Posts Tagged ‘Volunteers’

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.

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!

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.