Immigrants And Refugees

Youth Using Art to Help Feed Our Neighbors

"We're All in This Together" / Gianna Calimano, Blessed Sacrament School

Art doesn’t feed people, ask any artist – unless of course, you’re at the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO).

You may know the CYO as an organization that promotes sportsmanship and athleticism. But did you know they also encourage mental and spiritual exercise? That’s right! The CYO Art & Essay program is a thriving part of CYO. They traditionally receive thousands of entries each year from parishes and catholic school children who express themselves through art and writing.

Of course, the Coronavirus derailed the training and education programs that fostered art and writing – so what can kids do?


Virtual learning and activities have become prominent when the Coronavirus made traditional learning environments dangerous. The CYO began using tele-engagement for sports training and events as well as for art and writing activities. The next natural step…Creating a VIRTUAL ART SHOW! This gallery creates new opportunities to engage and celebrate the work of students. But it does even more than that.

Firstly, the Virtual Art Show will be operated as a contest, and certain entries will be selected to be featured in the Summer issue of Archways Magazine; the magazine of the Archdiocese of New York. What a great partnership!

Secondly, each entry into the show costs $5, and 100% of that will go directly to supporting the food pantries of CCNY. Kids may have to get creative, like finding sponsors for their entries, and that leans into community and family engagement.

So, kids not only get to make up for the lost school year and opportunities they’ve missed to learn and share, but they also get a chance at widely circulated accolades AND become a part of feeding hungry New Yorkers. This is precisely the kind of engagement young people need. It empowers them and gives them a sense of purpose.


CHECK the submission guidelines and contest instructions at

CREATE your art, take your photos, write your essay or poem

REGISTER on the website, select the contest you will be entering. (You may enter multiple contests

ENTER something you created this school year, or start from scratch and submit something new!

UPLOAD a high-resolution photo of your artwork during registration process. Or upload your essay, poetry or high-resolution photo submission

VIEW & SHARE your artwork displayed on the online gallery at

WINNERS will receive awards by mail and may also be published in the Archways magazine summer edition


Don’t sleep on this opportunity, the deadline is JUNE 15th!

Encourage your kids, your family, your parish to participate. In the very least, every entry puts food into hungry bellies.

See also:   Food