Posts Tagged ‘staff’

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan Reflects on Hurricane Sandy’s One-Year Anniversary

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

By Msgr. Kevin Sullivan

Much has been spoken and written on the one-year anniversary of Sandy.

Three simple thoughts —

Prayers and thoughts for those who lost a loved one from the storm.  This is indeed an irreplaceable loss.

Continued support to those who are still struggling to recover – restoring homes and rebuilding lives.  You are neither forgotten nor are you on your own.

Gratitude for the outpouring of support and solidarity from so many, near and far. Without you little would have been done.

Catholic Charities helped the day after the storm, is helping a year later and will be helping into the future to ensure that each individual and family has the opportunity and help needed to rebuild their lives.  I am immensely grateful to our dedicated professional staff and volunteers.  I am appreciative of our donors who enable our response to happen.

Read the Staten Island Advance for information about Catholic Charities’ new survivor support program

Trying To Put Words Into Action

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Read Monsignor Kevin Sullivan’s speech at the 2013 Pierre Toussaint Scholarship Dinner :

 

Thank you.

Tonight, with dubious judgment, you graciously present me this medallion named after a black immigrant, slave and saint.  This white, free-born Amercian sinner is appreciative, humbled, inspired and burdened.

I accept this medallion on behalf of Catholic Charities’ thousands of trustees, staff, volunteers and benefactors, who provide help and create hope to New Yorkers in need – non-Catholics and Catholics alike – black, brown, yellow and white, overwhelmingly poor and vulnerable, each made in the image of God, worthy of dignity, life and love.

I commend Brother Tyrone and the commissioners of the Office of Black Ministry for devoting the proceeds of this dinner to advancing the education of future leaders, both here and in Haiti.  Nothing is more important.

This 50th anniversary year of the March on Washington compels us tonight to not avoid the issue of race, and I include ethnicity.

That we have – and need – a black ministry office, testifies that race continues to haunt us as both society and church.

That we have a large and expanding Catholic Charities bears witness to our failures to implement the dream of many – including Martin Luther King, Pierre Toussaint, Dorothy Day, and not least, an itinerant preacher from Nazareth named Jesus.

Catholic Charities serves overwhelmingly, the poorest and most vulnerable of our society.

Catholic Charities serves overwhelmingly, black and brown New Yorkers.  To not correlate these two is to perpetuate the inequality that makes us less as a nation and less as a church.

Pierre Toussaint’s cause for sainthood is so compelling: personal responsibility and social responsibility, the dignity of work, a vibrant faith that integrates the worship of God and love of neighbor.

We are beneficiaries of Pierre Toussaint’s legacy.  We must accept being its burden bearers.

As a society we need to affirm and advance the dignity of work: in cleaning our buildings, teaching our children, driving our buses, caring for our elderly and infirm, on 700 street corners across this nation where 120,000 day laborers gather – and even far away, in the garment factories of  Bangladesh where workers earn $32 a month.  And yes, even in the neighborhood hairdressers, and the butler in the White House.

As a church we cannot remain satisfied with periodic liturgies that celebrate diversity in song and vestment.  These are necessary and life giving, and insiring.  And it is good and holy that “his eye is on the sparrow and he watches over me.”  But let us also make sure that his eye is on board rooms and markets, workplaces and jails.  Let us make certain that he watches over those places, as well.

As Catholic Charities, we must stop smugly touting the diversity in our waiting rooms filled with black and brown families.  Our boast should be that our board rooms and executive management meetings, our investment managers and vendors are black and brown.  Not yet, I am afraid to say, but I too, have a dream.

And to our neighbors of all faiths and no faith who say “amen” to these points, we invite you one more step.  We will pray and we will worship.  We need a God to inspire, support, and challenge us forward – a God whose image within us and everyone else needs to be acknowledged.  And we say to our neighbors, who may not share all our values, we need to be respected, allowed to be inspired by our faith, and exercise those values as together we create the common good.

I appreciate being here with so many who share an ardent desire to make our diverse world more compassionate, equal and just – especially regarding race.   You and I know that actions that put flesh on that ardent desire get a bit uncomfortable, and generate heat.

Let me end by sharing a refrain from a song by Pink that has haunted me for the past few months:

“Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame,
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned,
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die.
You gotta get up and try, try, try.
You gotta get up and try, try, try.
You gotta get up and try, try, try.”

Fellow beneficiaries and fellow burden bearers of Pierre Toussaint and many others, we gotta get up and try.

Thank you.

“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.