Immigrants And Refugees


Becoming an Entrepreneur:

When Maria first arrived at a ComUnidad Juan Diego event, Nancy knew her voice sounded familiar. After speaking, Maria and Nancy realized that they’d met nearly seventeen years before during a difficult time in Maria’s life. On November 12, 2001, Flight 587 crashed shortly after takeoff in Queens. Maria’s partner was one of the 251 passengers who died when the plane slammed into the ground. At the time of the crash, Maria was pregnant with the couple’s child. 

With her children almost grown, Maria came to the East Harlem group hoping to make friends and pay attention to her dreams. Nancy connected Maria and her family with the St. Nicholas Project, providing them with warm winter essentials. Since Maria loves baking, Nancy also helped her to enroll in a culinary program at Hot Bread Kitchen. Nancy attended Maria’s graduation, where she met the baby Maria had been carrying in 2001, now a young woman. 

Maria always brings a cake or bread to share with the ComUnidad members, has started her own small bread baking business, teaches her skills to the other women in ComUnidad, and aspires to go to college to earn a Bachelor’s degree in business. As she moves through the good and bad moments of life, Maria knows that Nancy and Catholic Charities will be by her side.

Catholic Charities has been a lifesaver for me and my family.