THE NEEDIEST CASES FUND in Partnership with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York
In “an all-hands-on-deck” year, nonprofit groups help families with toys, food, books and winter essentials.
Keeping Families Warm
Volunteers streamed into the expansive basement of the Church of Our Saviour on Park Avenue in Manhattan on Dec. 11 to help with the St. Nicholas Project, which is sponsored by Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York and provides winter essentials, such as hats, sweaters and gloves, to those who cannot afford them.
This year’s gathering was “a festive and happy return to normalcy” after last year’s program had to be substantially modified because of the pandemic, said Philip Dorian, senior director for federation advancement at Catholic Charities.
The day felt like a holiday party, said Christina Perez, associate director of agency relations, with the church basement decorated with garlands and Christmas trees, and a hot cocoa bar in place.
More than 2,100 items were purchased from the retailer Primark on Staten Island and brought to the church, where a temporary boutique was created with tables and coat racks, and clothing for men, women and children was organized.
The agency relied on $10,950 from The Neediest Cases Fund for gift cards for some of the families in need of winter clothes. About 1,400 families will benefit this year from the project, Mr. Dorian said.
Among the many volunteers were families with young children who saw their parents set an example about giving and volunteerism, Ms. Perez said.
Of the children, she said: “It will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They are learning a lesson at what is the most magical time of the year.”
Catholic Charities is among 10 beneficiaries supported by the The Fund’s 110th annual campaign.
The Fund began in 1912, when The Times’s publisher, Adolph S. Ochs, sent a journalist to report about those facing hardship and receiving help from social services agencies in New York City. The goal was to publish 100 stories. The short articles struck a chord with readers, who donated about $3,600. Since then, The Times has worked with nonprofit organizations each year and has raised over $320 million in total, which has been distributed not just to organizations in the city, but also domestically and internationally.