Posts Tagged ‘Volunteers’

It’s NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK – Let’s Celebrate!

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Two Ten Footwear Foundation paint murals to brighten group homes for the mentally ill.

By Alice Kenny

It’s National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, 2014, our opportunity to celebrate our volunteers’ dedication in helping others and encourage others to join the movement.

And while this is Volunteer Week, here at Catholic Charities, where the breadth of the services we offer depends on giving volunteers, every day is Volunteer Day.

We already have celebrations scheduled for our Refugee Resettlement and International Center volunteers on April 22 at 80 Maiden Lane.  And our Alianza division that provides artistic outlets for teens will hold their volunteer celebration on April 24 at La Plaza Beacon.

Join us in celebrating our wonderful volunteers.

Join us in helping change lives.

Getting started as a volunteer is as easy as 1-2-3.

Step One:
Browse our site

Step Two:
Sign up for an orientation.

Step Three:
Roll up your sleeves and join us.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Day Laborers on Three Kings Day

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Ringed with garlands of evergreens and bows, St. Peter’s Church kicked off this year’s Three Kings Day celebration with a mass for the day laborer group, Oberos Unidos de Yonkers and their young families on Saturday, January 7.   The nearly 300-member crowd — with children in tow — then moved to the gym below converted into Santa’s workshop.  Children flocked to a stage brimming with trucks, teddies and toys and families feasted on ethnic specialties.

Organized by Catholic Charities staff and volunteers, the event offered respite for these day laborers who line up daily waiting for work during heat, rain and freezing snow.

It also served as a way to thank the day laborers for their hours volunteering, commuting by bus, train and ferry, to rebuild Staten Island homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

Three Kings Day, widely celebrated in the Hispanic community, commemorates the Twelfth Day of Christmas when the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem to share with the infant Jesus their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

This annual celebration is part of Catholic Charities’ ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos of Yonkers.  Catholic Charities educates workers about employment rights and responsibilities.  It provides assistance to prevent exploitation and workplace abuses including help with collecting unpaid wages. It assists with integrating workers into society.  It provides local resources including access to healthcare, emergency food and identification cards.  And it offers a meeting space along with English as a Second Language and computer classes to help immigrants with their goal of acclimating and contributing to their new homeland.

 

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

Click here or call 917-579-9048

Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — for help finding more services you need.

 

Bringing Smiles to Children on Christmas Day

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

“In a day and age when lists to Santa Claus include iPads and game consoles , Catholic Charities St. Nicholas Project is much more basic,”  reports Carol D’Auria from 1010 WINS Radio in her live report  this week from Kmart at Astor Place.

Cardinal Dolan says volunteers with Catholic Charities (that hosted the event) don’t shop for toys but for things that people really need like socks, coats and pajamas.

“We are at our best; we are acting the way God our father intends us when we give ourselves away in love and service to somebody else and that’s what Christmas is all about.”

This volunteer said the list of needy families is growing. “We have over 200 more individuals to shop for this year than last year and it’s a really amazing way to reflect on what’s really important around the holidays.

Each shopper spent $200 for a family of four.

Catch the full story on CBS News and 1010 WINS.

“I love the fact that some tiny, simple thing that I’m doing is maybe going to help keep somebody warm and bring a smile to some kid’s face underneath the Christmas tree on Christmas morning,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan tells the New York Post.

Read the full story in the New York Post.

Trailers Spin Through the Air & Families Pray for Deliverance

Monday, November 18th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

As tornado winds gusting up to 200 miles per hour ripped through at least 12 states yesterday trailers spun through the air recalling a nightmarish version of the Wizard of Oz. Eighteen wheelers toppled, bark ripped from trees and families prayed in their basements for deliverance.

Meanwhile, folks in the Philippines are still reeling from Typhoon Haiyan that hit just last week.

The Catholic Church, from Catholic Relief Services abroad to Catholic Charities here at home along with parishes and our cadre of volunteers are here to help.

Please call us at 888 – 744 -7900.
Or email us through our contact form.

Can you help?
Please get in touch with us now.

 

A Coat of Paint, a Salad of Kale and a Birthday Wish

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Sometimes, all it takes is a coat of paint, a fresh salad or a birthday wish to make a big difference in a person’s life.  Just ask volunteers from Young & Rubicam, one of the world’s largest ad agencies, and Credit Suisse, the multinational financial services holding company.

They rolled up their sleeves in late October to team up with Catholic Charities and serve the mentally challenged, the deaf, the elderly and poor.

Eleven volunteers from Young & Rubicam painted 13 bedrooms plus a dining room at Catholic Charities Beacon of Hope House Terrence Cardinal Cooke Residence, a group home in the Bronx that provides supported housing for deaf and  hard of hearing, mentally ill adults.

Five more Young & Rubicam volunteers threw a birthday party at Catholic Charities’ Lott Residence, a home for the elderly in Harlem, to honor seniors with October birthdays and share the cake, lunch, dancing and festivities with fellow senior residents who have birthdays throughout the year.

Meanwhile, 17 volunteers from Credit Suisse sponsored a Healthy Living Workshop for 50 food pantry clients at Catholic Charities’ Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Community Center in Central Harlem.  Backing up a chef from Just Food, an organization that empowers people to eat better to lead healthier lives, the volunteers cut kale, pulled out pomegranate seeds and helped prepare fresh salads sprinkled with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.  They topped off the day by distributing to the seniors goodie bags filled with the salad ingredients, salad spinners and other prizes.

“I was grateful not just to see how reinvigorated the seniors seemed from this attention but to see the change that happened in volunteers who were giving back,” said Feeding Our Neighbors Program Manager Lizaura German. “So many said they’d donated funds but never before got to rub shoulders one – on- one with those they serve.”

Feeding Our Neighbors Program Director Jeanne McGettigan said, “International finance and a Harlem food pantry are two very different, mostly separate worlds.  It’s hard to say who took away the most from this day, but I saw smiles all around and it felt great.”

Interested in making Quinoa Salad with Kale and Sprouted Mung Beans? 

Get your recipe here.

 

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

Sandy Survivors: A Year Rebuilding Lives

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan comforts a Sandy Survivor after the Hurricane Sandy Anniversary Mass of Remembrance at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Staten Island

By Alice Kenny

When Hurricane Sandy battered New York one year ago, its fierce flood waters destroyed homes, livelihoods and communities.

On this sad anniversary and every day, Catholic Charities celebrates Sandy survivors.  From disaster response professionals visiting parishes to deliver information and resources, to volunteers collecting and distributing food and supplies, to neighbors checking in on neighbors, the entire Catholic Charities community has responded to meet the human needs of the victims, providing help and creating hope for rebuilding lives.

Do you need help? 

  • Tune in to WABC-TV Channel 7 Eyewitness News today at 4:00 pm for a #Superstorm #Sandy One Year Later Live Chat.
  • Beatriz Diaz Taveras, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Community Services, and other experts will be answering your questions about assistance needed one year after Sandy.
  • Visit ABC 7 Online  now to submit your questions. *Please note that due to high participation, not all questions may be answered.
  • Contact us by email.
  • Call our Sandy Help Line: 855-258-0483

Join us today at these Sandy One-Year Anniversary Events – All are welcome:

4:00PM Walk Along the Boardwalk
Sand Lane and Fr. Capodanno Blvd (by the Dolphins)
Community resilliency walk along the shoreline
showing that Sand has not defeated us. Kids welcome!

5:00PM Community Supper
Picnic area at Midland and Lincoln Avenue
Delicioud food and music for the whole family.

6:30PM Interfaith Service of Remembrance
Boardwalk at Midland and Loncolin Avenue
Meditation from faith leaders, music and signing,
invitation to share reflections and prayer.

7:45PM “Light the Shore” Vigil
The waterfront closest to your home.We invite you to light a candle with your neighbors near the waterfront closest to your home in remembrance of our losses and to honor the way our community has com together .

Help us:

78-Year Old Breast Cancer Patient Beats the Odds & Hurricane Sandy

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

by Teresa Santiago

Edith DiCarmine, 78 has lived in Mahopac for over 45 years and in the same home for 42. She raised 18 foster children and adopted 4 of them 2 brothers and 2 sisters. She was unable to have children of her own but her life was dedicated to being a foster mom, nurturing, caring and loving children that so desperately needed her. It was not easy and she has gone through many challenges and heart breaks in her life, the most devastating the murder of her son Christopher, but she has persevered and has come out stronger in the process.

So when Edith one evening getting ready for bed felt a lump in her breast she thought “oh that’s not good.” She immediately saw a doctor to confirm her finding then a surgeon. She was diagnosed with an advanced stage breast cancer in 2010. For the past three year, Edith has been battling the cancer which has reoccurred 4 different times. She received three operations to remove the malignant mass and lymph nodes. She has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy and was scheduled to begin another round of chemotherapy in late October early November.
On October 29th Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast of the United States with 90 miles an hour gale force winds, flooding, and heavy rain. Edith’s area was hit hard, the road leading to her home and her drive way became a fast rising and flowing river, washing away cars, pavement, and trees and leaving behind deep muddy craters, uneven earth, and big rocks varying in size.
“In the 45 years I have lived in this area I had never seen anything like it. It looked like the surface of the moon with deep holes all over my driveway and front lawn,” remembered Edith. “I was stranded I could not get out.”

The time came for Edith to start her chemotherapy. Her car was at the mechanic because it was damaged. Several volunteers from her church came to take her to her appointments but could not get up the road or the drive way because of the severe damages sustained so she did not go to her chemo appointments. Her church friends came to bring her food and spend time with her but the visit was cut short when they got stuck in one of the craters for hours a tow-truck had to be called to get them out.

Edith was finally able to get her car back from the mechanic but had to park on the makeshift street. Finding herself with no groceries, feeling sick and very weak after chemo and with no help she decided to go to the supermarket on her own. When she arrived home exhausted she parked her car and preceded to, carefully climb up the driveway looking out for the holes. It had snowed and rained and the path was very icy and slippery. She finally got about halfway to her door when she fell spilling her groceries all over the driveway. She tried 2 more times to get up but kept falling. She crawled on her hands and knees until she couldn’t anymore. She began to yell as hard as she could for someone to help her but no one came.

Meanwhile in her next door neighbor’s house Molly their dog was becoming very restless, barking and running from the door to her master. Her owner could not understand why she was so agitated. The dog bit into his pant leg and pushed and nudged him towards the door to go outside. It was then that her neighbor heard Edith’s faint but desperate call for help. When he finally got to her about half hour later her hands, legs and face were blue from the cold and she was developing frostbite. He helped her up and carried her into her home. He then picked up her groceries and brought them inside. “Molly wagged her tail as Edith thanked her and her master for the helped they had given her.

A few days after this incident Edith was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, the chemo this time around was doing more harm than good. She spent weeks in the hospital. The chemo was suspended. “The chemotherapy affected me terribly. I lost my bottom teeth, part of my eyesight, hearing and my hair, remembers Edith. “The doctors took away the chemo and waited for my body to recuperate before I began radiation therapy.”

In early April Edith called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA representatives came out and inspected the damage and they referred her to Catholic Charities. A few days later Edith met Christine McCormack, Catholic Charities’ Disaster Case Manager, Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of NY.

Ms. McCormack provided her gift cards for food and immediately began a recovery plan that includes the reconstruction her driveway. Ms. McCormack researched and identified pavement and construction companies to get estimates. She has received estimates  for the work on Edith’s driveway which will include much needed drains in front of the garage to avoid future flooding. A decision on which company to use has not been made yet however Ms. McCormack has outreached to several Catholic Charities partners to assist with underwriting the cost of the driveway repair including the United Way of Westchester and Putnam County, which has committed $6,000 to $8000 to go toward the repairs with Catholic Charities contributing the remaining amount. Edith also received $600 from FEMA which will also be used.

“Ms. DiCarmine has gone through a very difficult time. She is very frail because of the breast cancer and the chemo treatment but don’t let that fool you. She is a very independent person with great faith. My main concern was to make sure she was safe, getting to the hospital for treatment and beginning the search for a company that would do the work and the resources to pay for it,” recalls Ms. McCormack. “With our Catholic Charities partners and resources I am confident that Edith will have her driveway completed in a couple of months before the winter starts.”

“Christine has been an inspiration to me. She is such a caring person. She is a super, super, super star, in my life. I wish I had met her many years ago. I have learned a lot about myself with Christine about staying positive and not giving up,” recalls Edith.

In the middle of August Edith received great news, a clean bill of health. Her cancer is in remission.“You were a very, very sick lady. We almost lost you a few times,” Edith recalls the doctor telling her. “But after several serious operations, three rounds of chemotherapy that almost killed me, radiation therapy, and Hurricane Sandy, I have survived. I am still here!”

“I am not a Catholic, I was raised Baptist and I am a born again Christian. I have been a member of the Red Hills Baptist Church for over four decades. My church family has been very, very strong in their prayers and faith that I would get better,” says Edith. “At first I was a little apprehensive that Catholic Charities would not assist me because I was not Catholic but that is so far from the truth. They help anyone and everyone in need because we are all God’s children. I don’t know what I would have done without Christine, Catholic Charities and my church family. I would have been lost,” said a grateful and emotional Edith.

Trying Where Others Have Given Up One Person at a Time

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.

Searching for Healthy Soul-Food Recipes for Your Thanksgiving Feast?

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

That’s what forty seniors learned first-hand  – and you can too — thanks to a volunteer partnership held at Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Memorial Community Center in Harlem last week.

A guest chef from the local nonprofit organization, Harlem Seeds, demonstrated  how to make quick and yummy  Candy Apple Pie and Roasted Yam Medallions along with this personal favorite among the Brooklyn crowd, Kale with Sundried Tomatoes.

Meanwhile, volunteers from the construction management company, Lend Lease, helped the chef prep, cook and serve the food samples, making sure that each senior brought home their own bag of goodies and recipes.

Lend Lease volunteers also helped man the Catholic Charities Kennedy Center food pantry that provides food to hungry families and gave away bags filled with ingredients and recipes.

Keeping with the spirit of giving, nearly thirty  Lend Lease volunteers helped paint a landscape mural to brighten the yard at Incarnation Children’s Center, a Catholic Charities affiliate and New York City’s only skilled nursing facility that provides specialized care for children and adolescents living with HIV/AIDS.  Read more on the  blog below.

Check out these holiday recipes:

Now, as Thanksgiving approaches, how about volunteering your talents?

Click here to view our latest volunteer opportunities and find what inspires you!