Operating with the goal of assisting the less fortunate, Westchester County Catholic Charities provides support to the working poor. Everything from free food from a pantry to meals for seniors citizens or the homebound can be arranged. The agency also partners with other groups on homeless and eviction prevention programs, among other services.
With the increasing cost of groceries, in particular fresh foods, many people from Westchester and Yonkers are struggling to feed their families. Hunger is both a local and national problem, with a large percentage of children as well as the elderly being considered food insecure. To address this problem, Catholic Charities is involved in some or all of the following.
Senior citizens, their spouses and disabled individuals can use a congregate meal service. This not only gives clients a healthy meal, but there is much more provided as well. Users of this service will have the opportunity to gather with peers and others from the community as well.
The church supported program will offer individuals a healthy and nutritious meal. However, volunteers also want to reduce isolation and promote independence of this group of citizens. So there will be recreational activities combined with the congregate meal and also informational workshops. The program is flexible and staff from Catholic Charities of Westchester will take feedback and make adjustments as needed.
Meals on Wheels is for those that can't make it to the congregate sites that are referenced above. They are delivered during the course of the week throughout Westchester County. Volunteers are key to this service. The hot lunches are personally distributed to the elderly and disabled. Or if someone is homebound for another reason, such as an illness, then food may still be brought to them. The spouse of the homebound persons may apply as well.
A pantry will also be available. It will have boxes of groceries, bags of food and gently used clothing. In rare cases, vouchers will be utilized to meet emergency needs for food or clothing. They can often be redeemed at local stores.
Westchester County Catholic Charities Homeless Prevention is for tenants behind on their rent or homeowners facing an unexpected foreclosure. Any aid is limited and is for people that are at imminent risk of homelessness. Examples of what may qualify someone for help include having a court-ordered eviction, medical emergencies, people that are homeless or victims of fire, home foreclosures, and more.
Some residents also face homelessness due to having their power turned off. A home in the state of New York without electricity is not suitable for habitation. So in these cases, there may also be some funds for utility bills, ranging from electric to water or electric.
An intake process will be done before any money is paid out by Catholic Charities or its partners. There are several requirements to be eligible. Also, the applicant will also need to contribute their own money for any rent or expenses due, and they also need to have some source of income.
Referrals to clinics are provided by staff. There are general dentistry and doctor offices in the Westchester County region. Mostly staffed by volunteer nurses, doctors, and hygienists, they will service patients of all ages. There can be check ups done, oral evaluations, cleaning and more for teeth. The medical care is basic as well, and will be checkups, flu shots, and physicals. Each clinic in the Catholic Charities database will offer different services.
Westchester County Catholic Charities supports immigrants as well. They offer tips, guidance, and support to people seeking citizenship in the state of New York and the United States in general. Staff offer immigration-related services that range from legal aid, clerical assistance, job placement to document translation. There are workshops such as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and other educational support.
So no matter the race, age or religion, anyone that is struggling can try contacting Catholic Charities of Westchester for help. A combination of referrals and other support is offered. The location is in White Plains, but multiple churches are part of the organization. The phone number is 914-476-2700.
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