Posts Tagged ‘washington heights ecumenical food pantry’

Daily News Exposes Hunger Crisis in New York

Monday, March 17th, 2014


“It’s a quiet crisis,” New York Daily News reporters Ginger Otis and Barry Paddock write in this in-depth exploration of hunger in New York. “In a city of plenty,” they continue in this front page story posted Sunday in the New York Daily News, “a staggering number of people are struggling to feed themselves and their families.”

Learn what they find out when they interview experts including Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, visit Catholic Charities food pantries and meet those we serve:

“Nearly one in five New Yorkers, 1.4 million people, now rely on a patchwork network of 1,000 food pantries and soup kitchens across the city to eat.

That represents an increase of 200,000 people in five years — straining the charities that are trying to help…
Yet those working on the front lines of the hunger crisis say it’s still not enough.

‘It’s an astounding surge in need, and it’s because it is so hard for people to find jobs, or find a decent-paying job. They are turning to us for emergency help,’ said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, 63, executive director of 90 free food outlets run by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

‘So many people, too many people, don’t have enough money to pay for rent and also eat.’

At (Catholic Charities’) Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry, bags packed with milk, juice, rice, pasta, tomato sauce, dry beans and other staples fly off the shelves.

Located in a small church vestry, the pantry is open one day a week, serving a steady clientele of 275 people. It could easily help three times as many, if only it had the food, volunteers said.

From soup kitchens in the Bronx, to mobile food markets on Staten Island and in Brooklyn, to pantries in Queens, the story is the same: lines stretching longer and longer, people arriving earlier and earlier, even in the depths of winter.

‘Our Lady of Grace, in the northeast Bronx, saw the number of new households double in November — a 100% increase,’ said Paul Costiglio, spokesman for Catholic Charities. “Across the board, our programs are reporting a continued increase in the number of working people, unemployed and families.”

Read more in the Daily News.

Check out this accompanying Daily News editorial:

Too many New Yorkers, too many good hard-working people, too many children, too many elderly parents, lack the resources to put food on the table.

Too many cannot afford basic nutrition — bread, milk, a piece of fruit, a portion of vegetables, a slice of meat. The stuff of survival, not the stuff of fun or frivolity…

These are our neighbors, family members and friends.

This is not New York, city of limitless opportunity. This is a New York that must do better.

Catholic Charities Honored with Food Bank Borough of Excellence Award!

Monday, February 17th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

 

The NYC Conference on Hunger and Poverty awarded this distinction to Catholic Charities Site Manager Carmen Reyes on January 22 for adapting Toyota’s proven method to turn Catholic Charities Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry into a model of efficiency.

Ms. Reyes credits her success to need, vision and teamwork.  But the key, she adds, was the contribution made by Walter Martin, a recent grad from Lafayette College with a degree in civil engineering.

 

Walter adapted Toyota’s “Kaizen” thought process– Japanese for “continuous improvement” — to analyze “where I am; where I need to be and how do I get from here to there.”

Less than two years ago, Washington Heights’ food pantry was characterized by lines that circled the block.

Now, thanks to Mr. Martin’s simple computer program, folks pick up food bank tickets in the morning and return at appointed hours.  They are warmly greeted by Ms. Reyes.  They receive their food in minutes.  And they receive case management services to help them live more independently.

Numbers quantifying the program’s success are astounding.  This food pantry that used to serve 50 people per hour now serves between 100 – 130 people.  Clients wait minutes, not hours, receiving food donations between 2 – 2.5 times faster.  And instead of just receiving donations, they now also get prescreened for SNAP (food stamps) and receive a range of support spanning from immigration referrals to help filing for tax returns.

As for the Kaizen model of continued self improvement, Carmen says she is not stopping with this success.

Her next plans?

She hopes to recruit volunteers to deliver groceries to the home bound, the elderly and the disabled.

Deloitte Volunteers Make a Big IMPACT at Catholic Charities

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Deloitte IMPACT Day 2012 volunteers with artwork created for Beacon of Hope House.

On Friday June 8, Deloitte employees volunteered for a variety of Catholic Charities programs and agencies as part of Deloitte 2012 IMPACT Day — an annual organization-wide event where Deloitte employees celebrate the beginning of their new fiscal year by giving back to the community and the nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to service all year long.

At the Catholic Charities Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry, volunteers distributed fresh produce along with new vegetable steamers to individuals from the Washington Heights/Inwood communities. The focus of this project was not only to feed the hungry, but also to provide the necessary tools for food pantry clients to prepare healthy meals for their families.

During a morning address to volunteers, Jeanne McGettigan, Catholic Charities Community Services Director of Emergency Food Services, explained the importance of healthy eating for families living in a neighborhood with a proliferation of  cheap, deep-fried food and a scarcity of fresh produce markets.

“While we work in providing food to the community, we consider ourselves public health workers,” McGettigan said.

McGettigan discussed how statistics consistently reveal that harmful health issues stemming from deficient nutrition plague low-income areas, making this project particularly important to the community.

Deloitte volunteers spent the morning preparing vegetables and learning how  many New Yorkers have come to depend on the pantry in these difficult economic times. As volunteers quickly washed and chopped broccoli, carrots, red peppers and fresh greens, a line of clients formed outside the pantry.

By lunch time, the room was transformed into a health-themed showroom. On one side of the room, bilingual volunteers individually showed clients how to use their new steamers. On the other side, a row of freshly steamed vegetables awaited clients as volunteers served them plates with various homemade dipping sauces to sample.

“The idea of giving back is always good, but our work is especially meaningful today, since we are helping people prepare healthy food and contributing to good nutrition,” said Deloitte volunteer Yohan Bobcombe.

In addition to volunteering at the Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry, Deloitte volunteers also gave back at the following locations:

At Grace Institute, a Catholic Charities affiliated agency that provides tuition-free, practical job training for underserved New York area women, Deloitte IMPACT Day volunteers helped students prepare for upcoming job interviews by giving mock job interviews and assisting students with interviewing skills. View pictures of Deloitte IMPACT Day volunteers working with Grace Institute students.

At the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center, Catholic Charities’ thriving community center located in the heart of Harlem, volunteers helped the center prepare for an upcoming open house by refreshing the building and helping it look clean and new.  The IMPACT Day team painted hallways and the exterior of the building, and also painted the outside of the “white building”, which used to serve as a coventry for women religious. View pictures of Deloitte IMPACT Day and see how volunteers dramatically refreshed the appearance of our Kennedy Center.

Another Deloitte IMPACT Day team created beautiful artwork to help improve the emotional well being and quality of life for clients of Beacon of Hope House, which operates residences and a day program for the mentally challenged in Staten Island and the Bronx. Volunteers helped paint multiple canvas paintings to be displayed in four Beacon of Hope House locations. View pictures of Deloitte IMPACT Day volunteers and the art they created for Beacon of Hope House.