Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

A Call to Do Better as a City

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Left to Right: Central Park South Skyline and The Auburn Family Residence Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES – THE OPINION PAGES | LETTER

MARCH 3, 2014

To the Editor:

Re “A Packed Forum for a Rising Concern: New Skyscrapers Near Central Park” (news article, Feb. 21) and “400 Children to Be Removed from 2 Shelters” (front page, Feb. 21):

In the eclectic way I look at the morning news, I read these two articles back to back. Two numbers caught my attention: From the first article, apartments selling for as much as $95 million; and from the second article, the cost of two homeless shelter upgrades, $13 million.

Something is seriously wrong with this picture. We cannot refrain from demanding that we do better as a city, as a country and as a world. I am not looking to assign blame, but the end result is just plain wrong. I am more interested in identifying those who are willing to be responsible to help right the situation.

We don’t and we won’t live in a perfect world, but we have to do better. As a first step, let’s just reverse the numbers: Cap the apartment at $13 million, and provide $95 million for shelter upgrades. At least then we’d be moving in the right direction.

 

Msgr. KEVIN SULLIVAN
Executive Director, Catholic Charities
Archdiocese of New York

 

New York Times Reports Increased Demand for Food Banks as Donations Decline

Friday, January 24th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Exacerbating cuts made last November in food stamp programs that feed the hungry, Congress is now eying significant additional reductions, reports The New York Times on Wednesday, January 22.

“Food banks across the country,” reports The New York Times, “are increasing efforts to prepare for the increased demand even as donations decline.”*

It is crucial now more than ever to join with us in Feeding Our Neighbors, our united effort to fight hunger.

Now in its third year, Catholic Charities will be joined by UJA/Federation to make Feeding Our Neighbors 2014 an interfaith campaign on behalf of New York’s hungry.

Starting January 26th, we’ll be leveraging our collective reach and already expansive networks for even greater impact — with the goal of collecting and distributing a combined one million meals to feed the hungry throughout New York.

Too many children and families struggle every day with hunger.

Feeding Our Neighbors, An Interfaith Response unites Catholic Charities and UJA-Federation of New York, two of the largest faith-based, not-for-profit organizations, to combine efforts to help fight hunger and replenish dwindling supplies.

You can be part of this united effort.  Help us collect and distribute food packages across pantries and shelters throughout the New York area.

Because ultimately, we do the most when we do it together.

Please join us!

Click here to donate – and write “Feeding Our Neighbors” in the comments field.

Reading this on your smart phone?  Text CCHOPE to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.   (Standard text rates apply.)

*Read the full story in The New York Times.

 

Abandoned Teen Plans Army Career

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Although he is only 19, Miguel Hernandez Ford has planned out his future.

In it, he has something he has never known: a real family.

Mr. Hernandez Ford’s mother abandoned Honduras for the United States when he was young, leaving him and his younger brother in the care of his grandparents. By the time he was 7, Mr. Hernandez Ford had to work operating furniture-building equipment instead of attending school.

He still bears the physical scars from those days.

As he talks about them, he fingers a spot on his hand where an accident left a wound requiring 25 stitches. “Sometimes they would hit me,” he said of his grandparents, attempting to shrug off the memories.

When Mr. Hernandez Ford turned 15, his mother, whom he had not seen in nearly a decade, sent for him.

Once again Mr. Hernandez Ford was forced to work, this time helping to support his mother and his four half brothers and sisters. After six months, he asked to be allowed to attend school. His mother denied his request and kicked him out of the house, he said.

Fortunately, Catholic Charities, in partnership with South Bronx United and the Medical-Legal Partnership Immigrant Youth Clinic, stepped in.  They found him a home and a caregiver.  Most importantly, they provided him with legal assistance to get a green card so that he can build a life for himself.

“First I want to get my G.E.D.,” Mr. Hernandez said, “then go to the Army.”

Read Miguel Hernandez’ full story in the New York Times

Msgr. Sullivan’s Trip to Bangladesh Continues to Resonate as We Approach Christmas

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Tomas Munita for The New York Times

“Adequate compensation for the disabilities and loss of life caused by the disasters along with safe building and working conditions were the major themes I heard from the garment factory workers in Bangladesh immediately after Thanksgiving.”

 Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

In a front-page story published just yesterday in The New York Times, reporter Jim Yardley documents how those living after the collapse are still struggling to make ends meet.   Even though the Bangladeshi government, local associations and overseas retailers have provided short-term compensation to survivors and loved ones, many still require financial support.

Last month, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan was invited to visit garment factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh with a delegation of New Yorkers that included Tom DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller, and Stuart Appelbaum the head of the RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.)

The delegation met with surviving workers of the Rana Plaza factory collapse as well as family members of those who perished, labor leaders and retailers tied to the factory. More than 1,100 workers’ lives were lost nearly eight months ago.

“Our trip was intended to meet with the various sectors involved in the garment industry, the workers themselves, organizers, brand names and government officials to learn about what was going on,”  Monsignor Sullivan told Catholic New York.  RanaPlaza survivors and family members of the workers killed had a number of concerns regarding reforming building and work space conditions and receiving adequate compensation from the disaster.

Read more survivors’ stories featured in The New York Times.

 

Bullied Boy Begins to Thrive

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Bullied for much of his childhood and bounced between eight inner-city schools Edwyn Colon, 11, was treated for anxiety and panic attacks.

The young boy shares a one-bedroom apartment with his mother who is disabled by asthma, neuropathy and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and his grandfather who needs constant care due to the three strokes he suffered and Parkinson’s Disease.  His father left the family when Edwyn was four years old.

Edwyn needed someone outside his family, his mother said, someone healthy who he could look up to, learn from and begin to enjoy life outside their urban Bronx neighborhood.

Fortunately, the family found Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers, an affiliate of Catholic Charities New York.  The agency matched volunteer and investment banker Noah Anderson, 33, a “big brother”/mentor for Edwyn.

“I don’t believe anyone is self made; you are the people you interact with,” says Mr. Anderson.  “I was fortunate to interact with good people and I want Edwyn to have that experience.”

Read more in The New York Times.

Invisible Child

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

“She wakes to the sound of breathing,” New York Times reporter Andrea Elliott writes in this compelling new series that shines a light on the growing number of homeless children in New York City.

“The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.”

Ms. Elliott’s story follows the life of Dasani, an eleven-year-old who lives in the shadows of New York City’s high rises.  Her life appears more reminiscent of a 19th-century Dickens novel than of New York’s better-known twenty-first century stories of success.

The reality is that hunger and homelessness is growing in New York.

As Ms. Elliott reports:

  • Dasani belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression.
  • The ranks of the poor have risen, with almost half of New Yorkers living near or below the poverty line.
  • One in five American children is now living in poverty.
  • Nearly one-third of New York’s homeless children are supported by a working adult.
  • Even with both parents working full-time jobs, on minimum wage they would have combined salaries of only 2,300 per month.

Dasani and her fellow modern-day Oliver Twists have come to be known, among the city’s homeless advocates, as “the lost generation.”

At Catholic Charities we find and help children and families in need.

Thanks to Catholic Charities and our affiliated agencies, this year:

  • 6,600,000  children and their families received nutritious meals in parish & community food programs
  • 9,051   children and their families were provided with emergency overnight shelter
  • 7,254   children are growing and learning in day-care
  • 6,066   children and teens were placed in safe foster care
  • 4,628   youth are participating in sound after-school programs
  • 382      children were adopted by loving families

Do you or does someone you know need help?

Please call the Catholic Charities Help line at: 888-774-7900

For more information about a particular service, click below:

Day Care Summer Camps
Foster Care Community Centers
Adoption Preventive Services
After School / Out of School Time Activities

Can you help?  Join us now during this Christmas season and throughout the year.

 

 

Growing Up Among Addicts & Gangs,Teen Finds Help

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

The journey from home to school is an effortless walk for Xavier Cruz, 14, who just strolls around the corner and down the block. But considering where he is going, he may as well be traveling to another world.

Since the sixth grade, Xavier has attended St. Ignatius School, an educational oasis in Hunts Point, a Bronx neighborhood known for rampant crime and grinding poverty.

Now, thanks to the school’s and Catholic Charities’ intervention, Xavier sidesteps the gangs that surround him. Instead he prepares for high school, then college and finally, he says, a career in computer technology to help him pull his family from these streets.

Read Xavier’s profile in today’s New York Times.

 

 

 

 

 

A Dead Father’s Presence, A Daughter’s Challenge

Friday, November 15th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Julie Vann, 17, whose parents fled the brutal assault of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, dreamed of one day going to college and building a better life for her family.  But when her father who had found work in the U.S. as a maintenance worker, died last year from skin cancer, the challenge of overcoming her family’s tragic history grew tougher.

Her mother, who speaks little English and can no longer work as a manicurist due to carpal tunnel syndrome, weeps every day as she shares her dinner with a photo of her dad.  The family’s sole income is now just $1100 in Social Security survivor benefits for Julie and her younger sister.

Yet Julie remains determined to not only graduate from high school this year but to go to college to become an engineer.
Fortunately, Catholic Charities and its Transitio

n to Adulthood Program stepped it. Catholic Charities helped her prepare for her SAT exams, took her on trips to visit colleges, helped her complete her college applications and provided her, thanks to funds from the New York Times Neediest Cases program, with the money she needed to purchase her cap and gown, graduation tickets, senior award dinner and yearbook. Most important, it provided her with the counseling and support she needed to fulfill her dream.

 Read her story in today’s New York Times.

 

 

Defrauded Widower Rebuilds Life

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Eugenio German sold ice cream from a pushcart. Anita Villalongo left her building each day to buy a cone.

Their friendship blossomed into a marriage. Their marriage blossomed into a family; two daughters and a son.

But cancer and corruption almost wiped it all away.  Ms. Villalongo-German, a Puerto Rican American citizen, died of cancer – multiple myeloma – and renal failure on March 26, 2011.  Meanwhile, attorneys the couple had hired to process Dominican-born Mr. German’s application for citizenship defrauded them, leaving Mr. German in danger of deportation.

Fortunately, the Catholic Charities Immigration department stepped in to help.

Read the full story in today’s New York Times.

Cutting the Lean from Food Stamps

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and fellow hunger advocates. Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan said, “Our Catholic inspiration for feeding the hungry can be traced back to Jesus feeding the hungry on a hillside at the end of a long day.” He went on to say, “the need is even more acute now. Hunger among poor New York families is so extensive that hundreds of thousands of children go to bed each night without enough nutritious food to eat. These children wake up hungry and have a hard time concentrating in school. Some of the critically important programs to deal with this are now threatened by cutbacks in funding. Food is a basic human need. Our neighbors cannot be allowed to go hungry.”

 

By Ginia Bellafante

Published in The New York Times October 4, 2013

If you live alone and receive $200 a month in food stamps (the maximum the government allows for a single person and the equivalent of $2.30 per meal), your budget remains unlikely to accommodate much of the healthy, essential, “good” food that in this city and so much of the country has become its own religion, at the levels of both culinary passion and public policy. We hail the fact that greenmarkets accept electronic benefit transfer cards, but availability and affordability are hardly tandem principles.

According to research by the Food Bank for New York City, the price of food in the New York metropolitan area rose by 16 percent between December 2007, the start of the recession, and the end of last year, with 32 percent of New Yorkers in 2012 reporting difficulty paying for the food they needed. Those dependent on government subsidies to supply their tables will feel these increases more harshly as cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, as the food stamp program is called) go forward.

At the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine last week, advocates for the hungry including Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan initiated an effort to stop planned cuts in food stamps. The clock showed the time left before the cuts went into effect.

Read the full story here.