On November 5, the Ladies of Charity assisted Catholic Charities Mobile Outreach Vehicle Extension (CC MOVE) with a food distribution in Watervliet. CC MOVE teamed up with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and offered a drive-thru food pantry which provided a package of fresh, frozen and shelf-stable items for our neighbors in need. What a beautiful day to lend a helping hand.
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Despite the best efforts of the COVID pandemic, the Ladies of Charity have maintained our mission and found ways to meet the needs of those we serve. In addition, we welcomed seven women as new members in a virtual installation ceremony. Please continue reading to see all the good works that have been done. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
“Faith in action is service. We try to be holy because we believe. In most modern rooms you see an electrical light that can be turned on by a switch. But if there is no connection with the main powerhouse, then there can be no light. Faith and prayer are our connection with God and power of that connection is service.” ~ St. Teresa of Calcutta
Unfortunately, due to the COVID pandemic, our time with the Sisters at St. Louise House has been suspended. We hope to gather again once it is safe. However, this has not stopped us from letting them know they are in our thoughts. This year, we remembered each Sister at Easter and Halloween with a homemade card. In addition, we are dropping off Christmas cards for them to continue the tradition of sending holiday greetings to the soldiers. And, as always, we keep them in our prayers. Hopefully we will be back together very soon.
By Kathy Kavanaugh
Covid-19 continues to guide our efforts with Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting’-By World classes. We usually offer our classes in the Watervliet Housing community room and the office has not yet opened for public meetings. The office, however, has expressed its continued dedication to starting a community organization with the purpose of supporting Bridges Out of Poverty and the Getting Ahead classes and graduates. Executive Director Matt Ethier, supported by Mary Clinton, reports he is working to enlist community support and initiate a meeting soon, depending on the development of the virus.
Covid-19 has not prevented us from keeping in touch with our graduates and reaching out to a number of people living in poverty. Community-minded people continue to give us money so that we can give it to families or individuals who are struggling financially especially during this economic downturn. To date we have received $2700. When we were distributing these past few weeks, two mothers were brought to tears as they had just lost their jobs due to a slowdown in the companies they were working for and were struggling to purchase food and keep their apartments. We called to offer the gift within a day of their becoming so vulnerable. It was another little miracle of our work, bringing joy to EVERYONE involved! Along with the cash gift we gave one mother, we gave her two gorgeous sequined dresses. She sent me a picture of her dressed in one of them. She was glowing as she readied herself to visit her husband in prison and was going to give him a picture. We hadn’t seen her smile like this in quite some time. We had a garage sale to raise tuition money for another woman and when we called to tell her we had $400 to give her, she said, “and you didn’t even know I just came from the doctor yesterday being diagnosed with a severed tendon in my ankle and another slight fracture as well.” She had to quit school and work and was in a terrible place emotionally until she learned of our gift. She kept saying, “can’t believe you didn’t know!” God just keeps sending us to the people who need it the most. We continue to keep in touch with Getting Ahead grads by phone and by bringing them items such as food, furniture, household items, coats and other clothing. Most of all, we come as someone who listens and cares. Allies/mentors have offered to help previous graduates, if they desire, get out to vote in the November election This fits so well into one of the goals of the Getting Ahead students of becoming involved in their communities and making positive changes.
We are so looking forward to eventually gathering in person with these fine women and hopefully some of you will be able to join us!
SMJC SOUP KITCHEN: Lois Keefrider
We have settled into our new normal and are providing take-out service as we have been doing throughout Covid-19. We offer a hot meal each Monday and Thursday which includes a main entre – offerings might include salmon, pulled pork, meatloaf, pork tenderloin, chicken, goulash and other things as they become available to us. Also included is a salad – which often is a colorful tossed salad with many vegetables or a rice salad, coleslaw or salmon salad. Usually, a soup made from scratch is provided along with a vegetable, sweets, a beverage and other snack items. Breads donated from BJ’s (who also donate our sweets – cookies, muffins, croissants, cakes and cupcakes, etc.) are available for people to take. We often have cakes and pies for people who have a larger family or a special occasion. As always, our guests are most grateful and are looking forward to when we can again gather as a community. We all miss that sense of belonging.
We can use more volunteers, particularly on Mondays, so if anyone is comfortable coming in and helping, it would be most appreciated. God bless you all!
SMJC GIVING ROOM: Judy Farrell and Chris Sheridan
We have set up shop at the side door of the SMJC and are now open Mondays and Thursdays at the same time as the Soup Kitchen’s lunch distribution, from 11:45 a.m. until 1 p.m. We serve 15 to 20 guests each day we are open, considerably fewer than the 35-40 we were accustomed to, but those who come seem to be grateful that we are there.
With cooler weather on the way, we have packed up the shorts and sandals and are putting sweatpants and sweaters on the shelves. Our need now is for men’s casual fall/winter clothing and footwear. Women’s winter jackets and boots would be appreciated and personal care items are always welcome! You may drop off donations during our Thursday hours. As always, we appreciate all that you do to help.
MARY’S CORNER AT SMJC: We have been successfully open for three months and have steadily expanded the number of families and children served including lots of new babies! We are taking Family Needs orders over the phone as well as via email. We are primarily working with caseworkers from various agencies to get bags home-delivered to families and a few of our volunteers are making deliveries to St. Vincent’s Food Pantry for the refugee families and to Hope House for Women and Children once a month. This is working out so well and cuts down on the number of contacts volunteers and families have. We wanted to avoid families’ lining up on the street for long periods of time waiting to be served. It is also more convenient for the families who have school children learning from home.
We have a wonderful team of people who have been working at the Daughters of Charity to keep it neat and organized with clothes being sorted constantly, a team who packs bags twice a month and delivers them to SMJC and a team at SMJC who finishes packing the bags, gives out the bags and completes the paperwork. Through Healthy Families of Albany County, we have been able to serve some of the families who live in Cohoes and Watervliet as well.
MARY’S CORNER IN COHOES: We are finalizing plans to begin a soft opening in Cohoes in November. It took quite some time to find a location that would allow us to have a place for families to complete their Needs form. We are grateful to Holy Trinity Parish for allowing us to set up in their space. We had a setback when we discovered a leaking drip in a storage room that had produced soggy carpeting and some mold. We are so grateful to the City of Cohoes who promptly repaired the leak and ceiling tiles and cleaned the carpet and mold.
We have canvassed volunteers and a number of people have said they would like to volunteer and would do anything needed. At this point, we have all tasks filled. We are basing operations on our experience with the SMJC. Families will be able to fill out the Family Needs form at the Holy Trinity Parish; bags will be packed at the distribution center and handed out to the families at the Mary’s Corner site in Cohoes. We will be open once a month to start. We hope in the near future to work with Watervliet Housing with a similar process.
DONATIONS: We have received many donations of handmade baby blankets and afghans, baby layettes, infant and toddler sweaters and fleece blankets from individuals and groups. We received an anonymous donation of 25 pairs of girls’ brand new rain boots.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO “OUR ANGEL” HELEN: Helen is a woman (who wishes to remain anonymous) who has brought brand new clothing to Mary’s Corner two to three seasons a year for the past many years. In August, she brought us 50+ brand-new winter coats/snowsuits, boots and hat/mitten/scarf sets. If not for her extreme generosity, we would not be able to assure each child a warm winter coat, hat and mittens. God bless you Helen for keeping these families in your heart.
DISTRIBUTION CENTER: Due to the sale of the Daughters of Charity campus, we are in need of another location to store the Mary’s Corner inventory. For more information or to share any ideas, please contact Mary Clinton at firstname.lastname@example.org, Candice Stellato at email@example.com or Ellen Bernier at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Our Board is in need of a Corresponding Secretary.
The duties of this position include, but are not limited to, dissemination of communication via e-mail to the membership on behalf of the President, purchasing and mailing cards, thank you notes and Mass cards to our membership or their families, ordering/sending flowers (reimbursement will be provided by Ladies of Charity). Michele O’Hare will offer assistance.
If you are interested in this position, or if you would like to nominate someone, please contact Kim Seitz at email@example.com or (518) 469-7811. Thank you!
In this our 50th year, due to the restraints of the Covid pandemic, we were not able to join together as is our tradition for the annual installation ceremony. In lieu of Mass and dinner, our first virtual installment was held on September 22, 2020 by Zoom call. A special thank you to Shelby Blendell who worked tirelessly to make this happen.
Father Butler opened with prayer and inducted the officers who will serve for the 2020 – 2022 term. They are:
President – Mary Clinton
Vice President – Michele O’Hare
Recording Secretary – Mary Ann Conway
Treasurer – Jackie Stampalia
These women have pledged to assume the challenges these offices hold while being mindful of the mission of the Ladies of Charity. As reflected in the Officer’s Pledge: “May your journey be smooth . . . as you seek out ways to continue to serve our brothers and sisters in need. May God, whose love is never ending, guide you always with his gentleness and may each of you experience the peace, joy and love of God in your heart.”
We are also pleased to report that the following women have joined us as new members. After the blessing of the pins and manuals also offered by Father Butler, the following were installed:
We ask our Lord to bless these women and watch over them as they begin their journeys as Ladies of Charity. We look forward to serving side by side with them very soon.
And finally, the following women were installed as life members. Whether they continue in service with our ministries or support us through prayer, we ask God’s blessings on these magnificent women. May their footsteps be our guide.
Lou Ann Carlstrom
We extend our warmest welcome and congratulations to you all.
Congratulations to our Junior Ladies of Charity from St. Matthews Parish in Voorheesville and Academy of the Holy Names on their graduations. We wish you the best of luck in all you do. May all your dreams come true! And remember, we Ladies will be waiting when you are ready to return to us!
FROM ST. MATTHEW’S PARISH
FROM THE ACADEMY OF THE HOLY NAMES: