Diocesan News

Queens Parishioners Help Build Homes for Neighbors

A proud homeowner mowing his lawn at a former Habitat for Humanity home in Queens inspires current volunteers.
Christopher Andreov helps to put down flooring for the main level of the home.
Deacon Bill and Maria Caterinicchio survey the side of the home.
Beams at one of the houses where The Queens Coalition is working was signed by the volunteers.

Members of the Queens Coalition and Habitat for Humanity New York City put in flooring for a new home in Jamaica this past weekend.

The Queens Coalition was created in January 2017 by several faith- and community-based organizations. They are volunteering on a continual basis, working on 20 Queens homes, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity New York City. Projects are currently underway at three sites.

Volunteers are also fundraising with a goal of $53,000 and raising awareness for affordable homeownership in New York City.

Most members of the coalition are Catholic parishes and groups, including Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament parish and academy, Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, American Martyrs Church, the Knights of Columbus of St. Robert Bellarmine Church, all Bayside, and the Sisters of Charity.

Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament parishioners were out in full force July 22, taking their turn to volunteer.

Deacon Bill Molloy was excited to be participating and helping in any way that he could.

“On the way here today we drove past a home that has been previously worked on and completed and the homeowner was outside mowing the lawn and taking care of his grounds.” he said.

“You could not set that stage any better for how inspiring that was to see, and we want to get the word out for more parishes to join and help out. We have volunteers ranging in all ages from teenagers up to adults of all ages.”

Bringing People Closer

Barbara Gillespe, group organizer, was able to help gather people together for a great cause.

“People of the parish really jumped on board and wanted to get involved with this project,” Gillespie said.

“This whole experience has brought me closer to all of people that I have seen in the parish, but did not really know.

“There are a lot of great people that wanted to make a difference and come out and give a hand. People have been able to come together and there is a role for everyone and all can help.”

Giving A Hand Up

Maria Caterinicchio was one of the first to volunteer for the project.

“What I love about Habitat for Humanity is that you are not giving people a hand out, but a hand up.

“You have families that are hard-working people but need some help to take care of their homes. The people who are recipients of these homes help out with the work as well, and you hear their stories and learn that they truly deserve this and deserve the good that these homes can do for their families,” she said.

“These families are people who deserve the help, but they too come to work and are not just looking for a gift.”

Christopher Andreov, a student at Fordham University, was one of the youngest volunteers on site, but he had no fear of doing anything that was asked of him.

“This is my first time working with Habitat and it’s actually fun. There is a lot of hard work, but you know, it is worth it. I am grateful to be able to help with such a great cause and the families are all very deserving.

“Anything that helps get the message out about these projects and have more people involved helps because there is still a lot of work to be done,” Andreov said.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity NYC and how to volunteer, visit www.HabitatNYC.org.