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Remembering Met’s Legend Rusty Staub: Catholic Charities of New York’s ‘Greatest Champion’

By John-Mark de Palma

As we approach the one-year anniversary of Rusty Staub’s passing, Catholic Charities of New York remembers his legacy and his commitment to providing help and creating hope for New York’s most vulnerable. An altruistic man, Rusty dedicated his life off the field to eradicating hunger. In collaboration with Catholic Charities of New York, he established the Rusty Staub Foundation to support 9 emergency food pantries throughout New York. During the 15 years he supported the work of Catholic Charities of New York, Rusty helped provide more than 12 million meals to hungry New Yorkers and helped to raise more than $17 million. On the day Rusty passed away, his mobile food pantry van was unloading box after box of food at the annual Holy Thursday Food Distribution in East Harlem.

Rusty Staub, “died as he lived: strong, giving, inspiring all around him. His Rusty Staub mobile food pantries that for years helped Catholic Charities bring food to the hungry were parked outside our annual Holy Thursday Food Distribution food pantry in East Harlem; as they emptied of their wares on March 29th [2018] Rusty took his last breath,” Alice Kenny wrote in “Why Catholic Charites Celebrates and Mourns for Rusty Staub.”

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, recently quoted in the New York Daily News, remembered Rusty as, “astreet guy with a huge heart who helped strangers and the poor.” At the eulogy for Rusty, the Cardinal asked those in attendance who this sounded like, "I said it sounded a lot like Jesus. If he heard me say that —and Rusty probably did — his face would turned as red as his hair because he was a modest man.”

Elise Pallotta, Director of Development at Catholic Charities of New York remembers Rusty as a person who started out providing funds to purchase food and then became involved in investing in Catholic Charities case management programs. “Rusty didn’t simply write a check - he raised the funds himself each year through his annual golf tournament and his wine auction. He was our single biggest donor. Rusty was Catholic Charities greatest champion - and he was a living example of our mission: he helped those in need, Catholics and non-Catholics alike - the only criteria being human need,” said Ms. Pallotta.​

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Catholic Charities of New York’s Executive Director, remembers Rusty as a man who, “lived by example both on and off the field, and thousands of people benefitted from his life. Every year he would participate in our Thanksgiving events by distributing meals and celebrating the holiday with the communities we serve. His generosity and commitment knew no bounds.”

Related Content

A year after his death, Mets great Rusty Staub’s humanitarian legacy bigger than ever | Daily News

Why Catholic Charities Celebrates and Mourns for Rusty Staub | Alice Kenny, Catholic Charities Blog

Rusty Staub, Catholic baseball star for 23 seasons, dies at 73 | Crux

The Rusty Staub Foundation

Rusty Staub remembered as lovable Mets 'icon' with charitable spirit at Manhattan memorial service | Daily News

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