have enough, too many lack the basic necessities. The St. Nicholas shopping day makes sure families have what they need,” Sullivan said.

“We knew there was a need here in Westchester, so we said we want to do something fun and involve the whole community,” said Susan Salice, one of the trustees for Catholic Charities. “Today was a fabulous turnout, beyond what we anticipated.”

The St. Nicholas Shopping Day at the K-Mart in Astor Place will be held next Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. That event is expected to provide necessities for close to 1,000 families.

 Check out these photos on Facebook.

Join us.

To volunteer or learn more about the St. Nicholas Project contact:

Ivy Hurwit
(646) 794-2525

REMEMBER…This is a year round project – We continue to accept donations all year long to assist New Yorkers in need.
Donate  Volunteer






Partnership Forged between Westchester County and Faith-Based Organizations

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Karen Reynolds – front row, right – represents Catholic Charities.

By Alice Kenny

Karen Reynolds, Catholic Charities regional supervisor for Westchester County, represented Catholic Charities when County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced on Wednesday, January 16, the appointment of a liaison for faith-based organizations in the county, part of a community partnership that he hopes will help clergy and their affiliated organizations cut through government red tape and share information.

“Helping the neediest among us is greatly enhanced by strengthening the bonds between county government and religious organizations in our community,” Astorino said.

Find out more.

Live in Westchester County and Hurt by Hurricane Sandy? Check Out the County’s New Recovery Center and These Tips for Help

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Karen Reynolds and Msgr. Kevin Sullivan help open Hurricane Sandy recovery center.

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities, a partner in the Westchester County Long-term Recovery Coalition, took a lead role in opening a multi-purpose Hurricane Sandy recovery center in White Plains yesterday, November 8.

“We developed a strong working relationship with the county department of social services and other first responders after Hurricane Irene hit our area last year,” said Karen Reynolds, Catholic Charities regional supervisor for Westchester County who is helping organize the emergency command center. “Our goal is to help people with basic human needs and restore normalcy to their lives.”

President Obama declared Westchester County a disaster area after the hurricane hit, making residents eligible to apply for disaster aid.

More than sixteen thousand Westchester residents remain without power 12 days since Hurricane Sandy slammed through the region.  Thousands more are trying to reestablish their lives as they sift through damaged homes and search for new jobs after the businesses were destroyed.

You have questions?  We have answers:

Where is the Recovery Center located?

  • The Westchester County Center,  198 Central Ave. in White Plains

When is it open?

  • Seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

What about parking?

  • Parking fees at the County Center have been waived.

Who is there and how can they help?

  • Catholic Charities and other social service agencies to provide residents with recovery assistance.
  • Con Edison to answer customer questions about outages and restorations
  • FEMA to help individuals and households apply for financial aid for losses and damages caused by the storm.
  • The Small Business Administration, which will help businesses apply for low-interest loans for storm-related damages.
  • The Department of Health, which will be giving free tetanus shots to anyone involved with the cleanup at the County Center on Friday, November 9- Sunday, November 11, 2012.

What documents are needed?

  • Social Security number (including that of a spouse, if applicable
  •  Private insurance information
  •  Address and zip code of damaged property
  • Directions to the damaged home or property
  • Daytime telephone number
  • Address where mail can be sent
  • Documentation of losses including photographs and repair receipts

Is it necessary to go in person to register with FEMA?

  • No.  FEMA strongly advises that people register in advance of visiting the disaster center by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or logging in at  Those with speech or heating disabilities can use the TTY number at 800 462 7585 .  FEMA representatives are simply there to help residents with the process.

Catholic Charities, a lead member of Westchester County Long Term Recovery Coalition, helped frame the group’s mission to foster partnerships between community organizations and government agencies to help the most vulnerable, minimize duplication of services and utilize resources through referral, advocacy, education and direct aid to residents in need.


Career Counseling Program Creates Hope in Midst of Difficult Job Market

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Social workers and career counselors join forces to help unemployed New Yorkers

When the Help & Hope career counseling program began in 2009, in response to the economic downturn, career counselor Ann Ruecker worked to help people reinvent themselves for the job market.

But now, Ruecker says, there are many individuals who have been out of the job market for so long that the program’s focus is shifting. It now emphasizes the technical aspects of securing a job in a tough market, and ensures that those who are unemployed have access to every possible resource that could provide support – from public assistance to support from a social worker.

“A lot of people have just given up,” said Ruecker. “People come to me who had made six-figure salaries in the past and say ‘I’ll take anything. I’ll take a job paying minimum wage.’”

According to Ruecker, the greatest challenge for long-term job searchers is keeping a positive attitude in the midst of a situation that can seem hopeless. She says that people are very savvy with the tools and methods of job searching, but lose spirit and become negative – something that can be detrimental in interviews with potential employers.

Karen Reynolds, Westchester and Putnam County Supervisor for Catholic Charities Community Services, who oversees the implementation of the Help & Hope program, said that recently, she has started adding a component to the program that outlines the public resources available to unemployed job searchers.

“Most of the people we see are career people. They’ve always been employed, they never had to look for public assistance, they always thought, ‘that’s not for me,’” said Reynolds.

Both Reynolds and Ruecker noted that job searchers might not think to seek out support from a social worker – but emphasized that the rewards can be great, especially since there is a very strong emotional and psychological component to the job search process.

Aware of this emotional component, Ruecker makes a special effort to encourage program participants to take advantage of the six free counseling sessions with a social worker that are an optional part of the program.

“I tell my groups that a meeting with a social worker can help you to be more positive and more self-assured,” she said. “Some people might not realize that in interviews, they are giving off a vibe that they’re not confident, or that they’re negative. This can hurt you in the job market, and is something that a counselor might be able to help you resolve.”

For those attending a Help & Hope career counseling workshop, here’s what you can expect:

First Session: During the first session of the program, Ruecker works with a group of approximately 8 individuals, showing them how they can be hopeful about their options and think creatively about their job search and career development.

Second Session: During the second session, Ruecker  focuses on perfecting participants’ resumes, cover letters and any other documentation that they might need for the job search process.

One-On-One Sessions:  Catholic Charities covers the cost for all program participants to receive personalized help in the form of three one-on-one sessions with Ruecker.  In the one-on-one sessions she will work with you in writing your resume for the first time; recreating your present resume; working on other documents such as cover letters and so forth; work with you to reinvent yourself and explore how your skills, experience, and education can crossover to other occupations; networking strategies for the unpublished job market;  mock interviews; and negotiation strategies once you get your new job.

Sessions with a Social Worker: One to six optional sessions with a social worker can help job searchers build self confidence and address any personal or economic issues that might be hindering them.

Read more about the Help & Hope career counseling program: