Posts Tagged ‘Volunteers’

Lend Lease volunteers’ mural at ICC transforms space for children living with HIV/AIDS

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

By Lend Lease staff

On September 18th and 19th Lend Lease sent almost 30 volunteers to transform the Incarnation backyard into a completely new space.  An affiliate of Catholic Charities,  Incarnation Children’s Center is the only New York skilled nursing facility that provides specialized care for children and adolescents living with HIV/AIDS.

Lend Lease Community Day has been operating since 1996 and occurs in September each year. This much-loved initiative gives employees the opportunity to give back to communities where we live and work. Employees’ skills are matched with community needs, supporting a range of projects that address social, economic and environmental issues. Each year teams of employees design, build, garden, clean, demolish, pack, plan, paint, repair and teach, alongside our community partners and often our subcontractors and business partners.  All employees are encouraged to participate, and since its inception, over 500,000 Lend Lease volunteer hours have been volunteered across hundreds of community projects around the world.

Day One involved prepping the area for painting.  The next day included laying tarps, trimming shrubs, cleaning up the area. Volunteers even spruced up the garden and outdoor window boxes by bringing and planting harvest mums and ivy.

Day Two was a ten-hour + painting extravaganza. Volunteers showed up at 8am and some didn’t leave until well after 6pm. The level of dedication was humbling. It was evident that each person truly wanted to give back to their community and to the children at the Center by making the mural as beautiful and perfect as possible. The Lend Lease volunteer team was amazing – each person took on a task, whether it be an area or a particular color, and completed their assignment with a combination of creativity and caring.

By the end of the day, the plain, drab fence was completely transformed into a garden of Eden! Flower gardens, majestic mountains, lazy shade trees, and a lake with water lilies are among the details that one can find when looking at the new mural. Staff and Incarnation Children’s Center residents alike were both impressed and thankful for the job that Lend Lease did in less than two days Incarnation Children’s Center now has a truly magnificent mural that has permanently improved both the environment that these children live in as well as their quality of life. For an escape from every day worries, we can now use the backyard therapeutic mural to temporarily transport ourselves into an idyllic landscape.

Special thanks to Catholic Charities for bringing Incarnation Children’s Center and Lend Lease together and to the amazing group of volunteers!

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See photos  on Catholic Charities’  Facebook page  and “Like” us!

Our Prayers for All Hurt by Massive Colorado Floods; Our Help for Disaster Survivors

Monday, September 16th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Our thoughts and prayers are with all hurt by the massive flooding that already damaged nearly 20,000 homes in 15 Colorado counties and, as of last night, left 1,243 persons unaccounted for.

As New Yorkers who struggled through Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene, we know firsthand about coping with natural disasters.

At Catholic Charities, we know firsthand how to help.

Please remember that we are here to help during disasters and every day.

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 responds to meet the human needs of the victims, providing help and creating hope for rebuilding lives.

Many still struggle to recover from Hurricane Sandy. If you need help recovering from Hurricane Sandy,
please click on this link.

Click here for Help.

Click here to Help.

Help is here.

Donning Plastic Aprons and Delivering Pasta; Catholic Charities Teams with POTS with Their Recipe for Success.

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Donning plastic aprons and matching gloves, 12 volunteers, all staff from Catholic Charities, served 530 lunches last week to homeless, poor and working-poor Bronx residents in POTS community dining room.

“You get the feeling you’re helping people and find a new appreciation for what you have,” said one of the volunteers, Catholic Charities Accounts Clerk Santa Rivera.

POTS, short for Part of the Solution, provides hot, healthy meals to its “guests” seven days a week in a bright, airy space furnished with small tables that give it the feel of a neighborhood café.   The nonprofit organization serves as a “one-stop shop” that provides a wide array of assistance programs under one roof.  Its  goal and success comes from moving its guests from crises to stability and, ultimately, to self sufficiency.  In addition to the community dining room, POTS offers a food pantry, clothing program, hair cuts, health care, mail service, family club, case management services and a legal clinic.

Serving guests at the table as if it were a restaurant, Catholic Charities volunteers participated in POTS’ model of upholding client dignity.  When guests arrived, the volunteers delivered beverages and brought plates brimming with pasta and vegetables. Behind the scenes, volunteers sorted bread, prepped food and washed dishes with POTS staff. And after guests left, they cleared  tables, swept, mopped and took out the garbage.

Meanwhile, fellow Catholic Charities volunteers stocked the POTS Food Pantry, a grocery-store style pantry that invites those in need to walk its aisles and “shop”  for the produce, dairy, canned and packaged items they need to prepare balanced meals in their own homes.

Catholic Charities staff said their volunteer experience made lasting memories.

“We were able to see how great an impact our small amount of volunteering has on people’s lives,” said Catholic Charities Accounts Payable Coordinator Monica Parra. “And we saw how people were so grateful that we were there to help.”

Looking  for help or want to volunteer at POTS?

Click here to learn more.

Our Prayers for All Hurt by the Oklahoma Tornado; Our Help for Disaster Survivors

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those hurt by the devastating, mile-wide tornado that touched down near Oklahoma City yesterday, killing at least 51 people—including 20 children—decimating homes, businesses and a pair of elementary schools.

As New Yorkers who have unfortunately struggled through Hurricane Sandy, Tropical Storm Irene and the World Trade Center destruction, we know firsthand about coping with disasters.

At Catholic Charities, we know firsthand how to help.

Please remember that we are here to help during disasters and every day.

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 responds to meet the human needs of the victims, providing help and creating hope for rebuilding lives.

Many still struggle to recover from Hurricane Sandy. Please come see your local Disaster Case Manager for help rebuilding your life.

For disaster recovery, click to learn more.

Click here for Help.

Click here to Help.

Help is here.

Raising Five Tons of Fresh Vegetables for Hungry New Yorkers

Monday, May 20th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Determined to raise 8,000 – 10,000 pounds of vegetables for the hungry, dozens of volunteers planted pepper, lettuce, broccoli, tomato and eggplant seedlings at the Catholic Community Services of Rockland “Garden of Love” on May 18. Vegetables from the garden are distributed to families through food pantries throughout the county.

The garden, preparing for its fourth season, has been expanded with the help of volunteers and those who donated materials including tools, soil and fences. Renewing its commitment to the community, organizers have recently renamed the initiative “Produce the Produce.”

Check out photos of your neighborhood volunteers and more Garden of Love updates in The Journal News.

Are you hungry and need help?

  • Contact us.  At Catholic Charities, no one is ever turned away.
  • If you live in Rockland County, please call 845 942-5791.

Help us help your neighbors in need.

Join Us at Our New Food Pantry and Help Feed the Hungry

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

We’re opening a new food pantry site at St. Margaret Mary Church on Staten Island this Friday, May 10th, and we’re looking for volunteers.

Tasks can include:

1. Setting up a client choice pantry outside on folding tables. This will require moving cases of food weighing 20-50 lbs.  A hand truck will be available.

2. Greeting the clients of the pantry, providing information and maintaining an orderly flow of people.

3. Breaking down the tables and putting the food away.  This will involve some use of stairs and carrying cases of food.

We will  also be looking for volunteers willing to help at this new site through June. More postings will be made for future dates.

Please share with your friends and sign up to help the hungry.

 

Volunteers Make Nonprofit Work Happen

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Giselle Harrington speaks with Msgr. Kevin Sullivan at volunteer luncheon.

Giselle Harrington speaks with Msgr. Kevin Sullivan at volunteer luncheon.

Catholic Charities honored seven Refugee Resettlement Department volunteers who together logged more than 700 volunteer hours in just over half a year at an internationally themed volunteer luncheon held Friday, April 26.

“There’s a great need for nonprofit work,” said Giselle Harrington, a volunteer who worked in Egypt and Palestine teaching children with mental disabilities before returning to the United States and volunteering with Catholic Charities.   “Volunteers really make nonprofit work happen.”

Similar to fellow volunteers that attended the luncheon, Ms. Harrington helps refugees pull together resumes and find work.

“I use my understanding of how to network,” Ms. Harrington said, “so that people can become employed, self sufficient and have a good result.”

Would you like to help change a life?

Click here to find a volunteer opportunity tailored just for you.

Day Laborers Clean Aqueduct Trail

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

The day laborer group, Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, joined a small army of volunteers to clean a neglected section of the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park Trail on Sunday.

Together, more than 200 volunteers picked up trash along a neglected section of the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park Trail that runs through the Lenoir Nature Preserve in Yonkers.

Catholic Charities has an ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area. Through this program, Catholic Charities educates workers on employment rights and responsibilities to prevent exploitation and abuse. Catholic Charities also assists in the collection of unpaid wages, helps workers get access to healthcare services, provides emergency food, and offers English language and computer skills instruction.

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

  • Call (914) 375-6729/48 or visit the office at St. Peter’s Church basement, 91 Ludlow Street, Yonkers, NY  10705
  •  Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — for help finding services you need.

 

Electrocuted During Hurricane Sandy, Survivor Struggles to Recover

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Leaning on his black cane, Fujimoto Takashi, 64, struggles to pronounce words that convey the terror he felt the afternoon his basement apartment in Midland Beach, Staten Island, morphed into a whirlpool of chairs, refrigerator, motion and mementos.

Born in Hiroshima four years after the atom bomb was dropped there, Mr. Takashi already knew devastation first hand.  He grew up believing, he said, that if he could make his way to the United States he would find a safe place to thrive.

For a long time, his plan seemed to work.  Mr. Takashi moved to California in 1977.  He developed a career as a photographer.  And he later made his home in Staten Island.

Never did he suspect, he said, that a disaster spurred by nature and not by man would nearly kill him. But when Hurricane Sandy tore through Staten Island, the subsequent flooding inside his basement apartment electrocuted and nearly drowned him.  It destroyed his health, his home and his means of making a living.

“Growing up in Hiroshima I helped other people and felt their pain; now others are feeling my pain,” Mr. Takashi said.  “Catholic Charities gave me the encouragement I needed to not give up.”

Monday, October 29, began like most days, Mr. Takashi said.  He was fixing a camera light plugged into the wall of in his Andrews Street apartment.

Suddenly he noticed water pouring in under his front door.  He grabbed for the camera light plug.

But it was too late.  Electrical currents bore through his right calf.  They shot in one end, out the other and left a hole as their memento.   He suffered a stroke, he recalled, then passed out.

He awoke to the taste of salt water, bouncing on furniture that floated five feet above the floor.  His right arm and leg no longer functioned.

“Help me!” Fuji shouted.

Hurricane winds and neighbors’ panic smothered his screams.  Night came and went. Fifteen hours passed.  Water receded.  His energy waned.

Finally, at 10:30 the following morning, his landlord knocked on his door.

Much of what happened next is blur, he said.  An ambulance rushed him to some hospital – he can’t remember which.  Later he was transferred to Staten Island University Hospital. For 38 days doctors treated burns that covered much of his body and physical and mental repercussions from his stroke.  Finally, he was transferred to Golden Gate Nursing Home where therapists began teaching him how to walk again.

After two months in a hospital and rehabilitation center, he was released to go home.

But everything had changed.  Hurricane Sandy stole much of his memory and mobility.  It destroyed his photographic equipment, stealing his livelihood.  And it tore apart his home, leaving his furniture, clothing – all he owned – rotting and covered with mold.

“When I came back home I had nothing,” Mr. Takashi said.

His landlord gave him a blanket and an air mattress.  But the mattress leaked.

“It was like sleeping on the floor,” Fuji added.

Fortunately, an associate of Fuji’s learned of his plight and called Catholic Charities for help.

Catholic Charities Staten Island has taken a leadership role in partnering with nonprofit organizations to speed services and support to residents of this borough devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  From disaster-response professionals who visit parishes to deliver information and resources, to volunteers who collect and distribute food and supplies, to neighbors checking in on neighbors, the entire Catholic Charities community responded, providing help, creating hope and rebuilding lives.

Since Mr. Takashi’s stroke left him wheelchair bound and confused, Catholic Charities Case Manager Marvin Walker visited him in his home.  Mr. Walker helped Mr. Takashi apply successfully for a variety of grants and subsidies including new furniture from Project Hospitality, appliances from the Staten Island Back to Basics initiative, gift cards to cover necessities from the Siller Foundation, help paying heating bills from the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), food stamps from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and disaster recovery financial assistance from FEMA.  He helped Mr. Takashi apply for Access-a-Ride, bus rides catered for persons with disabilities.  And he gave Mr. Takashi food from Catholic Charities food pantries along with clothing, pots, pans, utensils and other household necessities.

Meanwhile, Catholic Charities Volunteer Services paired Fuji up with Catholic Charities Anderson Avenue Senior Director Marni Caruso.  She volunteered to drive Mr. Takashi during her personal time to medical appointments and meetings with the numerous government agencies that suddenly play a large role in his life.

Fuji’s road to recovery remains long and difficult.  He has progressed from wheelchair to walker to cane.  Many memories remain hazy.  His finances remain tight.

“I never thought I would have to depend on others,” Fuji says.  “But without Catholic Charities I couldn’t have survived.”

Food Bank Volunteers Train for Food Pantry Safety

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Nearly 40 volunteers from food pantries throughout the Bronx and Manhattan took part on February 14 in the first-ever Food Bank for New York City training hosted outside Food Bank headquarters — and inside Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center.   The food pantry food safety training, offered in Spanish, pulled in volunteers from food pantries associated with Catholic Charities along with other member programs as well.

Attendees that successfully completed this training received Food Bank Certificates in Food Pantry safety, a requirement for volunteer leadership at all Food Bank member programs.

“We are excited to be holding it at a Catholic Charities Community Services location,” said Jeanne McGettigan, Catholic Charities Coordinator of Emergency Food Services, “for the convenience and encouragement of our volunteers.”