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Catholic Charities Distributes Necessary Meals Amid Crisis

Posted on April 29, 2020 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share


Catholic Charities, in conjunction with other agencies and businesses, distributed food on Monday Thursday, April 9, outside the Betances Community Center, East 146th Street in the Bronx. The meal included fresh produce from Fresh Direct. Catholic Charities is planning distributions in more "pop-up pantries," responding to the coronavirus pandemic. /Maria R. Bastone

This Article originally appears on Catholic New York

Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2020 12:05 am

BY ARMANDO MACHADO

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese, said the emergency food distribution in recent weeks became possible thanks to the dedication of employees and the generosity of agency partners. Monsignor also said that other food distribution projects are being planned as more New Yorkers continue to face the dire circumstances stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are grateful for the Fresh Direct donations which allowed us to provide fresh vegetables for the people, and the people were very grateful," Msgr. Sullivan said in a telephone interview with Catholic New York on Monday Thursday, April 9.

"Our staff did a great job preparing things in a way that was absolutely appropriate according to the requirements of social distancing, and people were always wearing their protective gear," added Msgr. Sullivan, describing a distribution meeting in the Bronx that had taken place earlier that day.

“It was sad because of everything that is happening, but it was very inspiring to see everyone working together. In the midst of this pandemic, local residents obtained very nutritious food.

"This was critically important for two reasons. First of all, we make sure we fulfill our Catholic Christian mission of service today, Holy Thursday. And, secondly, that community where we provide meals is today one of the most affected by the coronavirus. The reality is that our Latino and African American communities are being disproportionately affected by this virus. ”

As the economic impact of job losses worsens, food distribution projects will be in greater demand, Monsignor Sullivan explained, adding that he does not believe the level of food shortages is as bad now as it probably will be in months. to come. "It will be a very difficult situation for so many people ... And we trust more and more in the staff, because many of our volunteers are seniors and they are the ones who need to stay home, to protect themselves from this pandemic. So we are transferring staff from other agency programs to make sure our pantries can stay open ... People are being good neighbors. "

On Monday Thursday, Catholic Charities distributed 400 boxes of groceries and bags of vegetables and fruits just outside the Betances Community Center in the Bronx. Each box contained meals for four people, for an estimated total of 1,600 meals. Personal care supplies, household items, and pet supplies were also distributed.

To keep everyone safe, the distribution took place outdoors with a staggered or shift-based pick-up schedule to avoid crowding. Some of the food was delivered to elderly people who were unable to leave their homes due to the coronavirus.

Catholic Charities food distribution was conducted in conjunction with RDC Development, a joint operation between Wavecrest Management in Queens and MDC Design and Construction of Long Island. All of this occurred during a week in which New Yorkers saw record unemployment and an increased chance of running out of food due to the coronavirus crisis.

Monsignor Sullivan was on hand to discuss the possible food shortages following mass layoffs, the ways the archdiocese is helping needy New Yorkers and the added significance of doing charity during Holy Week.

Each box included information on access to food assistance, available social services, and employment opportunities, as well as information on how to participate in the 2020 Census, and the importance of doing so to help secure funding for your community. Organizers said the distribution event was made possible in large part by generous donations from Fresh Direct in the Bronx.

"And Goya has also been very generous," said Msgr. Sullivan. "We are working with a lot of people."

Catholic Charities has expanded its food assistance program by increasing the frequency of pop-up pantries or mobile food stores and special distributions. The Alliance of Catholic Charities division spent Easter distributing 400 bags of food to people it helps in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. Organizers said Catholic Charities is planning food distributions for immigrants receiving legal assistance from the agency, and for seniors and day laborers.

Father Eric Cruz, regional director for Catholic Charities of the Bronx, noted that although Church buildings are temporarily closed, the mercy and service of the Church never stops. "It is very easy for the elderly, the sick at home, the hungry and the recently unemployed to feel very lonely, confused and desperate," Father Cruz told CNY last week. “Many begin to wonder: 'How could this have happened; How can I feed my children? ' Well, you are not alone".

"We love you, we pray for you and we are here with you."