by Kimberley Kearn
Approximately 200 members of St. Mary Star of the Sea and St. Gertrude parish, Far Rockaway, benefitted from a new collaboration, the first of many, between Catholic Migration Services and Catholic Charities.
At a public forum in Far Rockaway, Catholic Migration Services (CMS) was on hand to provide legal information and assistance regarding housing rights, labor rights and immigration issues.
Representatives from Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens (CCBQ) connected attendees with a range of disaster assistance services, such as case management, job training and placement, financial literacy and foreclosure prevention workshops, food pantries and emergency assistance programs.
Fidelis Care of New York provided attendees with information about its health insurance programs for low-income families.
Finally, volunteers from Queens Congregations United for Action assisted in directing individuals to the event as well as documenting the challenges that parishioners continue to face since superstorm Sandy.
Catholic Migration Services and Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens have joined forces to continue to assist individuals in the diocese, especially those still reeling from the storm. This partnership between CMS and CCBQ is sponsored in part by a grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
Father Patrick J. Keating, the CEO of CMS, noted that “this new collaboration between Catholic Charities and Catholic Migration Services is based upon on our desire to help all those in need; our hope is that by working together we, CMS and CCBQ, might better fulfill the mandate of the Gospel: for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Parishioners from Far Rockaway were invited after Mass to the school gym to receive access to important information and services.
“Many issues facing communities today are dynamic and interrelated, necessitating a coordinated approach on the part of organizations and individuals aiming to make a positive impact on their communities,” said Josefa Castro, community project director at CCBQ. “Such an approach allows needs to be addressed that exceed the scope of a single organization, and this is exactly our model of providing critical services under one roof.”
The goal of this new collaboration is to provide residents of Brooklyn and Queens with easy and direct access to the Catholic agencies of the Diocese of Brooklyn that offer social services and immigration legal services.
Fidelis Care offers free or low-cost comprehensive health insurance through Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus and Medicaid Managed Care programs – covering checkups, prenatal care, preventive care, well-child visits, immunizations, lab tests, X-rays, hospitalization, emergency treatment and more.
To learn more about CMS, visit www.catholicmigration.org or call 347-472-3500.