Why Catholic Charities Celebrates and Mourns for Rusty Staub

Posted on April 2, 2018 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

A Hero on Crowded Fields and Quiet Corners

The death last week of famed New York Mets baseball hero Rusty Staub, less well known but equally heroic for his generous initiatives to feed hungry New Yorkers, leaves a vacuum for all of us here at Catholic Charities. 

He died as he lived: strong, giving, inspiring all around him. His Rusty Staub mobile food pantries that for years helped Catholic Charities bring food to the hungry were parked outside our annual Holy Thursday Food Distribution food pantry in East Harlem; as they emptied of their wares on March 29th Rusty took his last breath.

“He was a good friend both to Catholic Charities and to me,” says Catholic Charities Development Director Elsie Pallotta who began a collaborative relationship between him and Catholic Charities NY’s Emergency Food program in 2003. Over the past 15 years, Rusty helped Catholic Charities provide more than 12 million meals to hungry New Yorkers.

What began as a desire to feed the hungry turned into a full-fledged dedication to eradicate hunger. Rusty started by providing funds to purchase food which ultimately led to his funding not only the purchase of food but investing in Catholic Charities’ case management program - where we work with clients to get to the root of why they need emergency food in the first place - e.g. ESL, immigration services, job training, eviction prevention services, etc.  

Rusty didn’t simply write a check - he raised the funds himself each year through his annual golf tournament and his wine auction. He was our single biggest donor. Rusty was Catholic Charities greatest champion - and he was a living example of our mission: he helped those in need, Catholics and non-Catholics alike - the only criteria being human need.  – Elsie Pallotta

“Today New York and the world lost a true hero,” says Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan.  “Rusty Staub will always be regarded as the epitome of what it means to be a New Yorker.”

Read Msgr. Sullivan’s full statement on the passing of Rusty Staub

Learn more about Rusty’s work with Catholic Charities



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