On this week’s JustLove, Monsignor Sullivan speaks with two guests and one family about supporting those in need on Thanksgiving.
Cynthia N. Colbert, MSW, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will be joining the show on the phone. Cynthia will be updating our listeners about how her organization is helping the displaced recover from Hurricane Harvey, as well as how they are helping to feed the less fortunate in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on Thanksgiving Day
The Tone family – Don, Cathleen, and their daughter Maggie (age 15 years) – are parishioners of Resurrection Parish in Rye, NY. The Family will be speaking to Msgr. Sullivan about their experience volunteering for the past 7 years – down at “Part of the Solution – P.O.T.S.” in the Bronx. They and other families from their parish annually help to serve nearly 1,000 meals – including 230 freshly cooked turkeys – to people visiting the P.O.T.S. community dining room on Thanksgiving Day.
Richard Espinal, Associate Director for Parish and Community Engagement in the Department of Social & Community Development at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. Richard will be sharing with our listeners a bit about Catholic Charities “Campaign for Charity and Justice” collection, which is being held here in the Archdiocese of New York on the occasion of the first “World Day of the Poor” declared by Pope Francis on November 19th
On this week’s JustLove episode, Monsignor Sullivan will be speaking with two guests about Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Barbara Turk who is Director of Food Policy for New York City’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services will be talking about the work of the of the New York City Office of Food Policy and what her Office is doing to ensure that every New Yorker has access to affordable and nutritious food. Also on the show is Christopher Cox who is Campaign Manager of The Human Thread – a Catholic advocacy organization dedicated to fostering Catholic awareness of labor and safety issues effecting garment workers in the developing world promoting solidarity between consumers of clothing and the people that produce them. He will be speaking with Msgr. about his organization’s current postcard campaign urging consumers to encourage Macy’s and Kohls add fair trade clothing items to their stores. The campaign began on Labor Day and concludes on this Friday – Black Friday – November 25th
I need examples of goodness and light to strengthen me. In my journeys I see too much darkness. I suspect you do too. Let me share one deliberate deed of human solidarity which I am blessed to know, and for which I give thanks this Thanksgiving 2013.
I know a family – a talented professional hectic single mom, Denise, and her 10-year-old daughter, Tiffany. Through a lot of hard work by Denise, a little luck and circumstances they are pretty comfortable. They live in a very nice large house, too large – by their own admission. Tiffany is in private school with all the extracurricular accoutrements that have become de rigueur. Maybe they’re not 1% er’s, but closer to that end of the spectrum than the other.
About three months ago, Denise learned of a family who had fallen on sad and difficult times. Another single mother, Juana and her three daughters, Maria 9, Isabella, 11, and Diana, 13, suddenly found themselves without a husband, father and breadwinner. He died unexpectedly of a serious illness. This widowed mother used to care for the family while her husband worked to support them. She had few marketable skills. Now the family could no longer afford their home.
Denise immediately felt the instinct to help. Her Plan A was to provide money so the family could rent another apartment and get back on their feet. But Denise quickly realized this apartment would have put the girls in a very mediocre school district.
Then she came up with Plan B. Denise invited them to live rent free with her and Tiffany in their too-big house in a basement apartment. This apartment was better, and more important, located in a superior school district where Juana’s three girls could enroll.
Denise did not stop there. She and Tiffany shared their own “extras”- clothes and blankets – that became the “basics” for Juana, Maria, Isabella and Diana. She helped Juana find part-time work. Even more, Denise and Tiffany allowed Juana and her daughters to share their lives.
Not surprising, yet key, every step of the way Denise tries to make sure the help she gives is not condescending. Instead it is genuine, respectful and empowering
Let me add some icing onto this true story (names changed). I regularly communicate professionally and personally with Denise, yet I learned about this by accident. In a recent conversation, as an aside, Denise mentioned Juana’s name. So I asked who Juana was. Only then did Denise tell me – with no great drama, expecting no applause. She began, “Oh, I have this family living with me…”
Not a random act of kindness, rather this is a deliberate deed of human solidarity. Here is an individual, human and Christian, who takes seriously Jesus’ message and example that love requires sacrifice and giving of one’s self. I give thanks for Denise this Thanksgiving 2013. I’m hoping and praying her example will encourage (or guilt) me into giving more, and better. Maybe you will be inspired as well. Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!