TD Bank Volunteers Help New York’s Hardest Hit

Posted on January 22, 2018 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Create Blankets & Winter Care Packages for Puerto Rican Evacuees, the Homeless and the Disabled

More than 100 volunteers determined to make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers hit hardest this harsh winter took over Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center’s auditorium in Harlem last week to cut, glue and pack a potpourri of winter necessities for  the homeless, the cognitively challenged and Hurricane Maria Puerto Rican evacuees.

The volunteers’ contribution was powerful and timing perfect.  New York has seen an influx of hurricane evacuees, with many staying in shelters or FEMA residences, after the  devastating effects of Hurricanes Maria left many Puerto Ricans with no choice but to evacuate their homes.  Forced by airplane regs. to bring no more than a single suitcase and a carryon, they arrived to a frigid New York winter with no blankets, hats, gloves, or even pampers for their babies.  Their need adds to desperation already felt by current New Yorkers in need. 

Fortunately, at Catholic Charities NY, we are seasoned at teaming with volunteers and government organizations to find long-term, empowering solutions.  Our Stabilization Bed Project offers a home to the hardest-to-house, chronically homeless.  Our Beacon of Hope serves the cognitively impaired.  And our new Bronx Diaper Bank provides key babies with the supplies these fragile infants need most.

So when TD Bank offered financing and volunteers, we put them straight to work helping these desperate New Yorkers.   Thanks to teamwork between Catholic Charities NY’s volunteer department, underwriting by TD Bank, and the creative muscles of its volunteers,  the group created 50 no-sew blankets, 600 toiletry kits, 500 baby kits, and dozens of winter care packages.  But just creating these gifts of necessity was not enough for this group.  They also designed special cards they attached to each donation, offering a New York welcome and best wishes to those will receive these special gifts.

The multi-colored no-sew blankets were simple to make, they said.  It was just a matter of measuring and cutting three yards of both patterned and solid fleece, cutting fringes around all four sides and knotting the two pieces of fabric together.  This now-handy crowd also made toiletry kits, filling them with toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, shampoos, lotion and, of course, chap stick for lips better accustomed to the tropics than the cold.

They made newborn baby kits filled with diapers, wipes and their handmade baby no-sew fleece blankets for struggling mothers.  They filled winter care packages with hats, gloves, thermal socks and more.  And they topped off each gift with special handmade cards wishing our new evacuee arrivals good luck in the Big Apple.

“TD Bank’s volunteers were incredible,” says Catholic Charities Volunteer Coordinator Amaris .  “They worked quickly and enthusiastically and our program recipients were so grateful for their hard work.  They really made a difference.”


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