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Catholic Charities Feeding the Hungry in Staten Island

Catholic Charities Staten Island, Rusty Staub Mobile Food Pantry
Catholic Charities Staten Island and SICIL Mobile Food Pantry
Photo Credit: @sicilving

by Jim Sliney Jr 

3 Min Read. Catholic Charities of New York manages the Feeding Our Neighbors (FON) program; a network of many agencies joined together with the singular mission of making sure no hungry neighbor is turned away. It’s hard to imagine the size of the operation in a city of 8.5 million people spread over 300 square miles, that also provides services in Westchester, Sullivan, Ulster, Orange, and Rockland Counties. To accomplish this goal requires many moving parts.

SOME OF THE MOVING PARTS

Recently, the Staten Island Center for Independent Living (SICIL) teamed up with Catholic Charities of Staten Island and the Rusty Staub Foundation to provide a new mobile pantry service for an underserved section of Staten Island.

We could talk about agencies, but we can never forget that agencies are made of dedicated people. I want you to know who some of these people are. I reached out to the hard-working team at Feeding Our Neighbors and got to speak with their Assistant Director, Jeanne McGettigan.

“Michelle LaVignera is the Director of Social Services at Catholic Charities of Staten Island. Joii Bobian is-the Independent Living Specialist at the Staten Island Center for Independent Living (SICIL).  Joii’s experience reaching out to the disabled and Michelle’s broad knowledge of social services meant that the two women had developed a strong working relationship. When Joii mentioned to Michelle that there were no food pantries near her agency (Castleton Avenue between Brighton Ave and Ridgewood Place) where she could easily refer SICIL’s consumers, Michelle knew just who to call. After a productive flurry of e-mails, calls and meetings, SICIL welcomed their new partner, the Rusty Staub Mobile Food Pantry, one of the Feeding Our Neighbors Programs of Catholic Charities Community Services.

Now, every Thursday afternoon, SICIL’s consumers can step outside the agency’s doors to find a table-top pantry to supply them with a nutritious and well-balanced selection of groceries. The Mobile Pantry currently makes several stops on the North Shore of Staten Island, including the Anderson Avenue Community Office of CC Staten Island, and a number of parishes.”

 It is the coming-together, the combining of resources and experience, and the people in the field that make this system work.

In the lead article photo above, you’ll see some of the exceptional people without whom this service would not be possible. From LEFT to RIGHT, are: Jeanne McGettigan, Assistant Director FON Programs, Ian Sanders, FON Mobile Pantry Driver and Outreach Worker, Linda Livornese-Wilkie, FON Volunteer, Joii Bobian - Independent Living Specialist at the Staten Island Center for Independent Living (SICIL) and Jim Ritorto, FON Mobile Pantry Driver and Outreach Worker.

These are the people those in need will encounter, and there are many others as well. Here is how you can help support them:

  • Donate Food - Bring non-perishable foods to a  Catholic parish in the New York Archdiocese, the Catholic Charities headquarters at 1011 First Avenue, or your local Archdiocesan Catholic School. Learn more about acceptable food items to donate this year

  • Donate Funds - Donations to Feeding Our Neighbors can be made through Catholic Charities, your local parish, or any Catholic School in the New York Archdiocese. One dollar equals 10 meals. 

  • Volunteer - Our volunteers are essential in delivering Catholic Charities' mission to deliver, coordinate, and advocate for quality human services and programs. Volunteer at a food pantry, soup kitchen or Catholic Charities affiliated agency to support Feeding Our Neighbors.

And it never hurts to say Thank You when you see them.

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