Encore Community Services, an agency which serves the needs of seniors in Manhattan’s Theatre District, presented its Community Impact Award to Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese, at its June 21 fundraiser.
At the event Encore director Jeremy Kaplan noted the agency, a Catholic Charities’ affiliate, plans to increase its food programs, doubling its reach from 500,000 meals distributed each year to one million, as well as enhancing its financial counseling and arts education for the elderly who live in the Times Square area.
Upon receiving his award, Msgr. Sullivan thanked Encore and its supporters for its outreach, which transcends religious and ideological differences.
Encore is not afraid to reach out and partner, even with those who might at other times disagree
“Encore is not afraid to reach out and partner, even with those who might at other times disagree,” he said. “Our world is full of division. There is far too much hate, far too much vitriol.” Encore, an agency which began in 1977 out of the basement of St. Malachy’s Church, known as the Actors Chapel, has been able “to reach out with a hand across the divides.” Encore’s slogan is that it is “Broadway’s Longest Running Act of Loving Concern.”
Msgr. Sullivan thanked Catholic Charities’ board and employees, and said he was receiving the award in their name. The Encore award cited Msgr. Sullivan for his community work in Washington Heights as a young priest, as well as his involvement in issues of immigration and job development. It also cited his involvement with the New York State Catholic Conference, the New York City Council, and support for post 9/11 recovery.
Everyone deserves nutritious food, a place to live, and caring relationships. That’s why Encore exists.
Jeremy Kaplan said that Encore’s services, which include, besides food distribution to senior apartment dwellers, arts programs and housing, as well as entertainment for seniors, are invaluable in a city where the fastest growing demographic are those over 65 years of age.
“Too often older New Yorkers are overlooked and pushed to the margins of society,” he said, noting, “what never changes are our basic needs. Everyone deserves nutritious food, a place to live, and caring relationships. That’s why Encore exists.”
He said the agency’s name comes from its theatre roots, but also contains a more significant meaning. “The latest chapters of our lives should be an Encore,” he said.
Each year, besides its food assistance, Encore delivers 10,000 wellness and friendly calls from more than 200 volunteers and provides 1,400 aging Manhattan residents with case management assistance with food security, financial wellness, healthcare and mental health support.
The agency also honored Kathryn Garcia, Director of New York State Operations and former New York City sanitation commissioner, and Dan Dashman, business representative of Local 798 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.