Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

It’s National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week

Monday, November 17th, 2014

foodBy Alice Kenny

It’s National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week!
Held each year the week before Thanksgiving, this is a great time for us all to remember what we are thankful for
— and a perfect time to share our compassion with our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness.

What can I do?

  • Volunteer at one of our local soup kitchens.
  • Volunteer at one of our nearby food pantries.
  • Join us at our St. Nicholas Project Shopping Day.

Find out more ways to help.

When the First Hurdle Is Remembering

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Her memory ravaged by damage done to her brain, Nikkiya Simmonds, 32, returned to an apartment that might as well have belonged to a stranger. It was a cozy dwelling, strewn with cute knickknacks and calming artwork that she was tickled to learn that she had chosen, that she was, indeed, home.

But learning the identity of the adorable, yet utterly unfamiliar infant who greeted her was haunting. The child was Ms. Simmonds’s 2-year-old daughter, Nikalia Harrison.

“I remembered being pregnant, but I didn’t remember her,” she said. “I felt real guilty.”

In March, Ms. Simmonds, with no prior history of epilepsy or convulsive episodes, was stricken by a grand mal seizure. The injury to the frontal lobe of her brain was so severe that her mind was purged of every memory of the previous two years, including the entirety of her daughter’s life.

After two months of hospitalization, Ms. Simmonds returned to a new life and a new reality; an eviction notice slipped under her door.

Happy Thanksgiving from Catholic Charities

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Catholic Charities is here for you on Thanksgiving and every day.

We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Approaches but NYC Children Do Not Have Enough to Eat

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Catholic Charities Turkey & Trimmings Food Distribution

The New York Times reports  that one-fifth of New York City children and one-sixth of the city’s residents live in homes without enough to eat.

These rates of “food insecurity” have not improved over the past three years, despite the steady recovery of the city’s economy, said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger that compiled the report.

“There is a great disconnect between the broader economic indicators and the fact that there is absolutely no recovery in any meaningful way for low-income New Yorkers,” Mr. Berg said in an interview. “At no time since the Gilded Age has there been a greater disconnect.”

The most dire change has been in the Bronx, where more than one-third of residents (36 percent) and nearly half of the children (49 percent) could not consistently obtain balanced meals from 2010 through 2012. Those three-year averages were up from about 29 percent and 37 percent during the three-year period that led up to the financial crisis — 2006 through 2008 — the study states, based on data from the United States Census Bureau.

But even in Brooklyn and Manhattan, two boroughs where real estate prices have risen to record highs, the number of people without enough money to feed their families is on the rise, the report shows. That trend was evident from the line snaking down Fulton Street last week outside the pantry Dr. Samuels runs.

Read the full story in The New York Times.

Contact Catholic Charities if you are hungry and need help.

Join Us in Our Feeding Our Neighbors campaign, an archdiocesan drive to replenish food pantries supporting non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

Catholic Charities Announces $250,000 Holiday Assistance for Staten Island Sandy Survivors

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Msgr. Sullivan speaks with Sandy survivors

By Alice Kenny

Staten Island families can still sign up for Disaster Relief Services to become eligible

Catholic Charities announced a $250,000 program to provide holiday assistance to Staten Island families still affected by Hurricane Sandy.

  • The help will come in the form of gift cards for holiday meals and needed food or other necessities  such as coats, blankets and household items during this Thanksgiving through Christmas season.
  • The focus of this service, to begin in mid-November, are families with  an open case through the disaster case management program available through Catholic Charities and other Staten Island organizations.
  • Case managers remain ready to accept additional referrals and provide help.
  • The announcement coincides with the first anniversary Hurricane Sandy Mass of Remembrance at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Staten Island celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan on October 27.

“As the holiday season approaches, we know this is the time of year we can do more,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. “Catholic Charities has been on the ground in Staten Island since Sandy hit, thanks in part to the many local pastors who did a tremendous job assessing needs and finding ways to give back to the community. We plan to be in the community for the long haul since we know more work needs to be done. It is our hope that these gifts during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons will alleviate some of the overwhelming physical and emotional devastation experienced by these families. For any family still seeking help, our case managers are ready to help.”

Cardinal Dolan, who has made several pastoral visits to the people and parishes of Staten Island that were affected by Sandy, noted that “Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York has been on the front lines, providing not only relief, but coordination of aid, helping as well to renew the spirit by providing counselors for those hit hard by loss. In the days and weeks immediately following the storm, I saw firsthand their work and those of our Pastors with people whose lives had been so badly impacted by the storm. I know that Catholic Charities will be here continuing to help for as long as they are needed.”

The holiday assistance program is part of the ongoing assistance that Catholic Charities has provided Staten Island communities since last year. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Catholic Charities:

  • Distributed more than $1 million in direct assistance
  • Converted existing space into a Staten Island collection center to provide food, water, cleaning supplies, blankets, and financial Support to over 1,000 individuals with lasting power issues
  • Mobilized hundreds of volunteers to work reconstruct homes and streets
  • Provided meals
  • Staffed a disaster relief center in Staten Island seven days a week to centralize resources with an intake hotline to answer residents’ questions

Due to ongoing unmet needs facing many Staten Island families, Catholic Charities has committed to helping the borough for the long term.

One of the ongoing initiatives, the disaster case management program, was announced by Governor Cuomo in April and is administered by Catholic Charities. It provides disaster survivors with a single point of contact to develop and carry out a disaster recovery plan by getting access to a broad range of needed resources.

  • Roughly 200 service coordinators are stationed throughout the 13 hardest-hit counties, including New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.
  • Catholic Charities provides the services directly or partners with local not-for-profits like the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Staten Island, El Centro del Inmigrante, Lutheran Social Services, the Arab-American Family Support Center and the Center for Independence of the Disabled.
  • In Staten Island alone, nearly 800 families have been provided disaster case management through this program.

Eligibility for the program is open to anyone with an unmet need that arose from or was exacerbated by Superstorm Sandy, even those who have not applied to FEMA for assistance.

Those impacted by the storm can call the Sandy Referral Line, 1-855-258-0483, to find out the location and contact information for their nearest service provider.

A full list can also be found online at  www.catholiccharitiesny.org/disasterrelief

Check out more photos of the event.

#GivingTuesday: A New Holiday to Start the Giving Season

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

By Chelsee Pengal

After the rush of shopping and deals post-Thanksgiving, a more meaningful celebration has taken shape to kick off the giving season. On Tuesday, November 27th, charities, families, businesses and individuals are all coming together to join in acts of giving.

As a partner of the #GivingTuesday initiative, Catholic Charities New York is raising funds and food for this year’s Feeding Our Neighbors campaign.

Thousands have been helped by emergency food after Sandy. At the same time, hundreds of thousands don’t have enough to eat every day. Help us raise 1 million meals for needy New Yorkers by contributing to Feeding Our Neighbors. Do your part to make the spirit of #GivingTuesday last throughout the year.

How to participate:

  • Spread the word about #GivingTuesday on Facebook and Twitter
  • Make a quick $10 donation to Feeding Our Neighbors by texting “CCHOPE” to 85944

 

This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Your Time

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

By Chelsee Pengal

With Thanksgiving upon us and Christmas arriving soon, many people’s thoughts turn to giving. While there are countless material items available for purchase, one present that lasts long after the holidays is the gift of your time. Catholic Charities has multiple volunteer opportunities that allow you to dedicate your talents to helping needy New Yorkers.

Some of the ways you can get involved include:

To sign up for these and many other volunteering options, visit our volunteer website. Your time can make all the difference for your neighbors in need this holiday season.

Cardinal Dolan Leads Catholic Charities Annual Distribution of Thanksgiving Meals

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

In the midst of Catholic Charities’ efforts to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy and left without adequate food or shelter, Catholic Charities continues to meet the basic human needs of thousands of New Yorkers. On November 20, 2012, Timothy Cardinal Dolan led the annual Catholic Charities distribution of Thanksgiving meals to more than 400 needy New Yorkers at the Kennedy Center in Harlem.

“We don’t ask people what their creed is,” Cardinal Dolan said. “We don’t ask people where they come from. We love everyone and we open our doors to them–there’s always another chair at the table.”

Calling attention to the plight of the hungry throughout the year, Cardinal Dolan also announced the 2013 Feeding Our Neighbors campaign to replenish New York’s stretched food pantries and soup kitchens.

This year, UJA-Federation of New York will join with Catholic Charities to make Feeding Our Neighbors 2013 an interfaith campaign on behalf of New York’s hungry.  John S. Ruskay, Executive Vice President and CEO of UJA-Federation of New York, joined Cardinal Dolan and Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, for this announcement.

During the Thanksgiving season and beyond, we remember New Yorkers who must turn to food pantries, soup kitchens and senior center meal programs in order to sustain themselves. To contribute to this year’s Feeding Our Neighbors campaign:

  • Donate to the campaign online by specifying “Feeding Our Neighbors” in the comments field
  • Contribute food
  • Volunteer at a food pantry
  • Text CCHOPE to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation to the Feeding Our Neighbors campaign

Archbishop Dolan and Christine Quinn Call on New Yorkers to Feed the Hungry

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

At Catholic Charities’ Annual Thanksgiving Meal Distribution in Harlem, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, NY City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan called on all New Yorkers to respond to a sacred duty to feed the hungry and care for our neighbors in need. Read Archbishop Dolan’s official statement on hunger in New York here, and listen to him call upon all New Yorkers to help during this time when so many are suffering:

Our Call to Feed the Hungry — Not Only at Thanksgiving

Monday, November 21st, 2011

By Tom Dobbins, Jr.

November 21, 2011 — One of my favorite spots in the city is on the banks of the Hudson River — approximately 5 blocks west of where Wall Street has been being occupied. There, you’ll find New York City’s memorial to the Irish famine that lasted from 1845 to 1852 – a tragedy that began with a blighted potato crop and was exacerbated by political inaction.

One-third of the people living in Ireland at that time – one half million – died of starvation, and another third – of whom I am a living descendent – emigrated in a great diaspora to any ports that would welcome them all over the world. The memorial is beautiful: a rugged half-acre of cantilevered landscape thickly planted with native Irish flora and plants growing in fallow fields, along with the remains of an authentic, famine-era Irish cottage. Accounts of historical and contemporary sentiments about worldwide hunger are etched in the base of glass and broadcast from an audio installation. While raising awareness about an event that happened long ago, the space also encourages visitors to address the causes of hunger world-wide.

Catholic Charities Thanksgiving Meal Distribution

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities New York, giving food to a Catholic Charities client at our annual Thanksgiving Meal Distribution

Hunger has been in my thoughts a lot lately, primarily because for the past week I have been participating in the “Food Stamp Challenge,” a campaign sponsored by “Fighting Poverty with Faith” – and of which Catholic Charities is a partnering organization. The goal for participants in the Challenge is to live for one week on the benefit given to those on Food Stamps – approximately $31.50 per week, or $4.50 a day. Here in New York City, that money doesn’t go very far.

My meals for the week consisted mostly of oatmeal, brown rice, frozen vegetables and on-sale chunk light tuna. Except for a Saturday night treat of a 10-piece McNugget, I pretty much stuck to the challenge, winding up with just under $5 left over week’s end.

The experience reminded me of when I visited Tanzania with Catholic Relief Services last September, and lived off a diet of white rice and sauerkraut. It would have been obscene to complain about the food I was given after witnessing the food assistance work done by Catholic Relief Services in the drought-ravaged Horn of Africa.

The Food Stamp Challenge comes at a time of great challenge to our nation and its moral commitment to feed the hungry. The Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is working on a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion dollars; the day that this deficit reduction plan is due is – ironically – the day before Thanksgiving. Many are concerned that food stamp assistance might be a target for massive funding cuts.

The U.S. Bishops and Catholic Relief Services are both now advocating with Congress and the Administration to ensure that hunger-related assistance is not compromised in the deficit-reduction debate.

For Christians, feeding the hungry is not some peripheral “nice thing” that we should do if we’ve got the time – it’s literally part of our “final exam” that Jesus told us about on the Sermon on the Mount, along with clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger and caring for the ill. In fact, Pope

Benedict XVI went so far as to say: “liberation from the yoke of hunger is the first concrete manifestation of the right to life, which – despite its having been solemnly proclaimed – is often very far from being fulfilled effectively.”

It’s up to us to ensure that what has been solemnly proclaimed is effectively fulfilled. While the rest of the world’s attention is focused on the 99% fighting the alleged evils of the top 1%, with the 53% somewhere in the middle, let’s be sure that our attention is focused on the 15% of Americans who live below the poverty level (and the much larger percentage of our impoverished brothers and sisters in the rest of the world).