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Looking back at 2019: St Nicholas to the Rescue

Posted on January 10, 2020 by Zack  |  Share

By Jim Sliney Jr.

On December 14th, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan could be found shopping at the Astor Place Kmart, along with a team of over 300 volunteers to buy warm clothing like coats, gloves and hats for New Yorkers in need. This event was none other than Catholic Charities of New York’s Kmart Shopping Day – an annual event that is part of the St. Nicholas Project.

“This is all about family. This is all about giving. This is all about love,” said Cardinal Dolan. “We got the name of a family and what they needed and we get to shop for them.”

Volunteers each got a sheet profiling a specific family along with their story and a list of what they could use. Volunteers get a budget and shop to fulfill their adopted families’ needs. But it’s goes beyond that. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, director of Catholic Charities of New York told The Tablet, “It’s not just buying coats or jackets at the store, it’s about buying this coat for Jasmine, or this pair of socks for Robert. That’s the real beauty of today, because we treat each person as an individual made in God’s image and likeness.”

The St. Nicholas Project is a year-round initiative to help the most vulnerable people in New York City and neighboring communities by providing support to individuals and families through donations of essential items and case management services. Though it is easy to see the volunteers all decked out in their Christmassy red sweaters, the St. Nicholas Project is active all year long.

The month of July is designated as the “31 Days of Giving” – a program of the St. Nicholas Project that partnered this year with Shop Your Way to let shoppers make purchases of winter necessities in the  middle of the summer. St. Nicholas also has the Adopt-a-Family program, where someone can “adopt” the needs of a specific family by donating $300 to support a family of four (there are other levels too). It’s those profiles that end up in the hands of some of the St. Nicholas Project volunteers, shopping their hearts out for their neighbors.


Cardinal Timothy Dolan, The Archdiocese of New York 

But there’s still more! There are 296 parishes within the Archdiocese of New York, and many of them are making their own collections of toys and winter-items for families within their parish. How much gets collected? It’s hard to say because it’s happening in churches and community centers and police precincts and schools all over the archdiocese. But we know that well over 1100 families and over 5000 people are receiving, in their hands, the fruits of all that generosity.

When you give to Catholic Charities of New York, you become part of exactly that kind of network of support and hope. The giving of time, sweat, money, or needed-items always goes right where it’s needed – to your fellow New Yorkers who are otherwise going without.

Sign up to give to Catholic Charities here, or take part in collections in your community. Then we can all keep warm, inside and out, in this wonderful time of year.