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Catholic Charities Proclaims “Estamos Aquí” at NYC Puerto Rican Day Parade

Posted on June 10, 2019 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

We Are Here!


Catholic Charities NY staff (L-R) Julianne Pannelli, Shalika Hicks and Julissa Matias 

By Alice Kenny 

As a light breeze cut through the sunshine, Catholic Charities NY staff marched with more than 100 NYC-Puerto Rico Long Term Recovery Group partners and Hurricane Maria evacuees at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan yesterday. Waving Puerto Rican flags wand dressed in red t-shirts proclaiming “Estamos Aquí” (We are here), the celebration temporarily pushed aside thoughts about Hurricane Maria that destroyed much of the island two years ago, cheering on new arrivals and long-term residents alike.

Catholic Charities Commitment

With New York City second only to Puerto Rico as homeland for Puerto Ricans, Catholic Charities NY has long served as a primary service provider for new arrivals.  Catholic Charities responded immediately when Hurricane Maria swept through the island in 2017. We collected and distributed needed funds, provided assistance at the NYC Hurricane Evacuee Service Center, and launched a Disaster Case Management program for hurricane evacuees who escaped to the safety of our shores.

Honored by Governor Cuomo

In fact, Catholic Charites NY has been so active that also yesterday Governor Andrew M. Cuomo appointed our Hispanic media consultant, Teresa A. Santiago, co-founder of Estoy con Puerto Rico, to a newly formed Memorial Commission. As a commission member Ms. Santiago will make recommendations to the governor to establish a new memorial honoring Hurricane Maria victims and survivors. The storm and its aftermath claimed the lives of an estimated 3,000 Puerto Ricans.

Back to Business

Now, back in our offices, we have gotten back to business, helping evacuees not only from Hurricane Maria but also those who fled the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma.  Together with our program partners, NYDIS, Urban Health Plan, Union Community Health Centers, and Diaspora for Puerto Rico, we are currently providing Disaster Case Management services to over 200 evacuee households.

Catholic Charities provides help when disasters strike.   And, like marching in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, we empower and celebrate resilience. 

  • If you or someone you know needs help, please call our program hotline at 347-941-1691.