Msgr. Kevin Sullivan handes out food packages // Carmen Gonzalez
By Jim Sliney Jr
Monsignor Kevin Sullivan was doing his rounds. On this particular day last week he was travelling up to Peekskill and Ossining to support the staff at the pop-up food pantries that were happening there. While traveling he was invited to speak with WHUD’s Mike and Kasey in the Morning.
In Peekskill and Ossining, Catholic Charities workers were distributing 500 bags of food at each location. That’s possible not just because of the work of Catholic Charities but because of the cooperation between other food pantries, and volunteers and donations across the Archdiocese. And if 1000 bags of food sounds like a lot, that’s because it is – but it’s only a small part of the 6 million meals per year that Catholic Charities and its partners and agencies distribute.
These particular pop-up pantries brought the number of impromptu pantries to about 75 to have occurred since the restrictions of the Coronavirus changed everything back in March of 2020. Feeding the hungry isn’t new for Catholic Charities, but when the Coronavirus arrived, the need grew, fast.
“We’re going to serve about 1000 families which means that’s over 12,000 meals in Peekskill and again in Ossining. That’s going to touch more than 4000 people. I’m really proud to do it. I’m sad, but we have to do it.”
Monsignor Sullivan was making this trip, not just to hand out food, but to thank the incredibly dedicated workers who were on the ground doing the work day in and day out.
“We have tremendous staff, volunteers and donors,” Monsignor told Mike and Kasey. “They were the ones who said, ‘this is a crisis that none of us have ever seen before. The amount of jobs lost, of people who do not have an income…we have to step up to the plate’.” And when people find a need that requires attention, they seek out Catholic Charities because no one has more experience.
Having the will is important, but you also need food to distribute.
“Quite frankly, most (the food), we do buy, but there are food banks throughout the Hudson Valley and all over who are the recipients of a lot of donations from a lot of companies; they buy food through funds they receive , a lot of it from government, a lot of it from private sources.” And when they ask CCNY for help, they tap into their pantries and programs and help you get out the food to the people who need it.
There is a lot of need in Westchester. There’s more coverage of places like the Bronx in the news, who have definitely been hurt by joblessness and its affects. But Catholic Charities doesn’t go where the news goes, they go where the need is, and Catholic Charities knows because its what they’ve been doing for over a hundred years.
And it’s about more than food too.
“We want to bring people together. If you have a little more, help us share it with those who have less. We want to bring hope so that people can see there is a more hopeful future for them.”
And that’s what we really need right now.