By Alice Kenny
Timothy Cardinal Dolan joined a small army of Catholic Charities staff, board members and volunteers mobilized to hand out turkey and all the trimmings at the Catholic Charities annual Thanksgiving distribution to more than 400 needy New Yorkers on November 25 at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center in Harlem.
Recipients filling their shopping carts with everything from sweet potatoes to stuffing and fruit included Brenda Hugee, 53, a mother of four and former bank teller who is now disabled by Lupus, arthritis and three strokes. They included Minerva Vega, 58, a widow who lost her job as a sanitation collector when she broke her neck lifting a garbage whose bottom, it turned out, had been filled with cement. They included Jose Costillo, 51, a former warehouse worker who lost his job last year. And they included Elizabeth Vargas, who waitresses and babysits to support her three children, ages seven, one-and-a-half and six months old.
These are just a few of the faces of hunger who turn to Catholic Charities for help. They include the unemployed and underemployed, families with children, seniors and the disabled.
During this historic time of need, more than 3 million people in New York State now turn to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to meet their family’s basic needs.
“I try not to ask for help and to make it on my own,” Ms. Hugee said. “If it weren’t for this we’d have rice and beans for Thanksgiving.”
Meet these faces of hunger in this powerful video: